Tips for Happy Travels With Your Best Furry Friend

If you have pets, you probably consider them members of the family. You may be thinking about taking your pet along with you on your next road trip.

Millions of people take their pets with them each year. Some of those adventures are wonderful, where pets and humans bond even more.

Others are not so great.

Fortunately, with a little preparation and smarts, you and your pet can have a fun, as well as safe, time together.

Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Your first decision is whether to take your pet or not. Your first priority is the safety and well-being of your cat or dog.

Here are some points to consider:

Does your pet have previous travel experience? If so, how do they handle the stresses of travel?

What is the pet’s temperament? Is your dog or cat high-strung and nervous or more easygoing?

What is the age and health of your pet?

Does your dog need medication? Will you be able to stay on schedule with the medications when you travel?

If you are unsure about your pet’s health and stress levels, check with your veterinarian for advice.

Does your destination allow pets? (Here are some that do: )

What kind of trip are you planning? A trip abroad to sample exotic international cuisine (like this: ) sounds delightful-but not for your pet. Plan a trip through your pet’s eyes.

Pets and the Open Road

Taking a road trip with your pet can be a joyful experience. It can also be a tragic one. Pets are lost each year when they escape a vehicle during a road trip and run off, leaving heartbroken owners in their wake. Most are never recovered. It is vital that you take precautions against losing your pet and ensuring their safety.

Most agree that it’s best for cats to travel in carriers. Cats are typically nervous travelers and keeping them in carriers is safer for them and you. Many people don’t realize, however that dogs should be in crates or carriers as well, and for many of the same reasons. A pet in a carrier in the back seat and secured with a seat belt is much safer in an accident than one roaming around. Pets in carriers do not distract drivers, except perhaps with loud vocalizations now and then. And, pets in carriers cannot escape when vehicles stop and passengers open doors.

Traveling with pets require plenty of stops. They need to walk around, drink water, eliminate and take in the new sights and smells. Carefully secure pets with a leash or harness before opening the car door. Offer plenty of water, but little food until the travel day’s end, to prevent car sickness.

Pets should never be left alone in a vehicle. Temperatures soar in a matter of seconds and the inside of your car becomes a furnace that can cause irreversible organ damage or death. Passengers should take turns using rest stop facilities, leaving a human with the pet at all times.

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