A vacation should be an enjoyable experience for the entire family—pets included. There are some special preparations and precautions needed to ensure an enjoyable journey for everyone.
Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets
For various reasons, vacationers often don’t want to leave their dogs and cats at home, and it is perfectly safe to bring them along in the car. However, the stress of a car trip can prove a serious danger to the health of a bird, amphibian, or other smaller creature, so void traveling with small pets.
Restraints and Carriers Make pet safety a priority by purchasing a well-ventilated travel crate or carrier large enough to allow a pet to stand up and turn around in. Firmly secure the crate with a seat belt to minimize jolting and slipping. Canines need not always remain in a crate; however, they should always be fastened to a restraining harness (which usually attaches to the seat belt) while the car is moving.
While some pets may already be seasoned travelers, others have very little experience in the car. Be sure pets are accustomed to travel before attempting a long trip. To do this, take a few shorter practice trips beforehand. Also, introduce the travel crate into the home several weeks prior to vacationing to familiarize pets with it.
Animals are prone to both heatstroke and extreme cold. As a rule, never leave a pet alone in a car on a hot, sunny, or very cold day. Even when the windows are rolled down, stationary cars can reach dangerous temperatures. Likewise, a car can become too cold for a pet’s system to handle. Always take pets along when leaving the vehicle.
Food, Water, and Relief
When driving, it’s easy to lose track of time—don’t forget to take care of the pet’s basic needs. Always wait until the car has stopped before feeding and stop every 3–4 hours to allow an animal to walk around, eat, drink, and relieve itself. A leash, collar, and ID tag should be worn at all times, especially when leaving the car.
What to Bring
When traveling across state lines with pets, some places require proof of rabies vaccination. In addition, pets will need most of the objects they use at home, including medications, food, bowls, leash, scoop, first aid supplies, a toy or two, water, plastic bags, and grooming tools.
Vacation Activities for Pets
There are many vacation activities that the whole family (including pets) will love. These usually include outdoor activities, such as swimming, hiking, and camping. Planning a trip with a pet requires a little research, however. Some trails and beaches are prohibited to dogs. Be sure to check the regulations of each destination beforehand to ensure they are pet-friendly. With a little preparation, it’s easy to enjoy a great vacation, furry friends in tow.