After +18 months of lockdowns and restricted air travel, it looks like everyone’s wanderlust has reached a fever pitch. People are itching to get back out into the world, and it looks like they’re doing it by car. Plus, they’re choosing the best company to take along for the ride: their pets.
According to the National Pet owner survey by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 40% of pet owners include their pets in travel plans. And interestingly, that number has almost doubled in the last decade.
This isn’t surprising, to be honest, since our dogs are a part of our pack, and our cats are a part of our clowder. They make life better in so many ways, so it’s easy to see why we’d want them with us everywhere we go. If you’re one of the many that are taking to the open road with your best pal in tow, here are a few safety tips for traveling with your pet.
While many people choose to let their pets ride shotgun, it's actually pretty dangerous. It isn't safe for your pet, and it isn't safe for anyone else in the vehicle. If your dog or cat happens to get excited, scared, or something ruffles its feathers, they could cause a serious distraction for the driver. What's more, while airbags are designed to protect adults in the case of an accident, they can kill your pet if they are in the front seat. Your dog or cat can certainly come along for the ride, but the safest way to transport them is in a carrier, in the backseat, secured with a seatbelt.
Make a travel kit
Before you hit the road, be sure to make a travel kit that includes:
Keep them safe
It’s a classic image: a pup with its head out the window And while it may be cute, it’s pretty risky. In the event of a collision, they can be thrown from the car or struck by passing debris. Again, the safest place for them to enjoy the ride is in the vehicle's back seat, secured in a carrier.
Bring your own water
Hydration is key. Road trips can drag or go off course, and you may not be able to stop for a drink. Keep your pets (and yourselves) happy with easy access water.
Get your car pet-ready
If you choose to skip the pet carrier, you may be in for a messy ride! You can dial down the mess with dog seat covers or blankets. Remember that if you’re not restraining your pet, any hint of excitement can cause them to scratch and claw. Or, even worse, make them lose control of their bladder. Not exactly great for those car interiors.
Never leave them in a parked car
You should never leave your dog in a parked car, but it quickly becomes a matter of life or death when you’re traveling in the summertime or to warmer climates. Cars are pretty efficient heat conductors and can turn into deadly ovens pretty quickly. When you leave your car, be sure to take your furry pal with you. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs and get some fresh air, too.
Take a dry run
When you’re planning a long trip with your pets, try loading them up for a few trial runs in the days and weeks leading up to the big day. This gives everyone a chance to get used to the process, especially for pets who are only used to getting in the car to go to the vet. Keep in mind that pets get carsick too. Practice runs let you test for this critical piece of information before you find out that hard way. And, if you find that they are sensitive to motion, your vet can easily set you up with medication to help manage it.
Skip the snacks
Traveling can be stressful for pets. And, very often, stress and anxiety will show themselves in the form of diarrhea and stomach upset. You can manage the fallout by skipping a meal or two and avoiding treats while you’re on the road.
Traveling with your pet can be a great adventure. But to ensure that the trip is fun for everyone, a little pre-planning can help. Taking the time to make sure your pet has everything they need and preparing your car ahead of time will ensure wagging tails and soft purrs all along the way.
And remember, if you’re traveling with your pets and a medical emergency arises, Vetster can connect you to thousands of licensed veterinarians, anytime, day or night. So, don’t forget to download the Vetster app before you hit the road.
References: Hosts, H. (2021, January 28). 2021 is the year of the road trip: Harvest hosts study reveals Americans are ready to travel but not by plane. 2021 Is the Year of the Road Trip: Harvest Hosts Study Reveals Americans Are Ready to Travel, But Not by Plane. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2021-is-the-year-of-the-road-trip-harvest-hosts-study-reveals-americans-are-ready-to-travel-but-not-by-plane-301217185.html.
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