How to make sure your pet is safe and comfortable while on the road?
The summer holidays are fast approaching, and it's time to book a nice flat or house in a sunny, beautiful resort! Are you going to be driving with your cat or dog? You need to make sure that your pet is safe and comfortable while on the road, so that you both have a great time! The team at YourParkingSpace.co.uk asked 9 pet travel experts to offer their best trips to drive safely with your cat or dog. Are you ready? Grab your sunglasses, put some sunscreen on, fill up your car with gas and let's go!
#1 Safety first for your pet
Don't carry your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. All it takes is one abrupt stop for them to be propelled into the street; plus, heat brings the added danger that they might burn their feet on the hot metal. Carry water and ice in containers for rest stops. No-spill travel bowls are available in pet supply stores and online. For dogs who are prone to car sickness, consult your veterinarian for remedies or try ginger capsules, available at health-food stores. Use a kennel or restrain your dog with a canine seat belt, available from pet supply stores and catalogs. Never open a car window or door when your dog is unrestrained. Countless dogs have been lost at tollbooths and rest stops this way.
Ben Williamson, peta.org
#2 Your dog should stay in the back of your car
As tempting as it is to drive with your dog on the passenger seat, I would recommend having the dog in the back of the car to prevent being distracted if your dog does something cute. I have a crate secured on the back seat, but if you are going to to do this, be sure to put a blanket down under the crate to prevent the seats from getting too furry! A microfibre towel is useful to have inside the crate so the dog can dry off after a soggy walk.
Isobel Rudman, izzydabbles.co.uk
#3 Be prepared, leave nothing to chance
I believe one of the most important things about travelling with your pets is to be prepared. I personally have a bag just for my dog’s things. It stays packed and before each trip I double check the contents to confirm it’s travel ready. In the bag I include several leashes, an extra collar, dog treats, toys, any medications he’s on (which includes an anti-nausea prescription pill to give on an as needed basis), his food, a tupperware container prefilled with water from home, a blanket, a lint roller, his vaccination and medical records, waste removal bags, a towel, and a brush. I may not use or need all of that on any given trip but better to have it than not. I also make sure that he has a sturdy name tag on his collar and that his collar is fitting properly as to avoid any issues of him slipping away in a new location or getting lost.
Jenna Regan, jennaregan.com
#4 Take plenty of supplies, plan stop-off points
Aside from seat covers and plenty of water, definitely take plenty of supplies for yourself and your pets, and plan some scenic stop-off points along your journey. These breaks in travel can incorporate picnics, games, walks and other activities to make it part of your holiday as well. Travelling with pets should be fun and relaxing, so as long as you're prepared and can make them safe and comfortable on the road, you're in for a good trip.
Fran Atkins, getjaunty.com
#5 Feed you pet 2 hours before your road trip
Give pets a small meal 2 hours prior to traveling in the car. This will help alleviate car sickness. Secure pets safely in carriers that are large enough to move around in and are well ventilated. Do not leave your pets in the car – even if it is just for a couple minutes and the windows are down or if it is running with the air conditioning on. Temperatures elevate quickly in vehicles and it only takes minutes to cause irreversible organ damage or worse.
Patra De Silva, nhvnaturalpetproducts.com
#6 Cats need extra care
Cats in particular are less likely to travel well. To make them feel secure there are a number of carriers that have been designed to make life more comfortable. Whatever type of carrier is used, it should be secured properly (preferably using the seat belt and special attachments if available). Don’t be tempted to let your cat sit freely on a seat or someone’s lap. At the very least use a specialised harness.
Even with all this prior training, some cats still cry when they are moving in the car. You can distract them somewhat with toys containing valerian which has been used for years for its calming effect – that’s after the initial crazy-fest.
Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger, katzenworld.co.uk
#7 Prepare you dog and think about identification tags
Make sure your dog has proper identification tags attached to their collar prior to traveling. Something equally important is the preparation for your dog to get used to car travel. If possible it’s best to prepare your dog with a gentle introduction to car travel, so start with a series of short drives and gradually lengthen the time spent in the car so they will be more prepared for extended periods of time when on a long journey. When you head out for a long journey it’s ideal if your dog has been well exercised before hand and that way your pet would have burned off their excess energy and be more inclined to rest. I find it always useful to pack a pet-friendly travel kit that includes items such as water, spare dog lead, collar, dog tag, blanket, medication essential to your dog’s health and all their travel documents if going overseas.
Lilly Shahravesh, lovemydog.co.uk
#8 A roomy, collapsible cage can be a life saver
A few must-haves for your pet’s car kit include: food, bottled water, collapsible dishes, a small bottle of dish soap, paper towels, pet meds, toy, extra collar/harness, leash, small plastic bags for waste, a few small trash bags, baby wipes for dirty paws, kitty litter/small pan (if you are bringing the cat), a small scoop, and a favorite blanket or bed. A roomy, collapsible cage can be a life saver when you reach your various destinations. Always choose pet friendly accommodations. When you arrive, you can set up the bigger cage for your cat or dog to acclimate while you are focused on arrival or departure tasks. Additionally, your pets might not be able to attend every meal or event along the road, and the larger cage gives your pet a safe place to rest while you enjoy the event without worrying about your pet escaping.
Grainne Kelly, bubblebum.co/us
#9 Select the right lodging accommodation for your pet
Regardless of your chosen means of transportation, it is crucial to ensure that your pets are up to date on vaccines, flea and tick medications, and other preventative health measures in advance of your trip. Have their medical records with you, as many hotels require proof of vaccinations. As you begin researching hotels at your destination, do not assume that a property truly welcomes pets simply because they claim to be “pet-friendly.” Many hotels that boast this designation charge additional fees or relegate guests with pets to the least desirable rooms. To determine whether you and your pets will be made to feel comfortable at a pet-friendly hotel, read reviews to determine how other four-legged guests have been received, and call the hotel to try and gauge their attitude toward animals.
#10 Dog Seat Belts = No Distractions
Dog seat belts help to prevent driver distraction. According to the U.S. government website for distracted driving, in 2012 approximately 421,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. Another study co-sponsored by AAA determined that over 60% of dog guardians engage in distracting behavior with their dogs in the car. Some dogs find seatbelt harnesses uncomfortable at first, so you’ll want to introduce it gradually before taking it for a test ride. Make sure your introductory sessions involve plenty of treats. But before you know it, putting a seatbelt on your dog will become second nature, and you and your road hound can hit the asphalt safely and distraction-free. Enjoy the ride!
Nicole Ellis, rover.com
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