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Traveling with your pet

safety tips for traveling with your dogDoes the sound of your car keys jingling make your dog excited? Do the words ‘car ride’ send them into a frenzy? Many dogs love the excitement of a ride in the car. It’s fun for them, and we want to make sure that the fun ride is also a safe one.

Whether you’re going across town, or across the country, here are a few tips for you to keep your furry friend safe while they’re on the go with you in the car. This is sound advice, whether during the holidays or throughout the whole year.

Don’t ever allow your pet to sit in your lap as you drive. It may seem like common sense, but I see people almost every day with their pets in their laps as they try to navigate traffic. Today, we have enough distractions while driving. Your pet should not be another one.

Motion sickness can be a problem for some pets, even on shorter trips. Make sure to feed your pet two to three hours before embarking on your journey, and make the meal a little smaller than normal. Your pet’s belly (and your car’s interior) may thank you.

For longer trips, try exercising your pet before you head out. You don’t want all of your pet’s energy to rear its head when they’re in the car. A little rest in the car will do them good, and prevent distractions when you’re driving.

I know most pets don’t like being in a crate, but this is really the best place for them while traveling. Make sure your crate is large enough for them to fully turn around. Line the base of the crate with a blanket or pet bed for their comfort. Make sure you don’t act like the crate is a punishment, as they’ll resist getting in. Put their favorite toys or a small amount of food or treats in there so they’re enticed to enter, and don’t think of the crate as a punishment.

If your car isn’t large enough for a crate, keep your pet confined to the back seat. Many pet supply stores carry harnesses which are safe and comfortable.

For longer trips, make sure you take frequent breaks, so your pet (and you) can stretch their legs, and take a needed potty break. Plan your route with these stops in mind- and make sure there are ‘pet-friendly’ facilities around the route where you and your pet will be welcomed. For these longer trips, be sure you have a food and water dish with you, as well as a supply of fresh water. Don’t withhold water from your pet during the trip just to lessen the number of potty breaks you need to make.

pet traveling with you on the roadYou’ve probably seen lots of cute dogs with their heads out the window cruising down the road. Sure, it’s cute, but it is also dangerous. Don’t allow your pets to do this. If you must come to a sudden stop, or rear-ended, the injuries to your pet would be traumatic. Keep the windows up, and if you have a window lock, turn it on, so your pet doesn’t accidentally roll down the window.

We’ve seen too many stories about pets that escape while on road trips. Make sure that your pet’s leash/collar are in good condition- and that your pet’s microchip information is up to date. Microchips are still the best way to reunite lost pets with their families, no matter where you may be.

Don’t keep your dog in the car unattended. Ever. Not for a minute. Not in the shade. Not with the windows cracked. Not ever. If you know your destination (a store, restaurant, etc.) does not welcome pets, don’t take them with you.

Keeping these tips in mind will make your next trip with your pet an enjoyable and safe one.