While you may have traveled with your pet in the car plenty of times — to the vet, the dog park, a friend’s house — going on an actual road trip with your pet is an entirely different situation. While Fido might be comfortable sticking it out for a few minutes when you drive across town, can they last hours with you, your family and your luggage, all in one small car?
Though each pet is different, there are a few things you can do ahead of time and plan for, to make sure the trip is just as enjoyable for your pet as it is for you. After all, if you’re dealing with a crying dog or cat, one that just won’t sit still or a nervous bladder, no one will have a good time.
You can ease your pet’s anxiety a few different ways, but one of the easiest is to bring along something familiar to make them feel at home and relaxed for an extended period of time. Maybe it’s as simple as putting their favorite blanket or dog bed in their crate with them, or having them sit next to their favorite human for the majority of the ride. Also, keep their routines as normal as possible. Allow them to eat around the same hours and stop for breaks when you know they likely would be heading out for a walk if they were at home.
You wouldn’t let your child roam about the car or just the backseat without a seatbelt, so why would you let another member of your family? Keep your pet safe with either a crate or a safety belt. Whatever size or type of dog you have, there are many kinds of car ride safety options to make sure they’re comfortable as well as protected. Also, be careful about letting them stick their head out the window — it might be cute now, but, again, would you let your child do it?
The Necessary Precautions
While the thought of your dog or cat wandering off unbeknownst to your family, while at a rest stop or at another time during your travel, is horrific, precautions still should be taken, just in case. Consider microchipping your pet, in the event of a loss. While almost equally scary is the idea your pet might become seriously ill while on the road, think ahead to the possibility and invest in some pet insurance, so you can head to the vet whatever the circumstances.
Enjoy the Ride
Hey, if your dog wasn’t going to have fun, too, why’d you bring them? Make sure they’re just as happy as your other travel companions, with a trip to a park in your destination for plenty of fascinating new smells, a stop at a dog-friendly cafe or beach and plenty of treats for those road trip munchies.