Sometimes when you travel, it makes sense to bring your pet along. Maybe you have a long vacation planned. Perhaps you are moving out of state, or just want your beloved animal companion to experience an exciting cross-country trek with you.
No matter what type of trip you and your pet will be taking, it’s important to consider their needs. Planning ahead can make the trip smoother for everyone.
Keeping in mind the length of your trip, pack food, bottled water and medicine for your pet. Bring extra in case your trip is extended or you become stranded due to a flat tire, traffic jam, or other unforeseen event. Remember to take along a set of bowls for your pet to eat and drink out of.
If your pet has special grooming needs, bring any items necessary to accommodate them. Gather bathroom supplies including doggy bags, a litter box, wood shavings, etc. Puppy training pads may be a good idea for any type of animal, just in case any accidents occur in the vehicle.
To help reduce your pet’s anxiety, pack plenty of toys, soft blankets, and other comfort objects. Items that remind them of home or have your familiar scent may reduce stress. Consider wearing a t-shirt for a day and then packing it, unwashed, for them to snuggle.
If your pet already struggles with high anxiety, speak to your veterinarian. Some animals may benefit from medication to help calm their nerves during travel. Only administer medication to the animal it is prescribed for, and only give the amount prescribed.
When traveling with your pet, you will want to ensure their comfort in the vehicle, and also have a method of transporting them outside of the vehicle. They may require a collar and leash. It is also smart to pack a comfortable carrier. Cover your vehicle’s seats with claw-friendly protectors.
Be sensitive to your pet’s feelings while you’re on the road. Is an air conditioning vent blasting right on them? Could their carrier be ‘cooking’ in the hot sun? Take frequent breaks at rest areas to let your pet move, stretch, and relieve themselves.
Prepare for Emergencies
In addition to the essential items your pet needs, be sure to bring materials that may be needed in case of emergency. This includes their ID tags. Pack a folder with copies of your pet’s vaccination records, medical history, and health insurance policy. You may also want to keep some first-aid items on hand, such as absorbent gauze pads and over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. Save the phone number of an emergency vet clinic in your phone.
Remember that traveling, from your pet’s perspective, is filled with all sorts of new sights and sounds. This may excite them, and it may also overwhelm them. Offer your pet as much comfort and familiarity as possible while you journey from one place to the next.