Are you moving soon, or preparing for an outing and plan on taking your pet along? If you are, and want to make the drive pleasant, check out these tips for driving with pets before hitting the road with your favorite furry, feathered or scaly friends.
Do: Secure in Transit
No matter how well behaved your dog or cat is, you always should have them properly restrained inside your vehicle. Pet stores offer all kinds of car restraints, harnesses and dog seat belts to choose from. Cat crates and barriers also are available to make transporting your cat easy as well. If traveling with a pet bird or reptile, make sure their cages are secured in a place with enough ventilation, and don’t put other boxes on top of them. Always have current identification tags on your animals and proper leashes before driving with pets.
If you are planning a long-distance or out-of-state move with your pet, make sure to get them acquainted with your vehicle and familiar with the feeling of riding in the car before the big move. A lot of times pets associate car rides with trips to the vet and have major anxiety over it. That doesn’t have to be the case for our furry friends. Take them to the park, bring them with to a friend’s house or just bring them along for the ride as you run errands. The more time spent in the car, the more comfortable your pet will feel on moving day, or any journey.
Do: Nourish + Comfort
Whether you’re moving, or road tripping for the weekend with your pet, make sure you are prepared for the journey. Always remember to pack enough food and water, maybe even throw in a bone or favorite chew toy to pass the time riding in the car. Depending on how long you’ll be driving, or away from home with your pet, you can even choose to bring their bed to help ease any anxiety, and make them feel as comfortable as can be away from home. Pet stores offer “to go” accessories for all kinds of pets.
Do: Stop for Breaks
Stop for bathroom breaks! When driving with pets, make sure you stop in a safe, lit place and always have your dog on a leash. Make sure to have a disposable bag with you so you can pick up your dog’s droppings and properly discard them. It’s always smart to have puppy-training pads in the vehicle in the event you can’t get stopped in a safe place, and your dog can’t hold it. If you are traveling with a cat, make sure and bring their litter box and the tools to clean up after your cat.
Don’t: Leave ‘Em Alone
NEVER leave your pet unattended in a vehicle during summer months. Even if you don’t think it’s very warm outside, temperatures inside the vehicle can be extreme, and all it takes is a few minutes for a pet to be overcome by heat and suffer from dehydration, sunstroke and death. The same goes for cold temperatures. And, don’t forget to plan ahead and make sure the places you are going to be staying at along your move or trip are pet-friendly.
Even if you know your pet doesn’t usually get car sick, it’s important not to overfeed them before a long car ride. At any moment your pet could become nauseous from motion sickness and become ill inside your vehicle. Not fun to deal with.
Don’t: Ride Shotgun
This is one of the toughest rules to follow with dogs, but as tough as it is, don’t let your pet ride in the front seat of your vehicle or on your lap. I am guilty of this and can tell you first hand how distracting it is having my dog climb all over my lap, and jump around from driver’s to passenger’s seat. But I certainly won’t be allowing this any more since I recently learned that a deployed airbag can easily kill small dogs, big dogs and any animal in a carrier riding in the front seat. Don’t allow this to happen!
Don’t: Catch the Breeze
Another tough rule to follow since it’s quite possibly the best thing about riding in a vehicle for most dogs, but don’t let your pet stick their head out a window. Your pet’s head hanging out the window is dangerous, as it could be stung and hit by all sorts of debris. Also, a widely open window makes it easy for smaller pets to jump or fall out even if they are restrained in a certain part of the car.
* Is your pet a seasoned traveler? Do you have any tips for driving with pets that you can share with us in the comments below?