Car Travel With Pets: 10 Tips for Safety and Security

What could be better than a vacation? Of course, you'll be bringing your pet along for the ride.

If you're used to taking your pet on long journeys, going without it is not an option. Traveling in the car with your pets, on the other hand, can be stressful for both you and your four-legged companion.

Traveling by car with a pet entails more than just putting the animal in the back seat and driving away, especially if you will be driving long distances or go for an extended period of time. If you plan carefully, bringing your pet along can make the family vacation more enjoyable for everyone. 

Here are a few car travel safety tips to help you plan a safe and enjoyable trip.

1. During the ride, keep your pet restrained. If your pet is hopping around in the car while you're driving, it's not safe for you or your pet. You must concentrate on driving, and your pet may distract you if they become excited or scared. Airbags are great for you, but if you have an accident with your pet in the front seat, they can kill them. As a result, pets should ride in the back seat. Traveling with your pet in a carrier that has been strapped to the seat with a seatbelt or other anchor is the safest option. Make sure your pet can stand up, turn around, and lie down in the carrier. A pet seatbelt can also be used, but these have not been proven to protect animals in a car accident.

2. Before embarking on a long journey, take several short trips with your pet to get them used to ride in the car. Increase the length of these shorter trips gradually to work up to long-distance travel with pets.

3. Feed your pet a light meal three to four hours before you leave. Traveling with your pets in the car is bound to make them hungry at some point. To avoid this, we've discovered that it's best to give them a light snack before you leave. Nonetheless, unless you plan to stop for an extended period of time or when you arrive at your destination, avoid feeding them while driving.

4. Never leave it locked in a vehicle. Of course, when traveling in the car with your pets, you'll need to stop for refreshments or to relieve yourself. You might also want to stretch your legs a little before you continue driving. In any of these scenarios, never leave your friend locked in the car. Aside from emotional distress, it can also freeze and overheat depending on how the vehicle adapts to the changes in weather.

5. Make sure your pet has a travel kit. Include your pet's health records, as well as proof of recent immunizations. Bring regular food, water, medications, and bowls for your pets. You should also include cleaning supplies for your pet, such as waste bags and a scoop. Pack a few toys for your pet to keep them happy and occupied on the trip, including some new ones for novelty and a few old favorites. Finally, don't forget to bring a pet first-aid kit. 

Here are the other good  examples of pets essentials:

6. Identify your pet. If you've decided to use a microchip system for pet identification, double-check that all of your contact information is correct before leaving. You could even attach a tag with your phone number to your pal's collar. This ensures that your buddy finds their way back to you if the two of you become separated

7. Don't let your dog ride in the back seat with its head out the window. There's no denying that this makes some pets happy, and it's adorable to watch. However, in the event of a collision or if you have to unexpectedly slam on the brakes or turn, your pet may be struck by passing debris or thrown out the window. This won't be an issue if you follow tip #1, but it's worth repeating.

8. Take important documents for your pet with you. If you're crossing state or international borders, a health certificate, as well as proof of rabies vaccination, may be required.

9. Bring your own water or provide bottled water for your pet. Drinking water from an unknown source may cause stomach upset.

10. Get your car ready for your dog. There are numerous pet seats and floor mats available to protect your vehicle while also providing comfort for your pal. If you frequently travel with them, you may want to consider purchasing some of these.

Other Types of Travel with Your Pet

Plane Travel. When flying with a pet, there are rules and fees to consider. Some airlines permit you to bring your pet into the cabin, while others do not. Similarly, not all airlines have the same track record for transporting pets in cargo safely. Before you fly, make sure you've done your homework and are confident in your decision. Most airlines provide information about traveling with pets right on their website. However, it is best to call and speak with a representative to understand the procedures involved fully. Often, you will have to book pet travel directly with an airline representative.

Train and Bus Travel. You may be disappointed if you plan to travel by train or bus. Only dogs weighing less than 20 pounds are permitted on Amtrak trains (a $25 fee applies). Dogs are not permitted on Greyhound and other interstate bus companies' buses. (Service dogs are welcome.) Local rail and bus companies each have their own set of rules.

Boat Travel. If you go on a cruise, you might do better. However, before planning to take your pet on a cruise, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on.

When in doubt, keep your pet at home.

As much as you want to keep your furry loved ones by your side at all times, travel can be too dangerous and stressful for some of them. Suppose your pet is especially nervous, sensitive to temperature changes, or could benefit from a few rounds of obedience training. In that case, it's probably best for you both to leave them at home with a trusted sitter.

Keep in mind that this is a vacation. Traveling can be stressful, but a pet with a calm owner is usually a calm pet. Because our furry friends pick up on our stress, if you're nervous and tense, they may exhibit stress and anxiety as well. Remember that some animals dislike traveling, and yours may prefer to stay at home with a pet sitter.

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