Our pets are part of our family. We feed them, bathe them, watch them grow up, take them to the veterinarian if something seems off with their health, and we shower them in love. We also want our pets to come along with us when we travel because again, they are part of our families and we wouldn’t leave a human loved one behind so we have the same mindset about our furry loved ones.
Even though we love taking our pets along for a drive with us, we need to keep in mind that there are safety precautions that go along with traveling with your pet. There are certain items that are needed, things to do in preparation, and so on. To best explain best practices when traveling with your pet, we are going to start with telling you what not to do.
What Not to Do
- Do not drive with your pet in your lap. Driving with your pet in your lap is a major “no no”. Your pet can interfere with your driving and that’s not safe for you, your pet, your passengers or others on the road.
- Train your pup to keep their heads in the window. If your pet likes to hang their head out the window, keep in mind that it is a safety concern. If their head is sticking out, they are at risk of getting hit by a pebble or something thrown out of another vehicle’s window. This can cause harm to your poor pup. Because of this, it is best to keep their heads in the vehicle if possible. If your windows are automatic, lock them so the dog can’t accidentally (or purposely) let them down.
- Keep a fan in the car. While we don’t recommend leaving your pet unattended in a vehicle, if your dog is tagging along for a car ride but you know your destination is not pet friendly, make sure to bring a fan to keep your pet cool while they wait. This is not just important for hot days, but also warm days, as temperatures can quickly rise and harm your pet. On a 75 degree day, the temperature inside a car can climb to 100 degrees within five minutes, and in just 10 minutes, the temperature can reach 130 degrees. This can easily lead to dehydration and heatstroke for the dog. Never leave your dog for more than a few minutes.
While there are definitely more don’ts that we could list, it is pretty simple: if you wouldn’t do it to your kid, don’t do it to your pet.
So now that you’ve learned what not to do, let’s get into some tips for traveling with your pets.
Tips for Traveling with your Pup
- Hold off on the food. If your pet gets carsick, don’t feed them before the trip or only offer them a small portion of food. This will decrease the risk of them getting sick all over your nice seats.
- Plan potty breaks. Just like us, once we’ve driven around for a while, we’re ready to stretch our legs and visit the restroom. Your pet is no different. Dogs can get antsy if you do not allow them time to stretch. A good rule of thumb is to stop for a break every four to six hours.
- Buckle up the pup. Your pet should be secured in their seat for their safety and yours too. If an accident occurs (let’s hope it doesn’t), you want to ensure your furry friend’s safety. Buckling them in will also keep them from moving around as much and becoming a distraction while you’re driving. There are several buckling systems for all sizes of pets on the market.
- Make them ride in the back. Just like people, many dogs prefer to ride shotgun for a better view of what’s around them. However, it’s best that your pet sits in the backseat, even if it’s just you and the dog. This will reduce distractions and provide more safe riding conditions for your pet.
- Look into getting a barrier. If you have a large dog, you may want to look into getting a barrier that separates the backseat from the front.
- Get a crate. If your pet is small enough and you don’t have a lot of space in your car, you can put them in a crate or carrier. Make it cozy with blankets on the bottom.
Pet Emergency Kit
It is always best to be prepared so we’re going to list a few items to bring along just in case your dog needs some emergency attention.
- Vaccination and medical records. You never know when you’re going to need to rush to the pet hospital and if you do, you want to have these documents on hand. It is also a good idea to have your veterinarian’s phone number accessible just in case.
- Gauze, tape, rubber gloves, and scissors. Although we’ve listed four items here, they’re really a package deal. You shouldn’t have one without the others. You may need to quickly patch up a wound and these items are what you’ll need to do so.
- Antibiotic ointment. In the event that your pet gets a small cut or scratch, antibiotic ointment will help prevent infection.
- Hydrogen peroxide. Sometimes dogs get into things they shouldn’t. And in the worst cases, they eat toxic foods, chemicals or indigestible objects. In these cases, your veterinarian may instruct you to induce vomiting with the use of hydrogen peroxide. If you are instructed to do this, it helps to have some on hand! Follow the vet’s instructions carefully. However, rule of thumb is to give 1 teaspoon (5 ml) for every 10 pounds of body weight. This can be repeated once if your dog does not vomit within 15 minutes.
- Small packages of food or treats and water. This may seem a little obvious but even the little things can slip our minds. You want to have some snacks and water on hand in case you’re going to be away from your normal stash for a while. You also want to have treats just in case you need to remove something from your pets paw and you want to reward them for their bravery.
- Medications. If your pet takes medications, it is smart to make sure you have them with you just in case you won’t be around your medicine cabinet for a long while.
- Guide for pet first aid kit. In an emergency situation, it may be hard to think of how to handle things because everything is moving so fast. Have some reading material on hand to resort to so you won’t have to rely on your brain in a panic.
So now that we have all precautions in mind and we’ve got our handy-dandy pet rescue kit, it’s time to hit the road. We hope these tips encourage you to be mindful about your safety and your pet’s safety when traveling with your pupper.