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7 tips for taking your pet on the road

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Posted by Dr. Kim on Jun 25 2015

Petplan’s fourth annual travel survey revealed that Millennials are traveling with their pets more than any other generation. For them (and many families!), the thought of leaving a furry member behind is enough to make everyone want to stay home. There are many vacations that are well suited for pets, but realistically, sometimes it’s better to leave your pet home.

Before you make travel plans for your four-legged kid, stop to consider whether he would enjoy it. Some pets would be just as happy to have a fun week at the boarding kennel or at home with a pet sitter.

If you’ve decided for sure that your pet is hoofing it with you on your adventure, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of safe travels. Here are some tips to keep your trip both fun AND safe:

  1. Make sure your pet has proper identification. A collar that displays your contact information is essential, and a microchip goes one step further. This permanent form of identification only works if you’ve registered your current contact information, though, so don’t forget that important step.
  2. Help your pet be comfortable in the car. Anxiety fuels motion sickness in our four-legged passengers. Before you head out on a week-long road trip, take some time to desensitize your dog or cat to the car. Have your pet sit in the car with you for a minute or two and call it a day. Reward good, calm behavior and try to ignore anxious behavior. Gradually increase the time your pet sits in a still car, and when she's ready, take a drive around the block. From there, keep working on lengthening the distance until she’s ready to drive across the country with you!
  3. If your pet is desensitized to the car but you still find that she gets car sick, ask your veterinarian about medications that you can use to help. No one wants to start out a long car trip with a seat full of vomit!
  4. Brush up on the safest way for your pet to travel in the car. Cats and small dogs are safest in carriers that are secured, while larger dogs may do best with a harness. Never let your pet wander unrestrained in the car.
  5. Make sure everyone in your party has a place to rest at the end of the day. There’s nothing much worse than showing up to your hotel at the end of a long travel day to discover that pets are not welcome. Do your homework beforehand to make sure you’ve booked a hotel that takes pets.
  6. Don’t forget to pack your pet’s medical records, including paperwork showing that he is current on vaccines, and a pet first aid kit.
  7. Take a few minutes to research animal hospitals in the area if you’re staying in one place for any length of time. If an accident were to occur, the last thing you’d want is to do is rush to find a vet.
  8. NEVER leave your precious cargo in the car unattended. Summer temperatures may seem mild, but inside your car, temperatures can quickly skyrocket. Just don’t chance it.