Many of us will be hitting the road this year to visit family, friends, or on vacation. Many of us will be taking our pets with us. A pet has special needs when traveling that you should take into account. Here are some tips for safe travel with your pets.
Food and water
You will want to carry enough food and water for the animal for as many days as you travel. In addition, there are special collapsible dog food and water bowls that allow you to serve your pet anytime you want and then fold up the bowl so that it doesn’t take up much space. And don’t forget the treats! Have plenty of treats to give your pet when they are agitated. Some treats will work better than others in a vehicle. Choose treats that won’t do a mess, make a lot of noise, and keep the animal occupied. For dogs, consider a Kong treat, which is a rubber treat that you can put smaller treats into. Your pet will be distracted trying to remove the treats from the toy.
Remember to bring your pet’s favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal, familiarity with these items will reduce any shock or homesickness the pet might experience. Bring extra blankets so the animal can nap or rest on it. It will also keep animal hair away from your seats!
Nowadays there are special harnesses and seat belts for different sizes of dogs. For small dogs, there are modified car seats that have a padded area for the dog to sit on. The car seat, or dog seat, is attached to the seat using a seat belt. Also, for medium and large dogs, you may be concerned that they will jump into the vehicle while you are driving. For larger dogs, there are harnesses that keep the dog in its seat using a specially modified version of a seat belt. These restraints allow the dog to sit in the seat while enjoying a view out the window without endangering themselves or the handler. For larger and older dogs, there is also a restraint device that allows your dog to sit or lie down in the backseat of the vehicle safely and is especially useful if you go off the road or if you will be going through tough roads with many bends and bumps as these harnesses will keep your dog in place.
For dogs who vomit on car rides, there are options to help you. There are prescription medications for pets that you can get from your veterinarian. There is also the over-the-counter medication Dimenhydrinate, also known as Dramamine. You can give your pet the same type of Dramamine as adults. About 30 to 50 milligrams is the recommendation for medium to large dogs and about 10 to 15 milligrams for small dogs and cats. Dramamine should be administered approximately one hour before your departure. Many dogs will have less car sickness if you let the dog look out the window and / or let some fresh air hit the dog in the face. For some dogs, by distracting the dog with a new toy or dog treat, they will overcome their fear of getting into a car.
Remember to take breaks for the dog to potty. Take your time to let the animal find the right place to do its business, it may take longer at a rest stop or other unfamiliar location, especially if the area is frequented by many other dogs and animals. Take a brisk jog for a few minutes to rid the animal of excess energy, if necessary. In addition, in unfamiliar places, keep your dog on a leash at all times.
You should never leave your pet in a vehicle when the outside temperature is even slightly warm for more than 30 minutes. Your vehicle will act almost like an oven and the interior temperature of a vehicle sitting in the sun, even when it is only a little warm outside is often too much for a pet. In fact, it is illegal in many states.