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The Pet Road Trip Guide

road trip guide

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If you’re like us, the worst part of going on a vacation is leaving your pet behind. Saying goodbye is so hard! However, there is the option of taking your four-legged bestie with you on your trip. It sounds good in theory, but in practice it can get a little tricky — especially if you go on a road trip. Road trips are a lot more difficult than a quick drive around the block. Here’s how to make your road trip as painless as possible.

  1. Microchip your animal! You also must make sure that they wear a collar and ID tag at all times. The tag needs to be engraved with their name and your phone number. It’s good to have both forms of identification. ID tags make it super easy for a Good Samaritan to contact you if your pet gets lost and microchips are the only permanent form of ID. 
  2. You need to safely secure your animal in your car. They shouldn’t be loose in your vehicle or back in the bed of your pickup. Keep pets in a crate or carrier or secure them with a special animal seatbelt. There are many suitable carriers available on the market that will do nicely, including mesh, plastic and soft-sided. The carrier should be large enough that your pet can stand, sit, lie down and rotate inside it. And obviously the carrier or crate should be secured in your vehicle so it doesn’t shift around when you suddenly stop or accelerate.
  3. Practice driving in the car with your pet before you take them on your road trip. Start with short trips around the block and gradually increase the amount of time you’re in the vehicle. This will help any pets who hate being in the car get used to being on the road.
  4. Make sure you pack everything your pet needs on your trip. This will include their leash, harness (we like these cat harnesses and dog harnesses), food, water bowl, food bowl, medication, medical history, grooming supplies, poop bags or litter box, pet first aid kit and their favorite blanket or toy. We like this travel bag because it comes with two bowls for your pet’s food and water.
  5. Also bring on your trip a water bottle. Pets need water to regulate their body temperature so it’s crucial to keep them hydrated.
  6. Animals tend to get a little messy so it’s a good idea to line your car’s floors and seats with rubber mats or towels. This will help contain any spills from their water bowl or bathroom accidents.
  7. Some interstate crossings require proof of rabies vaccination so you’ll want to pack those records as well if you will be traveling across state borders.
  8. Don’t feed your pet while driving and only give them food 3-4 hours before your trip. This will help prevent motion sickness.
  9. NEVER leave your pet in a locked car. On a 70-degree day, a car can warm up to dangerous temperatures in mere minutes. Pets are also in danger of freezing to death in cold vehicles.
  10. Don’t let your pet stick their head outside the window while the car is in motion! Unfortunately this is dangerous.