By Jenny Anderson, Volunteer
Many of us will be traveling to friends and family over the holidays. If you’re planning to bring along your companion animal, several vital considerations will assure your pet’s safety, health, and happiness while on the road trip.
• Safety begins with a secure collar & tags. If your pet has a microchip, be sure the contact information is up-to-date. Do not have too much printed on a tag, as an unscrupulous person could use the personal information. Have lost pet posters prepared, just in case. Make sure your pet can move comfortably in the pet carrier you will use —pets should always be contained & secure in the vehicle for their safely, as well as yours. You may want to familiarize your pet with the carrier in advance, especially if it is not usually confined to such a small space.
• Health records, medications, and a first aid kit should be packed along with any other pet supplies. Sometimes anti-diarrheal and motion sickness medications come in handy. If the trip will be a long one, bring along any prescriptions for refills. Bring along fresh drinking water for the pet as well as all other passengers.
• Happy pets enjoy having a favorite blanket or bed along while sleeping in new surroundings. Favorite toys, treats, and grooming tools should be included in the pet’s travel tote. Keep some normalcy to the daily routines, including feeding times. Avoid feeding for several hours before taking off (allow several hours) —an upset stomach could create a very uncomfortable situation for you and the pet. Some pets are prone to travel sickness.
When you include your pet in travels, the tradeoff will be less worry about leaving your special friend, and the enjoyment of times shared on the road. Walk and exercise pets in the coolest part of the day or find shade-covered grassy areas when possible. Always have extra water along to help keep you and your pet hydrated, and use it to soak your pet, should it become overheated.
Be very cautious about the temperatures in the vehicle. Pets require a well-ventilated environment. Never, ever leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle, even for just a few minutes. Once you plan ahead and take reasonable precautions, you’ll enjoy travel with your companion animal. Best wishes for happy and safe travel adventures.