Traveling with our pets can be a joyful experience if proper planning and preparation are done ahead of time. We get to see a different side of their personalities as they explore new surroundings and meet new people. It’s also comforting to have them by our side while we’re away from home. There are, however, some basics guidelines to follow and pitfalls to avoid when traveling with pets. In this article, we’ll cover seven issues to address before you hit the road.
1. Review your pet health insurance policy
Does your policy allow you to visit a different veterinarian? Will it cover your pet out of state? Does your policy cover emergencies and after-hour visits? Trusted pet health insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, allow you to select the veterinary clinic of your choice. Knowing that your pet is covered takes a load off your mind and enables you to enjoy your travels without worry.
2. Judge how well your pet travels
Some dogs get excited at the prospect of a car ride. They jump eagerly into the car and watch happily out the window. Others are afraid. If your dog is not accustomed to riding in the car, you should take him on several shorter rides to make sure he is comfortable beforehand. Going on shorter car rides will also allow you to know if your pet gets car sick. If you find that your pet does get car sick, your veterinarian can prescribe medication that will help with car sickness. Beware that certain medications may cause unsafe side effects! It is important to ask your vet for a medication that will safely limit side effects. If you happen to have cat insurance or dog insurance with Pets Best Insurance, some medications may even be covered.*
Before all trips, it’s good idea to relax your pet by taking them out on a walk or a quick round of exercise. This way they’ll be happily exhausted and will be easier to calm down during your car or plane ride.
3. Plan and pack all pet supplies in advance
When planning for your trip, make sure to pack the following necessities:
- Pet food
- Ample supply of fresh water
- A leash
- Comfortable bedding
- Prescribed medications
- Pet identification tags with updated information.
If you’re taking a trip that will outlast your pet’s food supply, locate stores along your route that carry his food. Traveling can be stressful, and stress can cause everything from tummy upset to a lack of appetite. The last thing you want is to have to suddenly switch your pet’s food during a cross-country trip.
4. Find a pet-friendly hotel or other travel accommodations
Several websites offer listings of pet-friendly hotels to stay. Be sure to look for restrictions they have on pet size or the number of pets allowed. Some vacation inns have weight and shedding restrictions. Some places allow pets to stay free of charge while others charge by the night. A refundable or non-refundable pet deposit might be required. Choose a motel or hotel with a designated area where you can walk your dog or use Google Maps to find a place that has a nearby park.
5. Keep your pets secured while on the road
Resist the urge to let your pets roam free while you’re driving. Not only can this lead to injuries to both your pets and any human passengers, but if an accident occurs a pet is liable to run away in fear. A slinky cat or an eager pup can also slip out an open car door in the blink of an eye at a rest area. Dogs can be secured using a crate or by using special harnesses or tethers that are made to attach to the seatbelt. Cats should always be kept in pet crates or a cat carrier while traveling in a car. A carrier will prevent the cat from getting under the driver’s feet and possibly causing an accident.
6. If you’re traveling by air
Before your trip, have your pet checked out by your veterinarian to make sure he is healthy enough to fly. Visit the website of the airline you’re flying with to find out what restrictions and requirements they have in place regarding pets. During the flight, your pet will have to stay in a pet crate. Small dog carriers are available in an array of styles to keep your dog safe. If your dog is too large to ride in the plane with you, he will have to ride in the cargo area. When choosing a dog crate, be sure that it’s an airline-approved carrier for its intended purpose. In addition to having your pet wear a collar and identification tags, it’s a good idea to also put your pet’s information on the crate itself.
7. Prepare for pet emergencies while you travel
Medical problems and injuries can be more difficult to deal with when you are on the road. Be prepared and travel with the following items:
- Pet first aid kit
- Your pet’s medical records
- Your veterinarian’s phone number
- Backup food and water
No doubt, a road trip with pets is more complicated and cumbersome than traveling without them, but it’s well worth the effort. After all, pets often enjoy the adventure of travel as much as humans do. Maybe even more!