Car Travel With Your Pet | My Family Travels

Keep the family’s four-legged best friend healthy on the road and you’ll never hear him barking “Are we there yet?”

The following are tips for traveling with  by car with a pet. Remember, as soon as you make your pet-friendly travel plans, assemble a list of local veterinarians at your destination. And, be sure to carry a copy of your pet’s medical records.
  • If your pet has never been in a car, take him on short rides to get him ready for the trip.
  • Schedule a check-up with your doctor prior to your departure date, especially for animals with any long-term health concerns.
  • Tranquilization is usually not required for car trips, but if you know your pet gets carsick, consult your doctor, and a light sedative may be given.
  • Your pet should wear a collar with your name, address, and phone number at all times.
  • Your pet should always be safely secured during the trip. Dogs should never be allowed to hang out of windows, even a window opened only slightly. Severe injuries can occur if you have to stop the car suddenly, and there’s always the risk of the dog jumping out. A crate is recommended. It should be well ventilated, and be large enough for the pet to stand, turn around, and lie down. Line the bottom with a blanket to absorb urine in case of accident.
  • Try not to travel in extreme weather conditions. If you must travel in hot weather, do so in early morning, or early evening.
  • NEVER leave your pet alone in a car, even for a few minutes. Animals can freeze in cold temperatures. In hot weather, heat stroke can occur in minutes. Heat stress is characterized by heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, a staggering gait, unsteadiness, vomiting or a deep purple tongue If heat stroke occurs, douse your pet with water and apply ice packs to the head and neck. Seek veterinarian attention immediately. 
  • Stop frequently (at least every hour and a half) to give your pet some food, water and exercise. DO NOT allow your dog to run loose at rest areas. No matter how well trained an animal is, remember you are in a new place, and there are a lot of unusual noises. An accident can occur in seconds.
  • Bring along a photo of your pet in case he or she gets lost.
  • If you are going to be staying in a hotel, call ahead and make sure your pet is welcome.
  • At the hotel, try to reserve a ground floor room whenever possible for easy outdoor access.
  • When you arrive at your final stop, keep your pet in a quiet, calm area and give him lots of time to adjust to the new place.

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This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.