Road Tripping With Rover

Posted by Safeco June 4, 2015

Safety Tips for Traveling With Pets

Pet Travel Safety

Dogs love to go for rides. A dog will happily get into any vehicle going anywhere.Dave Barry


When you're taking a vacation with the family, it's only natural to want to include the whole family. That means the four-footed furry ones, too. And, as Dave Barry notes, if they're dogs they'll likely be excited to come along.

But, traveling with your pets is a bit more complicated than a trip to the dog park. Here are a few tips from the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Veterinary Medical Association to help keep your adventure safe and stress-free for you and your pets.

For starters, think about whether your pet should travel at all. Contrary to that initial "go for a ride" enthusiasm, dogs are likely to be happier with friends, family or a pet sitter than on the road. Cats even more so. But, if Max or Bella are coming along:

  • Update tags and papers. Be sure your cat or dog has a collar with an up-to-date ID tag. Tape your mobile phone number to the tag, if needed, or add a second tag with the number. A microchip with current registration is a good idea, too. Also, if you're crossing state lines, some states require that you have a health certificate from your veterinarian.
  • Provide a safe place to ride. Cats and dogs are safest in carriers, big enough that they can lay down, stand up and turn around, secured in the back seat or the back of the vehicle. An alternative for dogs is a special restraining harness attached to the seat belts in the back. Sorry, no hanging out the window, and no rides in the back of the pickup! If your pet hasn't been in a carrier or a harness before, try some short trips before the vacation to let it get used to the idea.
  • Bring familiar food, water, meds—and a toy or two. To avoid car sickness, start with a light meal three or four hours before you leave, and feed lightly on the way, but never in the moving car. It's also good to bring water from home and top it off from local sources as you go, so that the change is gradual. A first-aid kit and any regular medications are essential. And, a favorite toy or a blanket from home can be calming.
  • Don't ever leave your cat or dog alone in the car. It takes only minutes on a hot summer day for temperatures inside a car to top 100 degrees, even with the windows cracked. Plus, in 16 states, it’s currently unlawful to leave an animal unattended in your vehicle under certain conditions, such as extreme heat or cold.

Remember, animals are creatures of habit. They're comfortable with routines, so the closer you can stick to your pet's regular schedule—for feeding, sleeping, exercise—on your trip, the happier it will be.


Pet First Aid

Get tips on creating a pet first-aid kit before heading out on your road trip.

Topics: Family, Travel

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