Planning to hit the road with your pet for a Labor Day getaway? Before you pack up your car and your pet, be sure to heed these pet travel tips for the road to help ensure your four-legged companion is happy and safe:
•No Heads Out the Window: Although many pets find sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it's not safe. Your pet can easily be injured by flying debris. This should go without saying, but never travel with a pet in the back of a pickup truck. Some states have laws restricting such transport and it is always dangerous.
•Frequent Pit Stops: Always provide frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. Most travel service areas have designated areas for walking your pet. Be sure to stay in this area, particularly when your pet needs a potty break, and, of course, bring along a bag to pick up after your pet. When outside your vehicle, make sure your pet is always on a leash and wearing a collar with a permanent and temporary travel identification tag.
•Proper Hydration: During your pit stops, be sure to provide your pet with some fresh water to wet his whistle. Occasionally, traveling can upset your pet's stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on your pet than large amounts of water.
•Watch the Food Intake: It is recommended you keep feeding to a minimum during travel. Be sure to feed your pet his regular pet food and resist the temptation to give him some of your fast food burger or fries - that never has a good ending!
•Don't Leave Them Alone: Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in your vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, an animal left alone in a vehicle is an open invitation to pet thieves.
•Practice Restraint: Be sure your pet is safely secured in your vehicle. Utilizing pet safety restraints is the best way to keep your pet safe. They not only protect your pet from injury, but they help to keep him from distracting you as you drive. Pet safety harnesses/seat belts, travel kennels, vehicle pet barriers and pet car seats are all good choices for securing your pet. No matter what option you choose, make sure your pet does not travel in the front seat.
•Safe and Comfortable: Whatever method you select to properly secure your pet in your vehicle, be sure to make comfort a priority. Just as it's important for your "seat" to be comfortable for your road trip, your pet's seat should be comfortable, too. Typically, your pet's favorite blanket or travel bed will do the trick. There also are some safe and very cozy pet car seats available that your pet may find quite comfy.
Careful preparation is the key to ensuring you and your pet have a happy and safe trip.
TripsWithPets.com is a premier pet-friendly travel guide providing online reservations at more than 30,000 pet-friendly hotels and accommodations across the U.S. and Canada. When planning a trip, pet parents go to TripsWithPets.com for detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities. TripsWithPets.com also features airline and car rental pet policies, pet-friendly activities, a user-friendly search-by-route option, as well as pet travel gear.
Author Kim Salerno is the president and founder of TripsWithPets.com. She spends her free time traveling with her four-legged kids, Tucker, Charlie, Brownie and Diamond.