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On the Road Again: Traveling with your Pet

dog in carDespite rising gas prices, millions of Americans will be traveling by car this summer. If you’re planning to bring your pet with you on a road trip, just be sure to make car travel safe and comfortable for Fluffy, say the pet care experts at Best Friends.

  • Pet safety and comfort
    While many dogs enjoy a car ride around town, some pets simply cannot tolerate longer car trips. Others associate car rides with unpleasant destinations. If your pet exhibits signs of stress in the car or carsickness, it will be kinder to leave him in a quality boarding facility for his own comfort.

    • Check with your vet about health issues for your destination. Will additional vaccinations be required? Also, investigate local pet laws where you are traveling. Some states and municipalities are enacting laws requiring the pets be restrained in vehicles.
    • Book accommodations early. If your hotel won’t accept pets, check for nearby boarding kennels. Be sure to make boarding reservations in advance, or there might not be room at the inn.
    • Prepare two sets of identification tags – one for your destination, and one for home. If your pet gets lost or separated from you during the trip, you want someone who finds him to be able to contact you right away – not after you arrive home.

    Once underway, don’t forget your pet’s special needs:

    • Buckle up – Hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they had free run of the vehicle. An unrestrained pet can be distracting enough to the driver to cause an accident. Pets should be harnessed or placed in a carrier in the rear seat or cargo area.
    • Stop for stretch breaks. Stop about every two hours to give your pet a chance to get out and stretch.
    • Offer plenty of water. Always carry fresh water and offer it frequently in small sips to your pet so he won’t become dehydrated. Feed your dog his regular meal at his regular time, but offer a little less. He’s less active in the car, and is less likely to become nauseated.
    • Other safety rules. Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. The temperature in a car can spike suddenly, putting your pet at risk for heat stroke. Also, your dog could get stolen from the car, or bite a passerby. Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck, or stick her head out an open window.

    If you decide that a road trip is simply not right for your pet, be sure to make a reservation at your hometown boarding kennel soon. Good boarding kennels fill up quickly during the peak summer vacation season. To choose the best accommodations for your family pets:

    • Always visit the kennel you are considering during normal business hours. Ask for a tour. You should not need an appointment to do this.
    • Use your senses to evaluate the facility. Are the quarters large enough for your pet to move about? How does the staff interact with their pet guests?
    • Ask questions. Is there exercise or play time available? Will they feed special diets and give medication if required? Is there 24-hour on-call veterinarian care?
    • Don’t forget to ask for references. A good kennel will readily provide names and phone numbers of satisfied customers.