Taking a trip with your furry companions can be a bit stressful, to say the least. Aside from the regular hassles of packing, planning, and getting on the road, you must also prepare for every conceivable occurrence that could befall your pet. But if you haven’t travelled with an animal before, you may not even be aware of some of the necessities involved in transporting a pet. Here are ten tips to help you on your way.
- Get shots. Whether you’re travelling near or far, it couldn’t hurt to check in with the veterinarian to make sure your animal is up to date with all of their vaccinations and see if they will need any additional boosters for the area you’re visiting.
- Get tags. There is a much greater chance of your pet escaping during travel (they will likely be anxious and ready to bolt at the slightest provocation) so ensure their safe return in the event that they accidentally get loose by chipping them (for identification at a shelter) and giving them a collar and tag with contact information.
- Invest in a carrier. Gates are okay for short trips, but on a long road trip a carrier will make your pet more secure, save them from jostling, and ensure that they don’t get loose.
- Pack a bag. Your pet has all the same needs you do, from food and water to waste elimination to the comforts of home. So make sure to put together some items they will need (plenty of food, water, and vessels to put them in, as well as a litter box for cats) and some they will want (toys, blankets, a bed, etc.).
- Bone up. A favorite toy or something to chew on can take the edge off of a bouncy car ride, so bring along something to occupy your pets. Think of it as a game of Mad Libs or Battleship for your animal to pass the time.
- Do a test run. If you’ve never driven a long distance with your pet and you plan to do so in the near future, take them on a couple of short drives (a half-hour or hour should do the trick) to see if you can get them acclimated to the car.
- Check the temp. Your pet may be used to a fairly steady temperature in your house, so try to match it in the car so that they don’t overheat or freeze in the backseat.
- Take frequent breaks. Some pets only go when you let them out while others are used to going whenever they want. Add to that the strain of a new and frightening situation and you shouldn’t be surprised if an accident occurs. Since you probably don’t want to drive many a mile with your car smelling like a toilet, plan regular rest stops to let them do their business if they need to.
- Make reservations. You don’t want to get to a hotel only to realize they don’t allow pets, so look for stops along the way that are animal-friendly. That way you won’t have to scramble at the last minute for adequate lodgings. You may also want to write down phone numbers for emergency vets in the area, just in case.
- Consider sedatives. Many animals are uncomfortable or even downright frightened of travel. To spare them a traumatic situation, you may consider giving them a mild sedative. This is a last resort for most pet parents, but it could save you both a lot of heartache.
Jamie Myers is a writer for Holidays to Thailand, an online travel guide with customer reviews, tips, and advice for Thailand travel.