Let's Hit the Road
Taking a road trip is a great idea for a vacation with your pet. The wind in their fur, new sites and new scents on the road! It allows you to set your own pace and decide your own itinerary. Before you go:
1. Lay out the course including accommodations and activities. There are a great number of resources online including:
2. Prep the Vehicle. The easiest way to prep your vehicle is purchasing a car seat cover, we suggest one that allows multiple configurations. In addition, make sure to secure your pet while on the road, this may involving purchasing a crate, carrier or car safety belt to prevent your pet making an unannounced visit to check the view from your lap or your pet crawling to an unsafe location.
3. Pet Check Up. When taking your pet on a trip, it is probably a good time to schedule a check up with your vet. Confirm all vaccinations are up to date, and to discuss any possible concerns about flea, tick or heart worm risks where you will be traveling. It is also a great idea to discuss possible remedies for car sickness, diarrhea and restlessness – just in case!
4. MIcro-chipped. Consider having your pet micro-chipped and keep your contact information up to date with the company that registers the chip. It would be a nightmare, but pets do become separated from their people while traveling. Shelters, animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and humane societies have scanners that read the chips so they can notify you of your pet’s recovery.
5. Pack for your Pet
Pets need a lot of stuff when they are on vacation! A list of things we suggest to bring:
Food and Treats – if you are not certain that you can pick up the brand you feed your pet along the way, pack enough for the whole trip plus a little extra. For canned food – don’t forget the can opener!
Drinking Water – if your pet’s stomach is easily upset, it pays to take drinking water from home with you
Food and Water Bowls – portable bowls pack easily and are great when you are out & about, and anti-spill water bowls are fantastic in the car (or RV)
Proof of vaccinations and your pet’s health records – you’ll need these at some of the dog parks and campgrounds. Also, if you want to use a pet sitter, day care, or kennel services while you are traveling they will need these documents. Don’t forget to take your vet’s telephone number, and the telephone number for the National Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435
Current Identification Tags – Of course you’ll want to include your cell phone number, or other phone number where you can be reached while you are away on your pets tags. We offered some additional suggestions that could save your pets life in a post we did specifically on identification tags a while back
Printed photos of your pet – in case your pet gets separated from you, a current photo can make it easy to create posters quickly, and can be used to prove the pet belongs to you
A couple of rolls of paper towels and some carpet cleaner – for muddy paws and other messes
An old towel or two – in case of rain, or after swimming
Your pet’s bed and a couple of toys – to make them more comfortable when you spend the night in unfamiliar locations.
All their medications, vitamins, supplements, etc
Plastic bags to pick up after them along the way
First aid kit
Pet insect repellent and sunscreen
Leash – Many places require your pet be on a leash no longer than six feet. You may also want to consider a long leash (15-20 feet) if you plan to hike with your dog or let them run in an unfenced area.
6. Try to keep a schedule. Maintaining your pet’s feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible during your trip will reduce any anxiety they may feel about being away from home, so allow for stops along the way to let your pet stretch, run, or burn off some energy – isn’t this what being on vacation is all about, after all?
7. Confirm Pet Policies. Calling ahead to confirm your reservations and remind them that you are traveling with your pet can help avoid unpleasant surprises. Ask about any restrictions that the hotel or campground may have regarding pets, including whether you are allowed to leave your pet unattended in your room. If you will be leaving your pet alone, consider bringing their crate or carrier, leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, and give your cell phone number to the staff at the front desk so you can be reached if needed.
Please share your tips, we would love to hear them!