Memorial Day Pet Road Trip – Top Tips for Safe Pet Car Travel

Memorial Day symbolizes the start of summer for you and your pet. Before you start planning trips to the beach and summer getaways, keep in mind that it’s important to plan ahead for pet travel and always keep the best interests of your furry, four-legged friend in mind.  Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience or a not so pleasant one.  It’s all a matter of proper planning and preparation.

Here are the top tips to ensure your Memorial Day getaway with your pet is a safe one.

  • No Heads Out the Window:  Although many pets find that 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 you pet needs a potty break, and of course, bring along a bag to pick up after your pet.  When outside your vehicle, make sure that 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 their 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 that you keep feeding to a minimum during travel.  Be sure to feed them their regular pet food and resist the temptation to give them 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 parked 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 that your pet is safely restrained in your vehicle.  Utilizing a pet safety harness, travel kennel, vehicle pet barrier, or pet car seat are the best ways to keep your pet safe.  They not only protect your pet from injury, but they help by keeping them from distracting you as you drive.  A safety harness functions like a seatbelt.  While most pets will not have a problem adjusting to it, you may want to let them wear the harness by itself a few times before using it in the vehicle. If your pet prefers a travel kennel, be sure it is well ventilated and stabilized.  Many pet owners prefer vehicle barriers, particularly for larger pets.  Vehicle barriers are best suited for SUVs.  Smaller pets are best suited for pet car seats.  The car seat is secured in the back seat using a seat belt and your pet is secured in the car seat with a safety harness.  In addition to it’s safety features, a pet car seat will prop up your smaller pet, allowing them to better look out the window.  No matter what method you choose, back seat travel is always safer for your pet.

  • Safe and Comfortable:  Whatever method you choose to properly restrain your pet in your vehicle, be sure to make their comfort a priority.  Just as it’s important for your “seat” to be comfortable for your long road trip, your pet’s seat should be comfortable too. Typically their favorite blanket or travel bed will do the trick. There are also some safe and very cozy pet car seats available that your pet may find quite comfy.

Careful preparation is the key to ensuring that you and your pet have a happy and safe trip.
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7 Comments to “Memorial Day Pet Road Trip – Top Tips for Safe Pet Car Travel”

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  3. Skip says:

    This article is long on fluff and short on practical advice. Here’s a tip from someone with a lot of experience. If you have a dog that gets car sick, it can be a real drag on the road trip experience. To make a more enjoyable journey for you and you dog, it helps to recondition they way they think about your vehicle. Many dogs only get to ride in a car on long road trips and the car sickness becomes a learned behavior. Just try putting buster into your car and don’t start it and watch as he still gets sick. Usually, they learn car sicknesses while they are a puppy and their inner ear hasn’t fully developed. Once they’re over 6 months old, physically it shouldn’t impact them, but often times mentally it does. To help them, you should start by putting them in your car, driving one block and then taking them for a nice walk. After a couple of times doing this, drive a few blocks to the nearest park and let them run around there instead. Pretty soon, you can take them across town and once they’re used to a positive experience, you can tackle the long road trip. By getting them excited about being in the vehicle, they forget that they used to get car sick and instead focus on whatever fun adventure that you’re heading to. Don’t think it will work on your dog? Try it, I’ve had a 100% hit rate in my experience.

    Within 2 weeks, you should be able to take them across town.

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  6. [...] Memorial Day Pet Road Trip – Top Tips for Safe Pet Car Travel No Heads Out the Window: Although many pets find that 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 … Read more on Antioch Herald [...]

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