Dog in the CarTraveling with your pets is a great way to spend your summer vacation – after all, your four-legged friends deserve to spend some of your much-needed downtime with you. After all, he or she works hard guarding the house, waiting by the door, and cleaning up spilled food while you work all day.

But traveling with pets does require a bit of planning and a few special considerations. So before you hit the road with your faithful companion, we hope you will consider the following tips and make your summer adventure a pet-friendly getaway for all involved.

Safety First

You buckle-up for safety, so why shouldn’t your pet? Restraining your pet while traveling not only reduces the odds of their behavior causing an accident, but also protects them from injury or escape if an accident does occur.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to which pet restraint system is best for your pet. The type of pet and vehicle you have will ultimately dictate which type of system is best for you, making research vitally important when selecting a style and brand. Don’t just take the website or salesperson’s word for which brand is best – and don’t take it for granted that a crate is the best option, either. When in doubt, give us a call for advice on this important decision. We want your pet to be safe, and you to be confident in the choice you make.

In addition to planning for your pet’s travel safety, you’ll also want to consider his or her overall safety while you’re away from home. Before you go, we strongly advise that you do the following:

  • Microchip your pet, and make sure the chip is activated and updated with your contact information
  • Have a reliable collar on your (at all times) pet with current ID tags
  • Be sure your pet is current on his or her vaccinations and parasite preventatives (you may want to check with us to be sure that there aren’t other vaccinations or preventatives your pet may need for your final destination)
  • Have copies of your pet’s vaccination records while you travel (we can help you with this at no charge)
  • Have a pet first-aid kit in your car and download the American Red Cross’ Pet First-Aid app for your phone – always be prepared!
  • We also recommend finding a veterinarian at your final destination (and possibly one or two along the way) to have in your emergency-plan arsenal before you go. Knowing who to call in an emergency, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place, can only help make the situation smoother for all involved.

    Packing For Your Pet

    While you certainly don’t need to pack a lot for your pet’s vacation, there are a few essentials (and comforts of home) that should be in your pet’s travel kit, including:

  • A strong leash (preferably one that you can clip together in case you need to tie-up your pet for a moment)
  • Food and fresh water
  • Food and water bowls
  • Any medications your pet needs and a copy of the prescription (we can help with this, too)
  • A blanket or some type of bedding (for the car and your destination)
  • A few favorite toys
  • A sweater or jacket for chilly evenings (if your pet wears clothes)
  • An enclosure of some sort – either a crate or a portable dog pen
  • Best Vacation Ever

    Finally, keep in mind that this is your pet’s vacation, too. This means that you’ll need to plan for your pet to have fun too, in addition to you and your family. This shouldn’t be too hard, as long as you’re not envisioning your days spend shopping and at no-dogs-allowed attractions. (And if you are, you may want to consider checking your pet into our boarding service, instead).

    Here are a few tips for making your vacation a little more pet friendly:

  • Look for rest areas that offer somewhere for your pet to play and explore – stops with grass, rivers, trails, and shade are best
  • Consider stopping at local dog parks along the way, they make a nice alternative to rest stops and gas stations
  • Find accommodations that do more than just ‘accept pets’ –be sure they have pet-friendly areas for exercise and potty breaks, too
  • Plan activities that your pet will enjoy, both while traveling and once you’ve reached your destination
  • If you’d like to spend a day at a museum or shopping, consider finding a doggie day camp in the area for your pet, instead of leaving him or her in the hotel room – Never leave your pet in a car, even for a minute!
  • If you’re planning on dining out, look for restaurants that have pet-friendly patios, or an area where you can tie-up your dog just outside of the patio – or get your meal to-go, and take it somewhere you can all dine together
  • We know there’s a lot to consider when traveling with your pets, so please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Also, if you need to have your pet microchipped, brought current on vaccinations and preventatives, or if you need copies of your pet’s records, please give us a call – we’re happy to help however we can.