Hitting the road with your furry friend?
Road-tripping with your fur babies can be super fun and filled with new sights, smells, and experiences. But before you start packing your gear (and your pet’s), it’s essential to plan ahead — from finding pet-friendly stays to managing your pet’s comfort, we’ve got you covered.
So sit back and get ready to embark on a trip you’ll both never forget!
1. Pick a Pet-Friendly Destination and Stay
“Where to go?” is the first thing in planning your road trip.
A vacation can offer endless options, and it can be overwhelming to choose a destination. Since you’re bringing your four-legged buddy along, your priority should be to find pet-friendly accommodations.
Booking ahead is the best option, as last-minute pet-friendly lodgings can be tough to find and cause unnecessary stress.
Some questions you’ll want to ask of these establishments:
- Do you charge additional pet fees?
- How many pets are allowed per room?
- Are pet amenities available?
- Can my pets be left unattended?
2. Stay Flexible, and Plan Rest Stops Along Your Route
One of the biggest errors to make on any trip is trying to do too much.
With road trips, rest stops are more important than you realize, especially with a pet. You may have to cut out some points of interest to give yourself and your furry friend opportunities to stretch and take bathroom breaks along the way.
Prepare to stay flexible, as weather or unforeseen circumstances can affect your plans.
Also, remember keep your pet securely restrained before opening the car door to prevent them from escaping.
3. Check With Your Vet Before Traveling With Your Pet
Before hitting the road, pop by the vet to ensure your furry friend is fit for travel — more so if you have an older pet or one with medical conditions.
Ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are current, and discuss any potential health concerns related to your travel destination. You’ll also want to know remedies for common issues such as car sickness, diarrhea, and restlessness. Pets can get travel-sick, just like humans do!
Additionally, consider having your pet microchipped. It’s a scary thought, but pets can get separated from their owners while traveling. If your pet is microchipped, shelters, animal hospitals, and veterinary clinics can quickly scan the chip and notify you of your pet’s location if they’re found.
4. Pack the Necessary Gear
With a destination set and your fur-buddy cleared for travel… time to pack your gear.
Food and treats are a must, and don’t forget the can opener! You want to keep your trip as clean as possible (as accidents happen), so consider water-resistant sheets to protect your seats and paper towels or wipes to clean muddy paws.
These should be on your travel list, too:
- Drinking water
- Pet bed and toys
- Pet ID tag
- Leash or harness
- Waste bags
- Portable bed or mat
- Food and treats
- Litter box and litter (for cats)
5. Safety First — Your Pet in the Back Seat
The back seat is safer for both you and your pet.
A pet carrier or car harness can prevent an excitable pet from distracting you. You don’t want them suddenly jumping into your lap or crawling under your legs while driving. They’ll also protect your furry friend in the event of an accident.
6. Pet Comfort is a Must
Having some of their favorite toys along can make your vehicle feel more familiar to your pet, especially if it’s their first time on the road.
And remember to keep your pet hydrated. Bring along a supply of cool water. If you’re feeling extra fancy, freeze small containers of water for your furry co-pilot.
7. Keep an Eye on the Temperature
In cold weather, your pet must always stay warm and should never be left alone in the car for long periods. On the flip side, even a quick trip to the grocery store can be dangerous for your pet in hot weather. Just a few minutes in a hot car can lead to severe health problems or even be fatal!
So if you need to make a longer stop, think outside the box and find alternatives like having a picnic instead of grabbing a meal in a restaurant.
8. Stick to a Routine for Minimal Stress
Road trips with pets can be stressful for our furry friends, even if they don’t show it.
But fear not. There are some things to make the journey easier on them.
One way is to stick to their normal routine as much as possible, including their feeding and exercise schedule. You can even set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to chow down or take a walk.