Safety tips when travelling with your pet in a car

Siamese Linus enjoys supervised time in the backyard.

Summer Fun. Siamese Linus can safely vacation with his human.

The number of pets going on vacation with their humans is mushrooming, and here Paws for Reflection offers some travel safety trips when travelling with your pet in the car.

Paws finds AAA and the ASPCA as a few of the places where you can find tips on how to safely travel with your pet.

  • Plan to have your pet with you at all times.

The number one thing to do is never, never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked. Even on a seemingly pleasant summer day, temperatures inside a vehicle can soar to over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, leading to heat stroke and death. In very cold weather, the animal is at risk for hypothermia.

If you must quickly run an errand, restrain the animal in a kennel, park in the shade, and leave the windows completely open. It would be better, to have one person stay with the pet outside the vehicle, while the other runs into a store to grab a quick stop.

Having your pet micro-chipped should be a must well before embarking upon the trip. That way if Fido or Fluffy get lose, a quick chip scan can help you reunited with your pet.

If you are hiking or camping, consider a small separate tent with bedding, unless they’ll be bunking with you.

Don’t forget the leash, and for cats, a harness complete with leash. They’ll need plenty of water, treats and toys. It’s also a good idea to bring vaccination records, a first-aid kit and grooming supplies, as well as flea and tick repellent.

Additional travel tips from AAA include:

  1. Feed your pet a light meal about four hours before departure to prevent your pet from getting sick in the car.
  2. Do not give your pet food or water in a moving vehicle
  3. Never allow your pet to stay in the bed of a pick-up truck even if on a leash or harness as the pet could jump out and become injured.
  4. Avoid putting the pet in a camper or trailer because you can’t monitor what’s going on with the pet
  5. Don’t let your dog stick his head out the vehicle’s window, no matter how much he enjoys it because he’s at risk of road debris and accidents.
  6. Stop every two hours to stretch, give them water and bathroom breaks. Travel with lots of extra plastic bags as you will be expected to do bathroom clean-up duty.
  7. Have the pet restrained on a leash or harness before opening the vehicle’s door. AAA warns that even the most obedient pet can become disoriented, and spook easily, while traveling. They can run off, leaving them at risk for getting lost, or worse, injured.
  8.  If a pet is not accustomed to traveling, or if it’s a cat, consider using a harness, not a collar.

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) offers some additional tips for car trips with pets. They include:

  1. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier, – wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided – large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And have your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
  2. Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives, and gradually increase the amount of time spent in the car.
  3. Always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop. Each year thousands of animals are injured, die or become needlessly lost in car accidents.)In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, bring toys or a favorite pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
  4. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat – never choke – collars.)If you are traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings.
  5. When it comes to water, bring bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an open area could result in the pet getting sick.
  6. If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.

Have you ever gone on vacation with your pet. Turns out it’s increasingly common that people are taking kitty along for vacation, rather than leaving her behind.  Please share some of your travel stories.

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BJ

BJ Bangs is an established journalist, photographer, and an aspiring author. She loves everything about cats, including writing about them.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for another great article! We are just getting started with plans to travel with 3 cats. I hope to journal the journey and will be happy to let you know when it is started.

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