On The Road Again

We're getting ready for a road trip in a few weeks we're taking Bailey and Sadie with us. This is Sadie getting a practice run in!

Why spend money on boarding or pet sitters when you can take your pets with you? Sound like a hassle? It doesn't have to be if you truly want some bonding time with your four-legged companions.

1. Find pet-friendly places to stay. There are lots of hotels and campgrounds that take pets, but find out all of their rules and regulations ahead of time. Some only allow one dog, and others won't let you leave them there unattended. Know what you're getting into before you're actually checking in.

2. Take a few rides beforehand. Some pets will not travel distances very well, and cats especially don't handle being confined for hours. Practice getting them in and out of the car and take progressively longer rides until it's old hat.

3. Make sure you have ID tags and vet info in the car with you. You'll want all the important records handy not just for an emergency, but in case your pet is lost in transit. Microchipping is especially vital if you're traveling a long distance.

4. Prepare the car for animals. Our leather seats would be ruined without some blankets across the back seat. If there is extra stuff in the car, take it out for the duration of the trip so they'll have plenty of room to move and don't decide to chew on things.

5. Schedule a vet visit. You may need to renew medications or get some advice on traveling with a pet that has certain health conditions. You'll also want them updated on all their shots before you hit the road. Keep those papers handy in case you need them.

6. Pack for them the way you'd pack for yourself. Bring all of their medications, grooming tools and a couple of favorite toys. Have them handy in the car for when you stop along the way.

7. Pack a large container of fresh tap water. You'll also want collapsible bowls. The last thing you'll feel like doing is buying more water and dishes every time you stop for exercise. Plus you'll want towels so they don't bring half a bowl of water back on their muzzle. Yes, we have leather seats...

8. Walk your pet right before you head out. The more tired they are the less anxiety and energy they'll have in the back seat. Plus if they do their business at home, you can get a couple of hours of driving in before you have to stop.

9. Plan to stop at least every two hours. You'd hate to be penned up in a tiny vehicle all day with no way to ask to stop. Make the decision for your pet, and make it often. They'll get some exercise, some water and a chance to relieve themselves. Then you'll all feel better.

10. Keep pets on a leash any time you're outside the vehicle. This is probably the most important thought - any pet, no matter how well trained, can get over-excited by new smells and sounds. There would be nothing worse than being away from home and either losing your pet or having them hit by a car. It might seem easier to let them run free for a while, but the risks just aren't worth it.

So be safe, be prepared and have a great trip!


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