Summer is here and for many of us, it’s vacation time! More and more pet owners are choosing to include their pets on their family vacation. As we all know, family vacations can be stressful undertakings, but adding your fur-babies to the mix has the potential to create complete chaos. So, if you’re planning on hitting the road with your pet, here are a few tips to help you to keep your pet safe and your vacation as stress free as possible:
- Keep your pet secured
Keep everyone safe by using some type of restraining system for your pet. This may involve a pet carrier/crate, a pet seatbelt restraining system or bedding restraint. According to AAA, 30,000 accidents a year are caused by unrestrained pets wandering in the vehicle. Securing your pet creates less distraction for the driver. For their safety and because it is the law in many states, it is also best to keep your pet secured somewhere other than the front seat as this will keep them safe from air bag harm in the event of an accident.
- Don’t leave your pet in the car
Your pet should never be left in a car, especially in the warm summer months, when it can be life-threatening. For example, an 85 degree outside temperature can climb to 110 degrees inside a car within 10 minutes, causing organ damage and/or death to any pets trapped inside. It is now illegal in many states to leave a pet unattended in a car, and it is now legal in many states for bystanders to break windows/doors in an attempt to release animals trapped in a hot car.
- Make frequent stops
Allow for frequent stops when traveling with your pet. Plan to stop every two to three hours for a bathroom break, meal time, and to get some exercise. Always have your pet’s collar, tags and leash so that he/she can’t wander off, and remember that your pet is not familiar with the area and shouldn’t be left unattended.
- Don’t allow your pet to hang out the window
If you choose to travel without securing your pet (a practice we highly discourage), don’t let he/she hang out the window. As much as dogs love the cool breeze blowing on their face, it is not a safe way to travel because it puts them at risk for injury from debris, ear damage, and/or lung infection. In addition to the risks that come from hanging out the window, pets should never travel in the back of a pickup truck because this practice could lead to overheating or ejection from the truck. All of #4 can be avoided by following Tip #1 above and securing your pet for everyone’s safety!
Be sure to bring plenty of cold water with you to keep your pet hydrated. Don’t count on using tap water from places you stop, because your pet could end up with a bacterial infection. The ASCPA recommends bringing a gallon of water with you, and depending on the length of your trip, you may need to adjust that amount accordingly.
- Test run
If your pet is not used to being in the car, take short rides with he/she regularly before your trip. This will allow he/she to become familiar with the motion and hopefully lessen the chance of nausea.
Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful. If you plan ahead and follow the tips above, car travel can be a breeze. Once you arrive at your destination, take your pet on a long, well-deserved walk and enjoy your vacation. And last but not least…always remember to have your car serviced/checked before embarking on a long road trip. Click here to schedule any needed service at Ticher.