Top 10 Fall Pet Travel Tips
For many, Fall is a favorite time of year. It’s when the kids go back to school, the sweaters come out of the closet, and a warm glow re-emerges in the fireplace on cool evenings. It’s also an exciting time for your best furry friends as they go jumping in piles of leaves, enjoy longer walks in the colder temperatures, and take naps in the lazy Autumn afternoons before the kids get home from school and the chaos of homework, dinner and bedtime ensues. But, Fall is also a time of special holidays, like Halloween and Thanksgiving, when families like to travel to be closer to relatives or to just get away for a weekend of hiking to enjoy the Fall colors.
Your furry family member would love to join you in all of these exciting activities, but traveling with a pet can be challenging if you don’t know the best ways to do it.
Here are the top 10 fall pet travel tips:
- Identification. There is no worse feeling in the world than knowing that your pet is out there somewhere, lost without you. That’s why your pet should always have an identification tag on his collar and a microchip with your information on it. So, if for some reason you and your furry friend are ever separated, anyone who finds your pet will be able to easily contact you and reunite you two as soon as possible.
- Training. Most trips are planned well in advance, at least several weeks prior. That gives pet parents plenty of time to train their pet for anything they should anticipate. For example, if you want to take your dog on a long road trip, start taking your pup on short car rides to the drive thru or to the park. Then make the trips longer and longer, until you are sure that your pet can handle any length of time in the car. This will help your pet associate the car with a positive experience, and diminish any anxiety or fear. The same goes for cats and any other animals that might need to be transported in a carrier. Bring it out sooner rather than later, and give it a positive association by offering food and water in the carrier, and even treats and toys. That way, when it’s time to go inside, you won’t have to fight your furry friend to go in, they’ll be happy to do it all on their own.
- Security. While most modes of transportation are considered relatively safe, the best way to ensure your pet’s safety is to secure them for the duration of the trip. Whether it’s a carrier, a harness, a booster seat, or a seat belt, make sure that your furry friend is tucked in or buckled in, just like you would any person. And of course, don’t forget the leashes, collars, harnesses, and anything else you may need to safely take your pet outside without worrying about him escaping or running away.
- Research. It’s always important to know as much as you can about where you’re going, where you might be stopping and what to expect while you’re there. Research everything from the mode of transportation, to the best way of securing your pet, to how to keep your pet safe and ensure your furry friend’s well being once you are there. If your trip involves stops along the way, plan ahead by knowing where the rest stops are, which motels on your route allow pets, and if there are any checkpoints you need to be aware of. Being prepared is always important, but when traveling with your pet, it’s vital to ensure a safe and happy experience for all.
- Anxiety. Some pet parents consider calming options for their pet when going for long trips, especially on an airplane. While this may work for some furry friends, be sure to check with your veterinarian on dosing, possible reactions and any safety precautions before giving your pet any new medications.
- First Aid. Just like humans, pets can get hurt or injured, so it’s always important to be prepared with a pet first aid kit that should include things like gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, cotton balls or swabs, ice pack, blanket, a rectal thermometer, non-latex disposable gloves, and any other supplies or medications your pet might need in case of an injury or allergic reaction. Also, be sure that your pet is up to date on all shots, and any monthly medications, like heartworm and flea/tick medicine.
- Food and Water. Depending on your mode of transportation and final destination, it may be a while before you reach a place with safe drinking water and food for you pet. Always take plenty of your furry baby’s food with you along with several bottles of clean drinking water. Without proper nutrition and hydration, your pet may become lethargic, sick, and dehydrated, so it’s always best to be prepared.
- Toys. Bringing along a few of your pet’s favorite toys is also a great way to keep him occupied and calm for extended periods of time. Depending on the type of pet your have, you might consider bringing a tennis ball for short bursts of exercise, a chew toy to keep him busy in the car or the crate, and even their favorite stuffed animal to cuddle up with for a nice nap. Toys are your fur babies familiar things that will provide activity and comfort while experiencing new places and things.
- Vigilance. Traveling can be exhausting, especially when you have pets and kids in tow. Still, never let your guard down. Don’t be too lazy to put your cat back in the crate instead of letting it roam loose in the car, as it can eventually end up in your feet while you’re driving. And if you’re driving with your dog, and want to open the windows, be sure your pup is securely fastened or in a crate to ensure that he doesn’t bolt out the window to chase a squirrel or an interesting scent. Even if the window is only half open, most dogs can squeeze through openings that many would not think twice about. A good rule of thumb is that if your fur baby can stick his head out, he can get his body out too.
- Have Fun. After all that’s said and done, and everything on your list is checked off, don’t forget to have fun! Isn’t that what trips are all about? Visit a local park, go for a hike, check out a nearby lake, or just explore your new neighborhood. You’re on vacation with your best furry friend, so make the most of it, take lots of pictures and post them on all your social media sites to make your friends and family jealous.
Traveling with your pet can be a fun and wonderful bonding experience as long as it’s done safely for both you and your fur baby. In addition to the above guidelines, make sure to brainstorm and prepare anything else that you think you might need for a safe and successful journey with your pet. After all, no one knows your best furry friend better than you do.