(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
When summer comes around, a common favorite tradition is jumping in the car and hitting the open road for a vacation, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a longer excursion. For pet parents, that exhilarating idea isn’t always so simple.
Instead of being forced to leave your furry friend behind, follow these tips and suggestions to bring your four-legged companion along for the ride.
Get checked out. Before loading up the car, consider a check-up with a veterinarian to ensure that your pet is physically capable of handling a road trip. Long hours in the car can be taxing on older pets that may not be used to the stress of travel.
Prepare your pet. Once you’ve made sure your pet is ready to hit the road, start out with short drives to make sure he or she is comfortable in the car. Take a trip around the neighborhood or about town to check his or her reaction and attitude.
Plan accordingly. Since not all hotels and accommodations are pet-friendly, be sure to double-check that your reservations allow furry guests. Additionally, make sure that all of your planned activities and adventures can safely involve your pet.
Pack necessary supplies. While you’ll likely be concerned with packing the right clothes, shoes and accessories, your four-legged companion has needs as well. Make sure to bring along proper food, water and respective bowls; toys for down time; treats for good behavior and any other necessities to help your pet feel at home.
Travel safely. Even pets that have spent ample time traveling in the past can feel more comfortable in the car while inside a cozy carrier. It can be a good idea to bring along a breathable carrier with plenty of space to help serve as a calming presence in case travel time starts to take its toll.
Take proper ID. It’s important to always have your pet’s ID on its collar, but it can be even more important while out of town when your pet is in an unfamiliar area.
Plan for play. You’re sure to have plenty of activities planned during vacation, but keep in mind that your pet will need some time to stretch his or her legs, too. Prior to taking off, look for parks or other pet-friendly areas on your route to incorporate some playtime.
Stay inside the vehicle. The iconic image of a pet-friendly road trip is a dog with his head out the window and the wind in his face – however, it’s not a safe way to travel. Make sure your pet is safely inside the vehicle at all times.
Make frequent stops. Even if you can “hold it” for lengthy periods, your pet will likely require more frequent bathroom breaks while on the road. Mapping out pet-accessible stops can help you keep your pet comfortable while still making good time.
Don’t leave your pet. It’s never smart to leave pets or children in locked cars, and it’s an even bigger no-no if you’re in an unfamiliar place. Your pet is likely to be on high-alert anyway due to the stress of traveling, so keep him or her by your side throughout the trip.
With these steps, you can hit the road for some summer fun without having to leave your pet behind. Find more pet care tips at eLivingToday.com.
— Family Features
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)