Bringing your pets in the car

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – If you’re planing to take your dog or cat with you on your roadtrips this summer, there are some important safety tips you need to consider before you hit the road.Jim Helems from Jim Helms Dog Pals in Southampton gave us tips.

Safety Tips for Long Distance Road Travel with Pets

Before you go:

  • 1. Bring your traveling pet(s) to the vet before the trip. Explain where you’re going and see if your pet may need some additional vaccines, based on the environments to which you’ll be exposing them.
  • 2. Be sure you’ve got portable dishes for food and water for your pets.
  • 3. If you’re traveling with a cat for a long distance, be sure to select a large carrier (usually a dog carrier size) that is well-ventilated and will have enough room for her to move around in, contain a litter box and food and water dishes. When you are on the road, drape a blanket or towel around the top and sides of the carrier, because the less your cat sees, the less anxious she’ll be. Keep the front gate of the carrier undraped so she can see you, however.
  • 4. Set the carrier out in your house a few days before you travel so your cat can get used to it. If you can, take a few short car rides with your kitty in the days before your trip so she will be more familiar with what’s going on.
  • 5. Map out your route in advance for emergency vet locations. Pack your pet’s tags and medical and vaccination records. Some states require rabies records for animals crossing the state line (and if you’re flying, you’ll need these records).
  • 6. Plan to stay at hotels that are pet-friendly. If you’re traveling with a cat, be sure the hotel accepts cats…some may define “pet-friendly” as accepting dogs only.
  • 7. Bottle water for your pets from your own tap. This may prevent your pet’s stomach from getting upset due to unfamiliar drinking water.
  • 8. If you’re traveling for an event (ex: wedding) make arrangements before you leave for dog care for while you’re at the event. Don’t leave your dog unattended in a strange place.

On the Road:

  • 1. As always, do not leave your pets in a parked car in warm (or cold) weather.
  • 2. Feed your pets 3-4 hours before the trip to let their stomachs settle.
  • 3. Plan to take a 15-30 minute break every 4 hours.
  • 4. Windows up or down? If you’ve got a dog, let him enjoy the windows being opened up a little bit (keep the window high enough so your dog can’t jump out, especially a smaller dog). If you’re traveling with a cat, it’s best not to have the windows down. The rushing air and noise will upset your cat, who may not be a happy traveler in the first place. Put on the A.C. for kitty travel!
  • 5. If you’ve got a cat, be sure to keep her in her carrier, unless leashed, until you reach where you are going. Don’t let her roam within the car. And put a blanket (or shirt, or whatever) that smells like home inside the carrier. This will provide comfort.
  • 6. Place your cat’s carrier in the car where it can be secured with a seatbelt or some other safety strap, and – ideally – where your cat can see you.
  • 7. Feed your pets at the times they would normally eat. Try to keep their routine as close to normal as possible.


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