YOUR PET’S BEST FRIEND – CHRISTINE MALLAR
– Tis’ the season for fun road trips, but there are a few things you should consider before you go. Here’s a list of pointers for things to think about before you hit the road with your dog (or cat!)
Planning your trip:
- Is your pet used to riding in the car? If not, take time to acclimate them to the car before you go. If they’re nervous about it, keep trips short and positive (use good treats to make the experience rewarding, and go to fun places, driving to the neighborhood park or pet supply store instead of walking there, etc). If you think the pet might still be nervous in the car there are some great calming chews out there (check out Ark Naturals Happy Traveler for cats and dogs (http://www.arknaturals.com/p/136/happy-traveler-bite-size-soft-chews) and Dale Edgar Calming treats for dogs(http://daleedgarbrand.com/index.php/catalog/product/calm_k9 ) The Thundershirt is another great product for dogs that are nervous or anxious or have trouble with separation anxiety (http://www.thundershirt.com/) Look for pet friendly accommodations ahead of time as well as local dog parks and other fun pet friendly activities by exploring these two great links:
Things to bring:
- Leash, collar, current ID tag with your cell phone instead of your home phone, and a current photo of your pet you can use if the pet is lost. Consider getting a microchip before you go.
- A trip is a very bad time to switch foods – make sure to bring a good supply of your pet’s current food in watertight containers.
- Bring a supply of water and travel bowls. Ice cubes are also great way to give a quick “drink” for your dog while in the car
- Make sure your pet has a secure place in the car to prevent loss and injury in an accident (see the link http://retireusa.net/blog/canine-car-harness/for more info)
- Make sure you’re ready for medical issues. Research where there might be vet clinics or emergency clinics at key points along your route. Bring any medical records that might be required (vaccination records, prescriptions). Pack a first aid kit.
- Think of things that will make a pet comfortable as they travel. Acclimate pets to crates ahead of time (this can be their secure home away from home in a hotel and protect the hotel from damage as well). Bring their own bed and favorite toys and chews, and try to keep some semblance of routine if you can (for example, if they always eat at 8am, then try to feed them at 8am while you travel too). If you’re traveling with a cat, bring their favorite litter (a disposable aluminum roasting pan from the grocery store can be a great recyclable litter pan option on the road)
- Bring poop bags to clean up along the way, and stain & odor spray in case there’s an accident in the hotel (if there is damage, be a good guest and offer to pay for it)
- Feliway for cats and Comfort Zone for dogs can be a great help keeping pets relaxed in new surroundings- (http://www.petcomfortzone.com/) A few final thoughts:
- if you’re going somewhere that will be hot, never ever leave pets in the car, as even if the windows are cracked the temperature can skyrocket quickly. There’s also a chance pets could be stolen if left alone in a car. For walking and playing in the heat, check out the Swamp Cooler jacket for dogs – http://www.ruffwear.com/Swamp-Cooler-Dog-Cooling-Vest-Sun-Protection-Prevents-Canine-Heat-Exhaustion-from-Ruff-Wear
Stay safe and have a good time vacationing with your pet!