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Traveling Safely With Pets

People travel with their pets all the time. Some animals are small enough or self-sufficient enough that they can ride in a crate or protective case with little to no attention. Depending on the distance, they may require food and water but otherwise, they remain safe and healthy. Other animals, like dogs, require more attention and more planning.

Regardless of what type of pet you have or whether you’ve traveled together before, keep these safety tips in mind.

Secure your pet

Your pet should ride in a seat or crate. Do not allow your animal to ride in the back of an open pickup truck. If you have to swerve or stop abruptly, your pet will be totally unsecure.

Keep your car well-ventilated

If you’re traveling by personal vehicle, do your best to keep it well-ventilated. 

Circulating air within the vehicle helps your pet maintain their normal body temperature and reduces the likelihood of them becoming carsick. If you already know your pet gets motion sickness, ask your vet to prescribe a medication. Giving your pet human medication for motion sickness is not a good idea.

Of course, you’ll have to be careful not to let your pet stick its head out the window. Getting struck in the face by a bug or debris moving at 65 mph is as unpleasant for your pet as it would be for you.

Make frequent stops

Consider more frequent stops along the way so your pet can get some fresh air, move around (on a leash) and take care of bathroom needs. If your pet is not accustomed to traveling, you may need to stop more frequently as nerves will affect their body systems. 

Never leave your pet unattended 

Just as you would never leave a baby or young child unattended in a car, do not leave your pet alone in a car. Even on moderately warm days, the inside of a vehicle can heat quickly. Most animals do not sweat and cannot rid themselves of excess internal body heat.

Even if you aren’t in a car, keep your pet in your sight at all times. In unfamiliar environments, animals can become restless, fearful and a nuisance to other travelers.

Research protocols when using public transportation

If you are taking your pet on public transportation, research any pet protocols ahead of time. Public transportation places added stress on animals. Consider other passengers, limited relief stations and cramped quarters. To make traveling easier on you and your pet, pack extra food, vaccination records and medications (if needed). You may love having your pet with you, but think about what they must endure for that to happen.

Traveling with pets can be fun, but take precautions and plan to ensure you and your pet stay safe.