For some pet parents, a trip’s no fun if the four-legged members of the family can’t come. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your animal companions. With thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
Planning a road trip? Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off-especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Here are a few pet travel safety tips before you hit the road.
Pet Travel Safety Tips
From trips to the veterinarian’s office to day trips to a pet-friendly park, more and more pet owners are transporting their dogs—and other pets—in their vehicles. Because of this, it’s extremely important that pet owners to take extra precautions to ensure their pets remain safe while on the road.
Safe & Secure
Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And P.S., it’s smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
Keep Heads, Arms, & Legs Inside the Car
Many dogs love to put their head out of the window or ride in the back of a truck. But if it isn’t safe for children, then it isn’t safe for a pet. Not only are there risks of being hit by other traffic or roadside objects, dogs can also get debris in their eyes and lungs leading to illness. Some dogs have been known to jump out of car windows while driving or stopped, running into traffic or getting lost.
Keep Pets Out of the Front Seat
Increasingly, accidents are being caused by distracted driving. 30% of people admit to being distracted by their dog while driving.
Pets should not be in the front seat of the car while driving and never positioned on your lap. Dogs should be in the back seat or the cargo area. If you have a hard time keeping your dogs in the back seat, there are a number of products that can contain them. Backseat Barriers that fit between the two front seats are effective at keeping pets in the backseat. Innovative products, such as the Auto Grass, sit on a car console and deter Fido from taking a step forward and into the front seat.
Bring Familiar Food
Pets are exposed to enough changes while traveling. Their eating habits shouldn’t be one of them. Why? Diarrhea + long car rides = major unpleasantness. Take food and treats along in case stores at your destination do not carry the same varieties your pet is accustomed to. And don’t forget to frequently offer your pet fresh water.
Never Leave Your Dog Alone
Hopefully, it goes without saying that dogs should never be left alone in a car regardless of the weather. The obvious danger is heat, even in moderate temperatures. On an 85-degree day, within 10 minutes the car inside temperature can rise to 120, even with the windows cracked open. The other danger is that your pet may attract thieves.
Implant a Microchip
In the case of a lost pet, this greatly increases the chance you’ll be reunited. A microchip, a glass cylinder about the size of a grain of rice that’s inserted under your pet’s skin, holds a unique number that is associated with pet-owner information maintained in a national database. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics scan the chip to retrieve the pet’s number. They then access the pet’s number in the database to discover its owners.
Airline Pet Travel Safety Tips
- Airlines typically require a health certificate be issued 7-10 days prior to travel by your veterinarian. This is an essential document and may be reviewed during different check points – keep it with you at all times.
- Choosing a direct flight over multiple stops will help reduce travel related stress for both of you.
- Certain breed types (bracheocephalic) are restricted from flying for health reasons. Check with your airline for details.
- Arrive early – pets must be checked in at the airline counter – allow extra time especially during peak travel times.
- Do not feed your pet for at least four hours prior to boarding your flight. This will help reduce airsickness.
- Do not tranquilize your pet for air travel – tranquilzers can lead to in-flight emergencies. If your pet is a nervous traveler – try high activity exercise within two hours of heading to the airport.
While we prefer that you stay with your pet during travel – If your pet must travel as cargo –
- Thoroughly research the airline and the care your pet will receive during travel. There are no standards for pet travel service providers (or their contractors) so the quality of care is subjective and inconsistent. Do your homework!
- Ensure your pet is microchipped, has collar and tags, and the carrier is appropriately and heavily marked “Live Animal” and include your contact information, including cell phone. The destination location should also be included in labeling. If you have a secondary family member who can act as your backup in the case of an emergency – provide that information to the airline and include it on the travel crate as well.
- Ensure you have a direct point of contact from the airline who can assist you with and pet related problems upon landing.
- Upon inspection if you are the least bit concerned about the condition of your pet – obtain immediate veterinary care – and retain all paperwork and medical records.
If your pet can accompany you on the plane –
- Ensure the carrier you select meets the criteria for the airline in advance of getting to the airport. Check with your Airline for details on size restrictions and travel conditions for in-flight pets.
- If your pet is not accustomed to travel – acclimate him to his new carrier prior to heading to the airport. It will make the trip much easier for both of you!
- Always pack your carrier with extra potty pads, pick up bags extra collar and leash. Small plastic food/water bowls are also helpful (especially if they have lids).
K9 Convenience |Professional Pet Sitting Service in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe and Surrounding Areas
Our clients include families juggling pet ownership with personal commitments, families that prefer to keep their pet in the comfort of their home while traveling, and new pet owners who need assistance with housebreaking training. Complete our Service Assessment to determine if you could benefit from our services.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a K9 Convenience Care Director.