Spring will be here soon, and there’s nothing like the feel of wind in your fur. Now’s the time to start planning a pet friendly road trip, and we’ve got the tips you’ll need to make preparing a breeze. Laying out the course and locating accommodations and activities are easy if you’re using a pet friendly road trip planner, but there are some additional things you’ll want to think about before you take off!
Get the Vehicle Ready
This goes beyond checking the oil and tires … you’ll need to do a little “pet prep.” Be sure you have a way of securing your pet while you are on the road. Crates, carriers, or car harnesses will keep your pet from making an unannounced visit to check the view from the driver’s seat, and will keep Fluffy from crawling under the brake pedal! Restraints will also protect them from injury in case of an accident. Also, remember to deactivate the airbag for any seat your pet will be occupying.
Check With The Vet
Check in with your vet to confirm all vaccinations are up to date, and to discuss any concerns about flea, tick or heart worm risks where you will be traveling. It is also a great idea to discuss possible remedies for car sickness, diarrhea and restlessness – just in case!
Finally, consider having your pet micro-chipped and keep your contact information up to date with the monitoring company that registers the chip. It would be a nightmare, but pets can get lost away from home. Shelters, animal hospitals, veterinary clinics, and humane societies have scanners that read the chips and could contact you when your pet’s found.
Packing For Pets
Pets need a lot of stuff when they are on vacation! Here is a list of things to bring:
- Food and Treats – if you are not certain that you can pick up the brand you feed your pet along the way, pack enough for the whole trip plus a little extra. For canned food – don’t forget the can opener!
- Drinking Water – if your pet’s stomach is easily upset, it pays to take drinking water from home with you.
- Food and Water Bowls – portable bowls pack easily and are great when you are out & about, and anti-spill water bowls are fantastic in the car (or RV).
- Proof of vaccinations and your pet’s health records – you’ll need these at some of the dog parks and campgrounds. Also, if you want to use a pet sitter, day care, or kennel services while you are traveling they will need these documents. Don’t forget to take your vet’s telephone number, and the telephone number for the National Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.
- Current Identification Tags – Of course you’ll want to include your cell phone number, or other phone number where you can be reached while you are away on your pets tags.
- Photos of your pet – in case your pet gets separated from you, a current photo can make it easy to create posters quickly, and can be used to prove the pet belongs to you.
- A couple of rolls of paper towels and some carpet cleaner – for muddy paws and other messes.
- An old towel – in case of rain, or after swimming.
- Your pet’s bed and a couple of toys – to make them more comfortable when you spend the night in unfamiliar locations.
- All their medications, vitamins, supplements, etc.
- Plastic bags to pick up after them along the way.
- First aid kit.
- Pet insect repellent and sunscreen.
- Leash – Many places require your pet be on a leash no longer than six feet. You may also want to consider a long leash (15-20 feet) if you plan to hike with your dog or let them run in an unfenced area.
- Your camera – you’ll want to capture these memories to share with us on the GoPetFriendly.com Facebook page and with your family and friends!
Keeping A Schedule
If your pets are like Ty and Buster, they’ll remind you when it’s feeding time, and maintaining your pet’s routine as much as possible during your trip will reduce any anxiety they may feel about being away from home. Make sure to allow for breaks along the way to let your pet stretch, run, or burn off some energy – isn’t this what being on vacation is all about, after all?
Taking Time for a Hike
Verify Pet Policies
Confirming your reservations and a reminder that you are traveling with your pet can help avoid unpleasant surprises. Ask about any restrictions that the hotel or campground may have regarding pets, including whether you are allowed to leave your pet unattended in your room. If you will be leaving your pet alone, consider bringing their crate or carrier, leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, and give your cell phone number to the staff at the front desk so you can be reached if needed.
Put Your Best Paw Forward
Make a great impression by training your pet in good manners, following rules regarding pets and local leash laws, and disposing of pet waste appropriately.