When you travel with a pet, there are some things you need to do before hand and some things you need to take along. Whether it’s a simple weekend trip or a longer vacation you need to prepare and take along things for Fido or Fluffy.
There are some do’s and don’ts in pet travel and some of them start way before you go on that trip. For one simple thing, you should have a place for your pet to call home for themselves. A pet kennel is a great way to have a secure place for your pet to feel like they are at home no matter whose roof they are under.
My dogs have always had a kennel, I don’t know how it started but when we got our first dog, we got her a kennel. We had one from my parents soon after that and got our second dog. They were a little big to share but they did anyway. When you told them top go to bed, they would scoot into their kennel and turn and watch.
The kennel was the kind that airlines used for transporting pets on airplanes. My dad had gotten one when we went to Florida and kept it ever since. When we were visiting, we took it and used it for our dogs. Now we have two different dogs, and two new kennels for them. When the other dogs passed away we got rid of the large kennel, it was beat up and old.
We now had a chance to start over with new pets and we got kennels for them when we did get new dogs. A kennel makes the animals feel secure whenever they are in it. It is a place they can feel at home in even when your on a trip. My dogs sleep in their kennel at night and when we go out. They do not get into trouble, we don’t have to worry about them getting into things and they are less likely to have an accident.
Now when we go on a trip, whether it’s for the day or a week or two for vacation, we can have them in a safe and secure place whether they stay home or go with. We have gone for the day without the dogs. When we leave them home and go out, we first go through a little routine to get them to do what we want.
Animals are smart and whether you are going out on a trip or just for a day outing, they will figure it out. So you have to fake them out some to help them get ready. When you get up in the morning and are leaving soon after, don’t let them know until after they have had a good long time outside. Take the dogs out if you are going with or without them. For cats it’s a little different. I’ll get into that in a minute.
For the dogs, you want them to do all their business in the morning first before you start rushing around and packing up. Ideally you would get most of the packing done the night before but this is not always possible. But you should take them out and leave them outside if you can. Then start to pack, when they see you loading up the car, they will know a trip is coming and loose all interest in other things.
Before we start we try to have our boys take the dogs for a quick walk around the block, this gets out some of the energy that is building from watching you pack, and they will get a little exercise to start off the trip.
When we are ready to go, we get their seat belts on. We have this harness thing that goes on the dog and then hooks up to our seat belts in the car. It uses the lap belt portion to keep the dog from bouncing around the car in case of sudden stops.
Now you have to get going with them, and all their stuff. You should take some things like their kennel, and a rug for the inside of it. Our kennels are the kind that collapse and we got them both at Walmart, I think the bigger one was fifty dollars and the smaller one was thirty. I could be wrong on the prices but you should invest in a kennel that the dog or cat can call home.
We also take along a plastic tub that is for their supplies. A cheap one from Walmart will work just fine. We have a larger one because we have two dogs but you can get one the right size for your stuff after you figure out how much they have to take with. We take along a coffee can, the plastic kind, with dog food.
We have a plastic dog food bowl and another for water. We also put in a couple of bottles of cold water so they can get a drink when we stop for our breaks. They have the bottled water, it’s just tap, we aren’t that rich, so they can get a drink and we don’t have to trudge to the bathrooms with a bottle or their bowl. We just open it and fill their plastic bowl.
They also have their tie out, or stake. We have the kind you screw into the ground and two steel cables that attach to the stake, one for each dog. You also want to have their leashes. When we go we have an extra leash in the bin, so if one breaks or we loose one we have another.
We keep a first aid kit in the bin for the dogs. You can make one that is quite similar to a humans. Just a few things different. Some pet stores even have ready made kits for you, they cost a variety of prices but you should have one just like the one you have for the people in your car.
We have some extra collars for our dogs, so whenever we need one of their collars for training our kids know where they are. We have three types of collars for them, their regular one with a buckle, then two training ones, one with the chain called a choke collar and a pronged collar.
The choke collar and the pronged collar are not used to nor do they hurt the dog. The are used correctly and with the trainers that are teaching my kids to train their dogs. The trainers recommend these types of collars and they are being used correctly.
We keep all the dogs stuff together so that it is easy to find and we don’t loose things. The collars are all in these kits. We have two tackle box kits with small separate compartments that have the collars and the other box is full of first aid stuff.
We have some cotton swabs, saline solution, cotton balls, and antiseptic pads to use for cleaning out wounds. Then we have a variety of pads, gauze and tape plus some butterfly bandages for wounds. We also have a small bottle of liquid bandage. There is some antibiotic and some breath freshener plus some tweezers and scissors. A basic first aid kit almost like the one for people we keep in our car.
You should also carry things like plastic bags and cheap rubber gloves for cleaning up accidents or the regular business when your dog is on the road. A small plastic shovel is great for picking up the messier dog poops. You can just stick it into a bag and clean it off later.
We have all our dog supplies in our box. The things that we have for them and only them, like nail clippers, combs and brushes, dog tooth paste, and even dog wipes. The wipes are great for a quick cool down when they are on the road. We keep it all in the bin for them for a convenient and handy place to find anything that is for them.
For a cat some of this will be different. A cat wants to have his potty with, so you might as well accommodate him, or he’ll use your back seat. There are covered travel litter boxes that work very well. Or you can just keep the cat in the pet carrier or kennel until you get to your destination. This is a better idea with cats.
Before you get ready to leave with a cat, change his litter box, whether you are taking kitty with or not. When your done, he’ll likely want to use it. Cats do this quite often, at least the ones I have had. So when you want them to go, you can make them sort of. Just change the litter box and they will mark it.
When you get to your destination with the cat, have a litter box ready before you let the cat out. This will prevent the cat from marking his territory, or at least it will help.
Cats and dogs like to play and have fun, too. So bring along their favorite toys or maybe some new ones. And some new bones or chew toys that they can keep busy with for the trip. For a dog, a big bone that is basted is a great choice, it should keep Fido busy at least for awhile.
Cats have things like catnip filled toys that will entertain them. Or you can get some other things at the store that you know will keep them happy for some time.
Before you leave, don’t feed the animals near as much as you would normally. Half or even less would be better. That way they will not get an upset tummy on the trip and cause one of those unfortunate stops along the way. And speaking of which, that’s where the plastic bags also come in handy.
You can feed them while your driving or at stops during your driving ,if you are going to be driving quite far during the trip, but keep it down to a little bit at a time. This will prevent an upset stomach. And give them plenty of water whenever you stop for a break yourself.
When you get to your destination, whether it’s a dog or cat, let them explore some. They will want to smell all the new smells and search around. Let them have fun and enjoy their vacation too.
If they are prone to getting car sick, there are pills that you can give them to prevent this. You can ask a vet about one that they would recommend.
One thing about traveling with your pet that I must mention before I end this article. Do not leave your pet in a vehicle alone if it is warm out. If it gets hot you cannot do this, but even when the temperature gets above sixty, your car can get even hotter inside. You should take your pet out and someone should stay with them when you have to go into a store. Do not take the risk of injury or death to your pet by leaving them in a car that might get hot inside.
Taking along your pet can be more work and some preparation is in order. But it can also be fun to have them along and you can have a great time as a whole family.