With the onset of spring comes the urge to travel and spend some time in the great outdoors. For pet-parents, the opportunity to take trips with their animals is especially appealing -- but do you have everything you need to keep your pet happy and safe along the way?
Many animals actually enjoy car trips, but others don't always react well to the sudden change of environment. Before you plan any vacation with your animal, it's best to know how they react to riding in the car. Take them on a few short car trips around the block or to a local park beforehand, so you'll have an idea of how they might react on a longer ride. When you do back up for the big trip, be sure to take care to pack for your pet -- they can't do it themselves!
The most important thing to consider when taking a car trip with your animal is the vehicle itself. How pet-friendly is your car? Just like a pickup truck is better for hauling a trailer than a sports car, some cars are better suited for travel with animals than others. A great option, especially if you travel frequently, is the Subaru Forester. The vehicle comes with options for pet-barriers, designed to keep both you and your animal safe. Your pet might seek the comfort of your lap while driving -- and that is never safe!
A factory-installed pet barrier will ensure that your dog or car remains in the rear of the vehicle rather than distracting the driver. The spacious interiors with foldable seats will also give you the opportunity to create the ideal travel space for your pet, complete with a bed, toys and water dispenser. Having a separate area for animals in your vehicle will also help keep the human-seats clean and scratch-free. If you're planning a spring camping or hiking trip, a pet-friendly SUV like the Forester is a great choice.
A trip is a great way to show your animal you care. But remember, taking a trip with your pet requires advance planning, so make sure you have the right car, the right accessories and of course, an animal-friendly destination.
Here are a few more important tips for keeping your pet safe in the car:
- Keep your pet contained in the car. You'll want to make sure their crate or carrier has ample ventilation and is large enough for them to move around in comfortably.
- It's a good idea to let your pet spend some time in their crate while it's still at home, where they'll feel more comfortable.
- NEVER let your pet sit in your lap while you're driving!
- Whenever you take your pet away from your home, make sure they are wearing a secure collar with a proper identification tag containing their name, your name and your home address and phone number.
- Bring plenty of bottled water or water from home, as drinking water from an unfamiliar location could result in an upset stomach.
- Don't forget to pack travel papers, food and treats, an extra collar and leash, plastic bags and a first-aid kit whenever you're planning to travel with your pet.
- Bringing a special toy or blanket from home is a good way to keep them feeling calm and comfortable.
- Cover your seats and floors with plastic or rubber covers to prevent stains from any accidents your pet might have.
- If your dog is too large to stay in a crate for the entire drive, consider investing in a specially-designed pet harness.
- Regardless of the weather, never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Both cold weather and hot weather can be seriously harmful to your animal.
- If you're traveling from state to state, you might be asked to present proof of your pet's rabies vaccination, so bring it along just in case.