Now may not be the right time for it, what with the spread of an infectious disease, but imagine going on for miles and miles with your four-legged buddy in your car, taking in beautiful scenery together. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But it does not have to stay as one. When this is over, for sure, a lot of pet parents will take their dogs or cats or whatever pet they have on a long drive.
The numbers prove it. National pet surveys have it that more than 70 percent of people take their pets on a road trip. With this very high number, it’d be no surprise if you too were planning to go on one with your favorite furry friend. But before you start the engine and have your pet hop in your car, there are a few things you need to remember.
In this article we’ve rounded up eight important things to keep in mind to make sure your road trip with your pet will be fun and safe.
1. Plan ahead.
This isn’t your regular trip. This might even be the biggest event in your pet’s entire life. So it’s better to lay things on the table before heading out for the trip. Plan ahead.
Make sure you visit dog-friendly locations. You don’t want your pet roaming around an area where danger is very likely to bite them. How to know which ones are dog-friendly? Check websites like Bring Fido. Bring Fido tells you which hotels, restaurants, events, etc. are good for your pet. It also helps you decide which activities your pet will surely enjoy. To really make sure that accommodations are pet-friendly, it would be best if you call them ahead of time. Book reservations, if you may, but more importantly, ask them what’s allowed and what’s not for your pet. This gives you enough time to decide whether or not to go for the same hotel or look for another one.
Check the weather before heading out. This isn’t just for your pet but for you too. Getting a copy of the weather report, especially if you are going to be out for a couple of days, helps you better pack for your pet and for yourself. And of course, if you find out it’s going to be too cold or too hot, you can always reschedule your trip.
Speaking of packing . . .
2. Pack the essentials.
Don’t forget to pack the most important things, like your driver’s license, ID, and even your car’s manual (you never know you need it until you do). Pack some water for yourself and water for your pet. Pack some food for you and your pet. Make sure it’s enough to last you for a few days, should you decide to go out that long. Water bowls and poop bags are necessary too. A kennel should also be present (you don’t want your pet moving around while you drive; it’s dangerous for them). Bring grooming essentials for yourself and hygiene stuff for your pet. Bring enough pieces of clothing (make sure it’s good for the entire trip and bring some extra).
Do not forget your pet’s favorite blanket and toys too. This is to make sure they have something to do during that long drive and they’re comfortable enough in the back seat. Bring some medications too for yourself.
3. Prepare a pet first-aid kit.
But it’s not just your medications that you need to prepare. Your pet needs their own first-aid kit too. Here’s what should go into their kit, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC):
- Non-stick bandages
- Cotton balls
- Adhesive tape
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic spray/ointment
- Milk of magnesia
- Digital thermometer
- Medicine pillbox
- Magnifying glass
- Soft muzzle
- Leash and collar
- Travel bowls
4. Avoid feeding your pet right before the drive.
If you want to feed them, make sure it’s three to four hours before the trip. It is also important that you remember that feeding your pet while on the road is another no-no. Even if it is a long drive, avoid feeding your pet while in a moving vehicle.
5. Get your pet’s documentation ready.
A recent photo of your pet is not just the only thing you should get ready. Their medical papers too and other identification. If possible, have your pet wear a tag that has their name, your name, and contact information. This is so you can find your pet immediately or they can be returned to you should they disappear from your line of sight.
6. Do test drives.
Especially when you know the trip’s going to be long, it helps to do a few test drives. Doing this has many advantages, but probably the most important benefit of having test drives is that you get to prepare better for what’s to come.
Do a few short trips around the neighborhood with your pet. Don’t forget to start with short trips before graduating to longer trips. This is so your pet can get used to the longer drives ahead. Then look at their behavior while on the ride. Do they get carsick too often? Do they tend to pee often while on the road? Do they move around that much? If yes, then maybe a little more training is needed before you set out for that much-awaited trip.
7. Bring extra supplies.
Preparedness is the key, whether you’re with your pet or your family member. But since we’re talking about a road trip with pets, make sure you bring a little extra of everything that your pet needs. Yes, this means more stuff to bring, but you can never really know what will happen while you are on the road, so it is important that you prepare for it. If there’s rain, it might slow down your trip and you will have to stay on the road longer than planned. So bring extra pieces of clothing and food for yourself and for your pet, for one.
8. Visit the vet before the trip.
There is no better person to consult for a road trip with pets than the vet. Before you set out there, visit your vet. They are the only one who can tell you whether your pet can stand a long drive ahead or not, or if they are even well enough to be outside. If your pet has just recovered from an illness and you want to go on a trip with them to celebrate, you might need to prepare a bit more than expected since traveling when you’ve just recovered is not only crucial for humans, but for pets as well. And if it turns out that your pet gets carsick often, your vet can prescribe medications for it.
9. Invest in a GPS tracker.
Going out with your pet means taking the risk of them wandering away from you and eventually getting lost. No matter how careful you are and no matter how many precautionary measures you take, it is still possible that they will go missing.
Modern statistics say that around 14 percent of pets get separated from their owners. Some of them find their way to animal shelters, while some end up on the streets, never to be found again. Around 15 percent of these get reunited with their owners because they are microchipped or are wearing GPS trackers.
Yes, GPS trackers are one of the best ways to keep your pet safe. But in choosing one, there are a lot of things to consider. Here are the features of a good GPS tracker for pets:
- Real-time tracking—Is your tracker able to track the whereabouts of your pet in real time? Make sure you get a tracker that sends accurate location updates at intervals of ten, thirty, or sixty, depending on your choice.
- Geofencing—Get a tracker that allows you to set a safety zone for your pet and one that alerts you should your pet wander out of this safety zone.
- Health monitoring—Make sure your tracker has features that allow for health monitoring. Some more advanced trackers can detect your pet’s breathing pattern, vital stats, etc., making it easier for you to know if they are well enough still to continue with the trip.
- Wide coverage—Get a tracker that has worldwide coverage and works outdoors just as well as it does indoors.
- Long-lasting battery—You are going to be on a long trip. Make sure your tracker lasts long enough to cover the entirety of your trip. Do not settle for ones that work only twenty-four hours on full charge. Go for one that lasts for days.
There are a lot of trackers on the market, but none of them can beat the features of Tracki, the smallest yet most durable tracker available right now. It is a cost-effective tracker that boasts a variety of features including the ones mentioned above. You can enjoy a bunch of features and more for a price that is very affordable.
10. Have fun!
Most importantly, have fun. What else is there to do but enjoy the trip you’ve planned for a long time, right?