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Road Trip With Pets: Five Tips For A Stress Free Ride

By Beth
Updated: 2009-02-11 6:56 PM 2808 Views    Category: - General Pet Care
 
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When Americans hit the roads this spring, headed for vacation destinations around the country, many of those travelers will be accompanied by their beloved pets.


For many, a road trip is a fun, relaxing, experience away from the stresses of everyday life. But for pets who aren't used to traveling in the car, a road trip can cause unnecessary stress. Fortunately, you can ensure both you and your pet's trip is stress-free by following a few simple rules.

 
 
 
1. Take your pet for rides before the trip

 

If your pet is unfamiliar with traveling in the car, start taking him/her for short drives. These trips only have to be five to ten minutes; you can slowly work your way up to longer car trips after they become used to the car in general. These rides will help in two important ways: your pet will become familiar and comfortable with traveling in the car and he/she will begin to understand that every car ride ends with him/her returning home again. The second is important for pets who have been adopted and perhaps abandoned in the past. Once your pet becomes accustomed to traveling in the car, she may just come running every time she hears you jingle your keys.

 

If you discover that even short rides cause your pet too much stress, discuss the problem with your veterinarian. Your vet should know your pet's temperament and should be able to provide you with additional advice.

 

2. Feed your pet prior to your drive

 

Make sure you feed your pet 3 to 4 hours prior to your departure. You don't want to risk him/her getting sick in the car. Certain pets will require food even while you're driving. Rabbits, for example, must have constant access to hay; so if you have a rabbit, ensure that it has access to hay in the carrier.

 

3. Bring fresh tap or bottled water

 

Keep an adequate supply of water in the car for your pet. According to the ASPCA, it's best to bring bottled or tap water from home rather than giving your pet water from rest stops because your pet's stomach may become unsettled should you give it unfamiliar water.

 

4. Make sure your pet is secure

 

When your pet rides in the car, you must make sure it is secure. Most pets can easily travel in a carrier. Dogs, however, have two options. Either you can have them travel in a carrier or you can purchase a special harness so they can sit safely in the seat. While some dogs like to ride in the car with their heads out the window, this is dangerous for the dog so do not allow it.

 

If your pet is in a carrier, never put your pet's carrier on the floor in the front seat where it will be exposed to fumes. Pets have died as a result of being exposed to such fumes.

 

5. Never leave your pet alone in the car

 

You'll need to stop for plenty of breaks during your road trip – for the sake of you and your pet. Breaks are a great way to allow your pet to get out of the car and stretch. Rest stops generally have areas specifically designed to let your pet relieve itself and get some exercise.

 

Even if your pet cannot get out of the car, never leave her alone in your vehicle. Leaving a pet in the car is dangerous any time of the year. Even if you leave the window open or park in the shade, your car could be roasting in a matter of minutes, and you do not want to risk exposing your pet to heat stroke, dehydration, or even death.

 

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