Traveling with pets: How to make it an easy ride
Bringing family pets on a road trip or long distance vacation is always meant to make an excursion more fun, but can often end up making everything more difficult. Most families with pets that are disruptive when traveling leave their dogs and cats with sitters to avoid the stress, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could include your pet on your fun?
Here are a few tips for traveling with furry friends – even though it still might be scary for them to be in a car for so long or even go on an airplane, following these ideas will definitely make your vacation more relaxing.
Exercise Your Pets Before the Trip
This is one of the best and most natural ways to get your animals to relax while traveling – and it’s good for them! Bring your pets on long walks or jogs the day before so they’re more likely to sleep when it matters.
Exercising throughout the day is ideal. Take them on a hike or bring them to the dog park. If the opportunity arises, take them to a large social gathering. If you’re traveling by car, plan extra time at a rest stop to take your dog on a quick walk around too. Your pet will feel more rested and likely to sleep if they’ve gotten out some of their energy.
Make Sure They’re Comfortable
Animals will feel cramped and scared in small crates. Especially if they’re used to occupying a large space within your home or playing in the backyard, they’re likely to make a fuss during your trip. Set your cat or small dog on someone’s lap to make them feel comforted, if possible. If you bring them in a crate or carrier, make sure it’s spacious enough for them to relax. Ideally you should invest in a luggage carrier for your animal, which are designed to make traveling easier when moving your pet around between locations.
Bring Foods They Like
A well-fed pet is a happy pet. Make sure to bring treats they like and small snacks to keep them occupied. Small chew sticks, bones, or cookies are great for dogs and will keep them occupied. If you’re traveling for a long time and will need to feed them meals, invest in a brand of pet food they enjoy eating. Definitely don’t spoil them with unhealthy human food just because they’re on vacation, but find opportunities to give them small portion treats to make their experience more comfortable.
If you’re worried about bringing large bags of pet food with you that take up a lot of space, companies like Blue Buffalo make traveling easier with small packaging that’s perfect for traveling (See their YouTube for example).
Pay Attention to Them!
Make sure that your pets feel attended to, safe, and entertained. Bring their favorite toys or make this trip an opportunity to introduce them to new ones. Bring ice cubes in a cooler for them to lick as a distraction. This will also hydrate them, keep them feeling healthy, and can help prevent motion sickness.
Keep Things Sanitary
It’s common for pets to get sick while traveling, and it’s always best to prepare for upset stomachs. If your pet has an accident, bringing baking soda from home or picking some up on the road is the easiest way to remove stains. It’s natural for a pet to get nauseous, but easier to manage if you bring the right resources for a potential mess.
If you’re bringing your pet on a camping trip, bring small blankets if they get too cold. Also bring tweezers, liquid soap, and cotton balls in case you find a tick on your animal or other troubling creatures on your animal.
Traveling with pets can sure be difficult, but your experience can also be much easier if you carefully plan to keep them well fed, hydrated, and attended to on the road. Before you travel, write down the nearest vets in each area so you know where to go in an emergency. If you have a new pet and aren’t sure how they travel, consider taking them on a shorter trip first and see how they do. This way you’ll have a better idea of how to take care of them and what works best for your individual animal.