By Ashley Watson
It’s summer, and we all want to travel with our pets on vacation. Dogs tend to travel well, but there are some dogs who get anxious, especially on longer trips. Then there’s traveling with cats, which can seem impossible with most cats. While you probably wouldn’t take the family cat on vacation or on a day trip to the lake, cats still need to go to the vet or travel long distances when you are moving. This week’s blog post provides some tips to keep your pet calm, safe, and happy on road trips.
I do a lot of pet sitting for friends, and one of the things that helps the most with anxious dogs is making them comfortable. Any time we are traveling more than 5 miles, I put the dog bed in the back of my CRV. Having a larger vehicle helps, especially when I am traveling with two large huskies. But if you don’t have a larger vehicle, you can always put down the seats or make as much room as possible in the back of the car.
For cats, make sure your cat’s carrier is large enough for your cat. You can also find carriers that open from the top to make getting your cat in and out a lot easier. Putting a towel inside, along with some toys will help make your cat more comfortable. Once the cat is used to being in the car, you may be able to let the cat out of the carrier to roam around the car or sleep in a bed on the floorboard.
Always carry an extra water bowl with you, along with some water bottles that you can refill. Dogs need about 1 cup of water per 20 lbs. of body weight, while cats need about 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. of body weight. Cats tend to be more picky about their water. For many cats, the water needs to be fresh, so try to change it as often as possible. And make plenty of rest stops on longer trips so that your cat can drink or eat when the car is not moving. The same goes for dogs, who will also need more exercise than usual. Being cramped in a car can make the need for exercise even stronger. And don’t forget the plastic bags for clean up!
Many pet owners forget about taking a first aid kit with them for their pets. However, a standard human first aid kit will also do the trick. Gauze, anti-bacterial wipes, and other standardized items are important to have for you and your pet. Consider bringing along some probiotics for pets with sensitive stomachs or other digestive issues. Hip and joint supplements are also good to have on hand for dogs or cats who are active or older. Natural insect repellant is also a must when planning outdoor activities. Lastly, calming products can be a lifesaver when you have pets who don’t like to travel. You can also learn basic first aid for pets on a variety of websites or from your veterinarian.
How do you make your pets more comfortable when traveling? Share your tips with us on Facebook.