Have you been putting off a long distance car trip with your pet for fear it will end in shambles? While you may have heard of some disaster stories, chances are that things didn’t go according to plan because necessary preparations weren’t made. Traveling on a long distance journey with your pet isn’t simply a matter of putting your pet in your car (you need to check that you can take pets in a rental car
first) — it takes careful planning to ensure everything runs smoothly. Here are our top tips for guaranteeing your first big trip together goes from start to finish without a hitch.
1. Safely Restrain Your Pet
Being underprepared when it comes to traveling with your pet in the car is not only difficult to manage—it can be downright dangerous. After all, you don’t want your parrot flapping around in the car or your cat snuggling up to you when you’re driving! That’s why it is absolutely essential that you use the right equipment to restrain your pet safely in the car. For example, cat owners should use a cat carrier, bird owners a bird cage, and so on.
Dog owners have a number of options for safely restraining their dog. For example, you can put your four-legged friend in a dog crate specifically designed for travel or car journeys. The option you choose will depend on your car and dog, so do your research to pick the right option for your situation. Just remember, it is inadvisable to have your dog sit next to you in the front of the car (it might even be illegal in some locations), so avoid this if possible.
2. Get Your Pet Used to the Journey
Once you’ve worked out how you will restrain your pet in your car, it’s vital to get them used to the experience. You don’t want to spring it on them for the first time as the surprise may cause them to feel anxious or to act out.
In the lead up to the journey, allow your pet to acquaint themselves with the restraint. You can do this by letting them explore it, and even putting them in it and going for a short ride. Your pet will be far more likely to be comfortable on your long car journey if they already know what’s coming, so make the effort to acquaint them with the restraint.
3. Make a Custom Pet Kit for Your Pet
First things first: don’t leave packing all the items your pet needs until the last minute. You’ll be more likely to forget packing something if you do it at the last minute, so get packing early! We suggest making a pet kit for your pet that features all of the essentials they need on and off the road.
The easiest way to make a pet kit is to invest in a travel bag. For instance, a versatile dog travel bag
can be used to store everything important including snacks, toys, important documents, medication, and poop bags. Look for travel bags that include a number of compartments and are lightweight. Using one will help you to stay organized and on top of all of your dog’s needs.
4. Bring Enough Food and Water
Speaking of packing the essentials, you definitely don’t want to forget to bring enough food and water. It may seem like an obvious tip, but you may be surprised by just how easy it is to underestimate how much they may need. Remember, being on the road is an entirely different context than what they are used to. This is particularly true on long trips, which can unsettle your pet and in turn, change their usual behaviour.
To be on the safe side, pack more food and water than they normally consume. You may face unexpected delays, be caught in traffic jams, take the wrong route, or make some unplanned pit stops. Buying pet food on the road will be difficult in any case, particularly if your pet has special dietary needs. So be sure to stock up to avoid unnecessary stress.