Are you planning a long drive and want to take your pets? These tips will boost your confidence and ensure that your adventure is fun for everyone!
Tips for planning a trip with pets
Taking a trip with pets can sound embarrassing. But it’s easier than you think! We have crossed the country with our dogs many times and we are happy to share these tips.
Check your pet
Before you start planning a trip with pets, it is good to visit your veterinarian. Confirm that your dog or cat is healthy enough for the long journey, that all her vaccinations are up-to-date, and stock up on all the medications she needs.
You should also discuss fleas, ticks, heartworms or other health problems that are common in the areas you will be traveling to. And don’t forget to ask about medications for car sickness, diarrhea and allergic reactions – just in case!
Finally, consider whether your pet should be microchipped. It would be a nightmare, but pets can separate from their people as they travel. The current identification label and microchip will help you find your hairy travel companion if it needs to get lost.
After your visit, pack your pet’s vaccination certificate in his or her travel bag. Then scan the rest of her medical records on a USB device and take it with you on your trip in case your dog needs to see a vet while you’re on the road.
Decide your transport
Once your pet has received a “thumbs up” from the vet, you will need to decide how you will travel. Most people take their own car, and if that’s your plan, plan a tune to make sure it’s ready to go.
Other options include using a car rental for pets, an RV, an adventure van or a camper for your trip.
No matter how you get from here to there, the most important part of any trip is a safe return home. Use a car seat belt or carrier to protect your pets in the event of an accident and to prevent them from getting out of the car into unfamiliar territory.
Plan your route
Choosing a route for your trip is part of the fun! Our travel planning pet will help you lay out your plan. Whether you’re hoping to visit some of America’s most pet-friendly national parks or make a pilgrimage to historic Route 66, you’ll find plenty to explore along the way.
Then add pet-friendly hotels, holiday properties, campsites, restaurants and activities to your itinerary – such as dog parks and pet-friendly beaches. You can also find veterinarians and pet stores if the need arises.
If your dog can’t join you at any of the stops you want to make along the way, find a local kindergarten where she can have fun while sightseeing. If your dog is not a social butterfly and the kindergarten does not like it, look for a local pet who will come to your hotel or RV and spend some time in their favorite things while you are away (cuddling, playing, going for a walk). GoPetFriendly has a list for both pet caregivers and dog kennels to help you with your search.
Choose your accommodation
Whether you are pitching your tent in pet-friendly campsites, staying in pet-friendly hotels, or renting cabins for pets or holiday properties, consider reservations in advance. Campsites are busy on weekends and holidays, and some hotels offer only a limited number of rooms for pets.
Even if you prefer to be spontaneous, making a few reservations in the most popular destinations along the route will provide a little peace of mind. You can then “target” it by relying on well-known hotel chains suitable for pets the rest of the time.
Watch out for health problems related to travel
It can take time for pets to adjust to the different environments you may encounter during your travels. For example, like humans, pets can get altitude sickness. Of course, it’s a little harder to say because they can’t complain of a headache!
Even if they show no symptoms, it is best to assume that your dogs feel what you are feeling and give them time to adapt. No long hikes, lots of fresh water and extra rest. Once you all feel better, increase your activity level slowly, seeing shortness of breath or signs of discomfort.
Packing for your pets
Deciding what to pack for your pets can be a challenge. You want all the things they need to be comfortable. But there is limited space for all your camping equipment! Follow this list and you should be covered for most cases.
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Start with a travel bag for pets, which is easy to organize, and load it with all the needs of your pet:
Food and water boxes – portable bowls are easy to pack and are great when you’re out and about. And spill-free water bowls are fantastic in the car or RV.
Food – If you’re not sure you can get more of your pet’s food along the way, collect enough for the entire trip plus a little extra. For cans, don’t forget the can opener!
All your pets medications, vitamins, supplements and more. And get enough for your trip, plus a few extra days in case you’re late. (Also remember the vaccination certificate and medical records mentioned above.)
Trash can and bedding for your cat.
Treat your bag and treats – new places and experiences mean constant learning. Set your puppy up for success and keep the rewards on hand!
Your pet’s bed and a few toys – to make it more comfortable for him to spend the night in unfamiliar places.
A blanket or sheet to cover any furniture in the hotel or holiday home that your pet may want to use.
Roll of paper towels, wet wipes, moss roller and some universal detergent – for muddy paws and other clutter.
Old towel – in case of rain or after swimming.
Sacks of waste to take after your dog on the road.
First aid kit … or make your own first aid kit for pets.
Flea and tick repellent and sunscreen for pets.
Extra leash – Many places require your pet to be on a leash no longer than six feet. You can also consider a long leash (15-20 feet) if you plan to travel with your dog or let him run in an unfenced area.
Hit the road
Whether you’re planning to visit the most dog-friendly national parks, cross the border into Canada, or embark on the Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, remember that traveling with your pets is the perfect time to slow down and smell the roses! Rushing from place to place can make your vacation feel more like work, so be conservative when considering how much you can accomplish.
We found that driving about 300 miles a day worked well for us. We can stick to Myles exercise and nutrition and enjoy the views along the way.
Pets are very adaptable and most are happiest when you are together! They will certainly be happy with your choice of vacation. And you will appreciate all the memories you will gather together along the way.