How to Road Trip With Pets

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Taking your pets along on travel adventures seems like an amazing idea until you get on the road and realize that you may not be totally prepared for all of your pet’s needs. A lot depends on how ready you are to take pets along for the ride. Prevent mishaps and enjoy your travel time by creating the most comfortable and safe space you can for your pets and yourself while traveling.

Update all Tags and Information

Before taking your pets on the road with you, be sure they have updated and readable tags on their collars, as well as labels on their pet carriers. By having the correct information on everything, you reduce the risk of losing them in case plans go awry or they run off. Also be sure that your pets are up-to-date on their shots and that you bring copies of paperwork and health certificates with you. While traveling, you never know what you might need in case a pet gets sick or if there’s a different emergency.

Use Leashes and Carriers

A cat sitting in grass with a leash on.

Secure your pets before taking them outside. This means having their collar or harness on them before they go outside, as well as a leash. Some folks have the inclination to carry their pets to the car and just hold them in their arms, but this isn’t the safest plan. Pets can get scared by a number of different things, from loud cars and construction noises to other pets. Securing them is the safest way to ensure they don’t run off. Carriers are ideal for smaller pets because their blanket, bedding, and a few toys can fit inside with them.

Bring all the Pet Things

Just like you, your pets have items they love. Be sure to bring your pet’s favorite blanket or bed so that no matter where they sleep, they have that sense of security with them while they travel. Also make sure to pack their food and water bowls, a few of their favorite toys, and any medications they may be taking. All extra leashes, collars, and harnesses should be packed in case the one you’re using breaks or gets chewed through.

Create a Safe Space

A white dog sitting in the back seat of a car on a blanket.

If you’re not bringing your pet in a small carrier, make them a comfy space in the back seat or on the floor, depending on the size of your vehicle and the number of passengers. Use your pet’s blankets or bedding to create a safe space for them and make sure to have a toy or two out for them. This way, they won’t get into other things like suitcases or food you may be transporting. Long car rides are a good time for napping and cuddling with toys, so make sure to create a space that allows for those activities.

Bring a First Aid Kit

You never know what might happen on a road trip, especially with pets. It’s important to be prepared for all situations because animals can get excited in new places. Include gauze, cotton pads, self-adhesive wrap, tweezers, peroxide, antibiotic ointment, and an instant ice pack.

Take Stretch and Food Breaks

A rest stop covered in snow with a sign that says "pet exercise area."

Be sure to stop for breaks much more often than you would if there were only people in the car. Compared to humans, pets sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom more. Make regular rest stops every few hours so that your pet can stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and eat a little snack. Stopping every so often will make the trip easier on you and all passengers because the animals won’t get so stir-crazy.