For some pet parents, a vacation isn’t as much fun if their furry family members can’t come along. Here are tips for taking a road trip with your pets.
Our experts share tips on preparing and packing for a pet-friendly road trip straight from Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA Pet Book.
First and foremost, make sure you have all the important information about your pet. Get a clean bill of health from your vet, and update any necessary vaccinations. Make sure you have a health certificate showing proof that your pet’s shots are up to date. If your pet takes a prescribed medication, pack a sufficient supply, plus a few days’ extra. It’s also a good idea to take the prescription with you, just in case you need a refill.
If your road trip with pets includes visiting state parks or attractions that allow pets on the premises, obtain any necessary regulations well in advance. Reconfirm all your travel plans a few days before your departure, especially with hotels, as their policies might have changed after you made reservations.
If you’re looking for a hotel that welcomes families with pets, Best Western® has more than 1,600 locations that are pet-friendly and offers three different property types—Best Western®, Best Western Plus® and Best Western Premier®.
Now that you’re ready to get your road trip with pets started, here are five travel tips and 10 things to never leave home without.
On the Road
1. For safety reasons, pets should be confined to the back seat, either in a carrier or a harness attached to the car’s seat belt. Don’t let your dog stick its head out the window, no matter how enjoyable it seems. Road debris and flying objects can injure delicate eyes and ears.
2. To help prevent carsickness, feed your pet a light meal four to six hours before departing on your road trip with your pets. Never give an animal food or water in a moving vehicle.
3. AAA recommends that drivers stop every two hours to stretch their legs and take a break from driving. Your pet will appreciate the same break.
4. When on a road trip with pets, be sure your pets are leashed before opening the car door to prevent them from breaking free or running away. Even the most obedient pet may become disoriented during travel or in strange places and try to set off for home.
5. Never leave an animal in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open. On pleasant days, the temperature inside a car can soar to well over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, placing your pet at risk for heatstroke and possibly death. On very cold days, hypothermia is also a risk.
Packing Checklist for a Road Trip with Pets
- Carrier or crate
- Sturdy, well-fitting nylon or leather collar or harness, ID tag(s) and leash
- Food and water dishes
- An ample supply of food, plus a can opener and spoon (for canned food)
- Healthy treats
- A blanket or other bedding
- Favorite toys
- Chewing preventative
- First-aid kit
- A recent photograph and a written description of your pet, including name, breed, gender, height, weight, coloring and distinctive markings
Inset photo: iStock