Susie and her daddy are preparing for their first big trip together, and would like to share some of the forethought gone into the preparations for the journey. When the dynamic duo returns, they will also share not only tales(or “ tails”) of their experiences, but also any travel tips that they picked up on the road – or as Susie prefers to call it “the Pawed Pathway.” Susie’s daddy remembers traveling with his brother, parents and pet Beagle, Peggy, with great fondness and looks forward to sharing the same experience with Susie.
As a general concern, be sure that your pet actually likes to travel. Our trip is a road trip in an SUV, and Susie loves to go places with her daddy around town already. Your pet whatever its species, usually we are speaking of dogs and cats, needs to be acclimatized to traveling in the car prior to taking a long trip. Susie was a rescue and made a 400+ mile trip to her new home in Kentucky from north Georgia, and she rode well the first time.
Another consideration is food and water. We would recommend that you feed a limited meal in the morning before departure (each day) and allow your pet some time for the food to settle. Provide water throughout the trip and stop periodically for potty breaks for both you and your companion.
The dog camp, Camp Gone to the Dogs, that we are visiting in Vermont provided a good list of things to bring on the trip, but good judgment will help you to make a sensible list regardless of the type of trip you are taking with your pet. Since Susie is a canine, and most companion travel is with dogs, we will focus on the things we are taking on the road.
For the car/SUV we purchased a cover for the back seat that protects the upholstery from the event of a wet and/or muddy pooch. To provide Susie with additional comfort we are covering the seat cover with a large beach towel and have a spare on hand if needed. This brings up the importance of having a supply of towels in the vehicle to dry your pet off when she is wet. We also obtained some plastic bins to store the towels in and other supplies. Also having paper towels, Kleenex and wet wipes available is a good practice in case of an accident of any kind.
Another necessity is to have a supply of pick up bags for when your dog needs to take a #2. Always be a good citizen and pick up your dog’s poop! The bags are designed to easily pick up the poop without needing a separate scooper, but if you have one, take it too! For cats – have a litter box in the car that can also be moved to your room for the night. Most important – know your pet!!
We have a bag for all of Susie’s supplies. Carry a good brush or brushes as well for grooming and removal of any burrs or other things that may get tangled in the hair. Also carry several copies of your pet’s vaccination certificate from the vet. To get into Canada, for instance, this is your pet’s passport and is also required upon reentry to the United States.
Of course have both a water bowl and a food bowl, a supply of your pet’s favorite food, a supply of treats, at least two leashes, a couple of favorite toys, and anything else that helps your furry friend to be happy and comfortable.
Of course bring something for your dog to sleep on – a big dog pillow, a bed, or if your dog sleeps with you in bed, a cover, throw or blanket to cover the regular bedding. Susie sleeps both on the bed and the floor, so we are taking a large throw for the bed and a bone shaped memory foam mat for the floor. Also taking a crate is a good idea, especially if you want to leave your dog in the room while you are out to dinner or visit a place that doesn’t allow pets.
Be sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations, is current with heartworm and parasite protection, and is guarded against fleas and ticks. Having a first aid kit in the vehicle is also a good idea for all travelers whether human, canine, feline, avian or reptilian.
Another important point to always remember is to NEVER leave your pet in a hot vehicle. Remember that they are more sensitive to heat stroke than humans are. Don’t turn a vacation into a tragedy by forgetting the needs of your animal companion. If you have chosen to include them in the travel plans, their needs have to be considered in every decision on the road. If a specific point of interest does not allow pets, either add it to the list of places to see when your pet is not with you or spend the night nearby where you can leave your pet in a safe environment while visiting the site.
Also AAA has an excellent book on travel with a pet that includes a list of pet friendly lodging along the roadway. To avoid surprises along the pathway we also have booked stays on the road in pet-friendly hotels and motels prior to the trip.
If you have a great story to tell about travel with your pet, please send it to us at Susie@boomertravelpatrol.com or visit our blog and tell your story there.
May 20, 2013