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Ground Transport Checklist for Dogs

Taking a short road trip with your dog is not much different from taking one with your cat, though there are a few extra precautions to take when going on the road with your canine companion. Consider the following checklist before hitting the road with your dog:

  • Exercise Before Travel: Travel is often exciting, but you don’t want your dog to be overly excited or energetic while in the car. Especially important for high-energy dogs or anxious travelers, exercising your dog before your drive will ensure that your pet is tired enough to rest during your car trip.
  • Identification: It’s always smart to equip your dog with up-to-date tags and microchips, but it is especially important to do so when travelling away from home. Make sure contact information is current and correct, and that tags are securely attached to collars.
  • Buckle Up: No matter the size of your dog, it is never a good idea to allow him to roam freely around the car while you are driving. There are a few options for securing your dog during car travel. Keeping your dog in a carrier or travel crate is a tried-and-true method and ensures that any messes created during your trip are contained within the crate. If your car cannot accomodate a create, consider a seatbelt harness to let your pet have a bit more freedom within the car.
  • Supplies: Even on a short car trip, you should be prepared for anything. Bring any medication your dog may need, extra food or treats, a seatbelt harness, and any familiar items which could make your dog’s journey more comfortable.
  • Limit Food and Water: To prevent any in-car messes and reduce the risk of your pet getting carsick, you should avoid giving your dog food while on the road, and should only offer a small amount of food before travelling. Enough water should be available to ensure hydration, but not so much that your dog will feel the need to use your car as a bathroom. Try to save his main meal for the end of the day, once you have reached your destination.
  • Keep Your Dog With You At All Times: Never leave your dog unattended in a car – no matter how short the stop, how cold the weather, or how shady the parking spot. Temperatures at either extreme (hot or cold) can become dangerous to your dog if left alone in an enclosed space.

Though every pet handles travel differently, following the above checklist will ensure that your dog has a safe, comfortable journey on your short road trip. If you plan on taking a longer tri that will last several days, consider these additional tips for driving with your dog:

  • Stretch Breaks: Pets, just like humans, can get restless after being confined to a car for long periods of time. Try to take breaks every few hours to allow your dog (and you!) to get out of the car and walk around a bit. Make sure to have a leash handy – many dogs will be excited by the unknown environment and might try to run off. These stops can also be used as bathroom breaks, though access to food and water should be limited while driving in order to minimize your dog’s need to use (your car) as a bathroom.
  • Plan Ahead: If you’re covering a lot of ground, you will likely end up staying at least one night in a hotel. Make sure to research pet-friendly hotels before your trip, and to acquaint yourself with any pet-specific fees and policies attached to those hotels. If you plan on crossing any borders during your trip, you may have to meet country-specific pet import requirements. Read over any requirements or consider asking a pet travel specialist for assistance.




Ground Transport Checklist for Cats

Taking a short road trip with your cat(s) may seem like it will be fairly easy, especially as compared to flying or even driving with a dog. However, any trip with a pet requires some careful planning and consideration for your furry friend’s confort and safety in transit. If you plan on bringing your cat with you on a short trip via ground transport, consider the following checklist in order to make your journey enjoyable for you and your cat:

  • Identification: It’s always smart to equip your cat with up-to-date tags and microchips, but it is especially important to do so when travelling away from home. Make sure contact information is current and correct, and that tags are securely attached to collars.
  • Travel Crate: Though you may be tempted to allow your cat to roam around the car during a short trip, it is safest for you and your pet if she remains in her crate during car rides. Make sure your cat is familiar with her crate before – it will make the trip less stressful for everyone involved. If you plan on making frequent car trips with your cat, it is smart to familiarize her with car travel at a young age – no one wants to travel with a carsick pet.
  • Supplies: No matter how short the trip, it is important to have plenty of pet necessities – be prepared for anything! Bring any medication your cat needs, extra food or treats, a seatbelt harness, and any familiar items which could make your cat’s trip more comfortable.
  • Limit Food and Water: To prevent any in-car messes and reduce the risk of your pet getting carsick, you should avoid giving your cat food while on the road, and should only offer a small amount of food before travelling. Enough water should be available to ensure hydration, but not so much that your cat will feel the need to use your car as a bathroom. Try to save her main meal for the end of the day, once you have reached your destination.
  • Keep Your Cat With You At All Times: Never leave your cat unattended in a car – no matter how short the stop, how cold the weather, or how shady the parking spot. Temperatures at either extreme (hot or cold) can become dangerous to your cat if left alone in an enclosed space.

Though every pet handles travel differently, following the above checklist will ensure that your cat has a safe, comfortable journey on your short road trip. If you plan on taking a longer tri that will last several days, consider these additional tips for driving with your cat:

  • Stretch Breaks: Pets, just like humans, can get restless after being confined to a car for long periods of time. Try to take breaks every few hours to allow your cat to get out of her crate and walk around a bit. If you take her out of the car, make sure to have a leash handy. These stops can also be used as bathroom breaks, though access to food and water should be limited while driving in order to minimize your cat’s need to use (your car) as a bathroom.
  • Plan Ahead: If you’re covering a lot of ground, you will likely end up staying at least one night in a hotel. Make sure to research pet-friendly hotels before your trip, and to acquaint yourself with any pet-specific fees and policies attached to those hotels. If you plan on crossing any borders during your trip, you may have to meet country-specific pet import requirements. Read over any requirements or consider asking a pet travel specialist for assistance.