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Car Travel with Pets

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 26 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Travelling Animals Preparing To Travel

Many pet owners are understandably attached to their pets and see them as part of the family. Animals tend to get very nervous about travelling. If you need to take your pet on a car journey, here are some tips on travelling with animals.

Planning a Car Trip

There are certain things you need to consider when travelling with your pet.
  • Check with your vet that your pet has had fully up-to-date vaccinations. You will also need to get a health certificate at least ten days before you leave.
  • It may sound obvious, but remember to make sure the place you intend to stay allows pets!

Preparing Your Pet For Travel

  • It is a good idea to fit your pet with a microchip or tag for identification purposes. The tag should be labelled with your pet's name, address and phone number. Your pet's collar should also include information on where they will be staying.
  • Groom your dog before setting off. This will probably involve bathing, combing and trimming nails.
  • Keep favourite toys and food handy as animals tend to respond better when they are surrounded by familiar things.
  • If you will be going over international borders, make sure you have your pet's proof of rabies vaccination and their current health certificate to hand.
  • If your pet dislikes travelling by car, it might be worth taking it out for a few trips in the car before you set off to try to prepare it for the journey ahead.
  • On the day you leave, maintain your pet's usual feeding routine. Anything out of the ordinary will probably make them feel more uneasy.

Travelling With Your Pet

  • Cats should be put in a container that allows them to be comfortable whilst still confining them.
  • Give your pet their main meal when you arrive. Dry food will be more convenient for you, as long as it is part of your pet's normal diet.
  • When feeding your pet en-route, throw away any canned food that they do not eat. Unless it can be kept in a fridge it is likely to sweat, and this can cause your pet to be ill.
  • Take along a jug of cold water in case other water sources are not available.
  • Stop every couple of hours to allow your pet to get some exercise. Remember to pack the lead!
  • Don't let your pet put its head out of the car window in case grit and dust get in its eyes. This can cause a nasty injury or infection. Be sure to keep the windows closed, or open them slightly on a warm day.
  • Don't leave your pet alone in the car if you can help it. The temperature can soar very quickly inside a locked car. If you must leave your pet in a parked car, make sure you lock the doors and park in some shade.
  • Keep a first-aid kit containing bandages, gauze squares and antiseptic cream in the car. Anti-diarrhoea tablets are also useful. Ask your vet to recommend the best ones for your pet. You should keep the phone numbers of your vet and a 24-hour emergency vet hospital near where you are staying with the kit.
Animals tend to get upset and disorientated when travelling by car. Knowing how to cope with this is vital to their wellbeing - as well as your own!

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