Traveling is one of the best experiences you can share with your pet. Most pets love to go on adventures and explore new sights, sounds, and smell. And they love it more when they can share it with their beloved humans. You don’t hesitate to take your four-legged best friend to go hiking or camping with you.
What are you waiting for? Pack your and your pet’s travel essentials, and start your car. Before you hit the road, though, you should get your pet comfortable during the long car ride to lessen their anxiety and increase their excitement for the coming adventure. Here’s how you can do that.
Get Your Pet Accustomed to Being in the Car
If your four-legged isn’t used to traveling by car yet, you need to get them accustomed to it first before the big day. Take them with you when you run errands, go to the grocery store, and pick up your laundry. Go on short drives with them to visit the park or a nearby pet-friendly place.
Going to fun places by car will help them associate car trip as pleasant experiences. Positive reinforcements can also do a lot to make them get accustomed to (and even like) being in the car.
Bring Lots of Treats and Toys
Speaking of positive reinforcements, treats and toys are two things you absolutely need to make your beloved pet comfortable and entertained through the long car ride.
You four-legged best friend can get bored too after being confined in a small, cramped space for hours. They need something to help them past the time. If you don’t want a wet snout distracting you from the road, you need to pack the most interesting and stimulating toys for your pet.
During a road trip, your pet is bound to encounter many unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells, and unfamiliarity can make them feel insecure and anxious. Letting them play with their favorite toys can help them relax and calm down. Giving them delicious treats during the encounter will also help create a positive association with the stimulus.
Prep Your Vehicle
You want your four-legged best friend to be comfortable during the long road trip, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of a ruined car. Prep your car for the long haul and accompanied chaos of bringing a pet by installing several protective measures.
Cover your car floor with sturdy weathertech mats to shield it from the dirt, mud, and stains your beloved pet is sure to bring in. Use a waterproof and dirtproof car seat cover from your pet’s dusty fur, dirty paws, and constant shedding and slobber.
Make sure to get one made of tough materials in case your pet starts scratching or digging on the seat. Choose a cover with holes to access the seat belts, so you can strap in your pet when it’s necessary.
Some pets love to hang their head outside the car windows to feel the wind and take in all the new smells. Unfortunately, this usually results in a lot of slobber getting on the windows. To prevent this, you can cover your car windows with cling wrap before you leave. You can easily remove the wrap later and replace it with a new cover.
Take Scheduled Breaks
As mentioned earlier, pets can get bored when they can’t move around for a certain period of time. Being stuck in place for long hours (or even minutes) means they can’t use up their energy, so they start getting restless—chewing on the seat, barking up a storm, interrupting you when you’re driving, or trying to jump out of the window.
Toys won’t help when they’ve reached this level of boredom and restless. The only thing that will help is taking them out of the car to stretch their legs (and yours too). The number of breaks you should take depends on your pet’s energy levels and the length of your journey.
If you have a high-energy pet, breaks should be more frequent, like every 30 to 45. For the rest, it should be safe to stop and take a break every hour or so. The quality of the breaks also matters. If you just stand around with your pet on a leash, that won’t help them release their energy and alleviate boredom. Stop nearby a place where it’s safe to take your buddy for a walk and several rounds of fetch.
Sometimes, it’s not about boredom. Maybe your pet needs to pee or do their business. Pay attention for signs that your pet needs to use the toilet if you don’t want them to have an accident inside the car.
Pack All the Pet Essentials
Pack everything your pet needs to sustain them through the long trip. Bring lots of food and drinking water, as well as spillproof bowls to minimize the mess during meal times. After a playing with toys and barking at random pedestrians, your pet may want to settle down and have a nap. Remember to bring comfortable bedding for them. And don’t forget to pack your buddy’s favorite blanket too.
You should be prepared for all kinds of situations and emergencies. Bring a portable grooming kit and pet first aid for you buddy. Pack your pet’s health certificates and identification papers in case you need to present them when you visit a place.
Bring a collar or harness, a leash, and pet travel gear (e.g., booties, a sweater, a raincoat, car seat harness, etc.) to keep your best friend safe on your adventures. Finally, keep a bottle of pet-friendly insect repellent and sunblock to protect your buddy from pesky bugs and harmful UV rays.
Let Your Pet Wear a GPS Tracker
This is more for your pet’s safety (and your peace of mind) than for their comfort, but many unexpected things can happen when you travel, especially to a foreign place. Your pet could get separated from you and get lost. Microchipping can help identify a pet and their owner if someone picks them up, but it won’t help find a lost pet.
The best thing you can do to keep track of your pet’s location at all times is to attach a pet GPS tracker on their collar. You can install the app on your phone and monitor your pet’s coordinates on the map shown.
But you shouldn’t put your pet’s safety in the hands of a device that can be broken or lost. Watch over your buddy closely. If they’re not well-trained enough, keep them on a leash when you go out.
Have a Fun and Safe Trip!
Traveling with a pet requires planning and preparation, but first, you have to get your beloved pet used to being inside the car. And eventually, make them comfortable on long car trips. Fortunately, pets can be trained to create a positive association with car rides with the help of treats, toys, and lots of fun experiences. As soon as your buddy willingly jumps into the car, you can pack your bags and pet essentials and embark on a road trip adventure.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.