Planning ahead can help you, your pet, and everyone else on the trip safe and comfortable.
Cats generally do better traveling inside carriers. You may be able to teach a dog to stay put calmly and quietly inside the vehicle. Even so, carriers, crates and other pet restraints have several advantages:
- They can protect your pet from injury
- They keep smaller animals from wandering under the driver's feet.
- They reduce driver distractions.
Whatever you decide with regard to restraints:
- Don't let your pet stick its head out the window of your moving vehicle. The dangers to your pet are many.
- Crated or not, don't place the pet in the bed of a pick-up for a long trip.
- Don't ride with the pet in the front seat or on your lap. It's dangerous for both of you.
Don't Leave Them Alone
It may be OK to leave your pet alone in your vehicle for a few minutes on a temperate day, with the window open a crack and water available. But on cold days you're putting your pet at risk of hypothermia if you leave it alone for long. And on hot days, the risk of overheating is greater than most people think. Even with the window cracked, and even at temperatures that seem pleasant, your pet is at risk.
For Longer Trips
- Get a clean bill of health from your pet's veterinarian.
- Ask the vet for a health certificate and documentation of
vaccinations that you can carry with you. (This is especially important
if you'll be crossing country borders.)
- Start acclimating your pet to car travel by taking it on short trips near home.
- If you're going to be using a crate, first acclimate the
animal to the crate at home before trying it out in your vehicle.
- Call ahead to find hotels/motels on your route that welcome pets.
- Be sure your pet is wearing updated ID tags.