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Preparing & Packing for a Pet Friendly Road Trip

Let’s Hit the Road!

Taking a road trip is the best kind of vacation with your pet. The wind in your fur, the sites and scents of the road! It allows you to set your own pace, and decide moment by moment what sounds like fun. Laying out the course and locating accommodations and activities is easy using the GoPetFriendly.com Road Trip Planner, but there are a few other things you might want to think about before you take off!

Prepare the Vehicle

This means doing some “pet prep.” Be sure you have a way of securing your pet while you are on the road. Crates, carriers or car harnesses will prevent your pet from making an unannounced visit to check the view from your lap while you’re driving, and will keep Kitty from crawling under the brake pedal! Restraints will also protect them from injury in case of an accident. Remember to deactivate the airbag for any seat your pet will be occupying.

Ty in Sleepypod HarnessPet Check Up

Make a visit to your vet to for a check-up, confirm all vaccinations are up to date, and to discuss any possible concerns about flea, tick or heart worm risks where you will be traveling. It is also a great idea to discuss possible remedies for car sickness, diarrhea and restlessness – just in case! Finally, seriously consider having your pet micro-chipped and keep your contact information up to date with the company that registers the chip. It would be a nightmare, but pets do become separated from their people while traveling. Shelters, animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and humane societies have scanners that read the chips so they can notify you of your pet’s recovery.

Pack for your Pet

Pets need a lot of stuff when they are on vacation! Here is a list of things to bring:

  • Food and Treats – if you are not certain that you can pick up the brand you feed your pet along the way, pack enough for the whole trip plus a little extra. For canned food – don’t forget the can opener!
  • Drinking Water – if your pet’s stomach is easily upset, it pays to take drinking water from home with you.
  • Food and Water Bowls – portable bowls pack easily and are great when you are out & about, and anti-spill water bowls are fantastic in the car (or RV).
  • Proof of vaccinations and your pet’s health records – you’ll need these at some of the dog parks and campgrounds. Also, if you want to use a pet sitter, day care, or kennel services while you are traveling they will need these documents. Don’t forget to take your vet’s telephone number, and the telephone number for the National Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.
  • Current Identification Tags – Of course you’ll want to include your cell phone number, or other phone number where you can be reached while you are away on your pets tags. We offered some additional suggestions that could save your pets life in a post we did specifically on identification tags a while back.
  • Photos of your pet – in case your pet gets separated from you, a current photo can make it easy to create posters quickly, and can be used to prove the pet belongs to you.
  • A couple of rolls of paper towels and some carpet cleaner – for muddy paws and other messes.
  • An old towel – in case of rain, or after swimming.
  • Your pet’s bed and a couple of toys – to make them more comfortable when you spend the night in unfamiliar locations.
  • All their medications, vitamins, supplements, etc.
  • Plastic bags to pick up after them along the way.
  • First aid kit.
  • Pet insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • Leash – Many places require your pet be on a leash no longer than six feet. You may also want to consider a long leash (15-20 feet) if you plan to hike with your dog or let them run in an unfenced area.
  • Your camera – you’ll want to capture these memories to share with us on the GoPetFriendly.com Facebook page and with your family and friends!

Keeping A Schedule

Maintaining your pet’s feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible during your trip will reduce any anxiety they may feel about being away from home, so allow for stops along the way to let your pet stretch, run, or burn off some energy – isn’t this what being on vacation is all about, after all?

Buster on Snow King in Jackson, WY

Taking Time for a Hike

Confirm Pet Policies

Calling ahead to confirm your reservations and remind them that you are traveling with your pet can help avoid unpleasant surprises. Ask about any restrictions that the hotel or campground may have regarding pets, including whether you are allowed to leave your pet unattended in your room. If you will be leaving your pet alone, consider bringing their crate or carrier, leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, and give your cell phone number to the staff at the front desk so you can be reached if needed.

Be An Ambassador

Make a great impression by training your pet in good manners, following rules regarding pets and local leash laws, and disposing of pet waste appropriately.

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