Four-legged family members stay with us at home and in the office, and they often accompany us while on the road. Here are 14 things to know, bring, and do when traveling with pets whether it’s your first time or an ongoing reminder.
No time to panic
Pepi’s (shown above at left) health was in jeopardy.
His prescription medication was mislaid in my rental car while at a rest stop somewhere in the U.S. Midwest. I was concerned but not so much that I lost control.
I took a minute to breathe and think. How could a pill bottle go from being in plain sight to completely disappearing?
I retraced my steps. What did I touch? Where did the bottle roll? Was it under the car? I looked in what I thought was the most-illogical place, and there it was – in my purse. I was moving so fast to refill the car’s gas tank, walk Mae and Pepi, and refresh myself that I didn’t realize where I placed the bottle. It’s usually kept in a travel bag in the passenger seat.
This mishap taught me to keep a spare medicine bottle in an additional bag. It also taught me to slow down my actions while on the road.
Expect the best outcome
If you’ve never traveled with a pet and are ready for this adventure (as mentioned in this article), my bet is that you won’t experience the same type of heart-stopping problem. However, it is necessary to be cautious, proactive, and prepared. You have precious cargo on board counting on you to do the right thing.
I’m specifically talking about traveling with pets by car or similar motor transportation. This is probably the one mode of transport that owners often choose and possibly prefer. I think pets like it, too, as they are allowed to sniff the land at every rest stop (isn’t that the mission of all cute-nosed kids?).
Mae and Pepi’s travel gear is more extensive than mine. It has to be. I bring just enough clothing for me (I can buy clothes in Any Town USA) while the twins get the lion’s share of cargo space. I don’t make a traditional gift basket for their needs, but I do know what to accomplish before we hit the road.
14 things to know, bring, and do while traveling with pets
- Where to buy food. Pepi eats prescription food that’s not available in every retail pet store.
- Where animal hospitals are located, its hours, and phone numbers. The ones open 24 hours a day are what you want.
- If a pet event will occur along the way or at your destination. There’s loads of fun if you can attend.
- Your pet is belted within the vehicle. Pepi once jumped into my lap while I drove. Had I been startled, we may have landed in a ditch.
- A pet first aid kit. I purchased one for $10 at a retail store containing all necessities.
- Items that make the pet comfortable. Mae and Pepi’s spacious couch is always in the back seat, and so are their toys.
- A paper prescription written by your vet for all medicines in case you need it while traveling.
- One set of clothing you don’t expect to need. Winter clothes packed for travel through Frisco, Colorado, made the unexpected cold weather bearable.
- All pet food into the lodging facility at day’s end. The car’s overnight temperature changes may disrupt the ingredients.
- Have your vet’s number in your cell phone or app and also written on paper in case the phone fails.
- Take a photo of rabies and other vaccination documents. I keep these photos tagged in my phone in the Favorites folder.
- Order engraved identification tags to place on the pet’s collar. Pepi’s and Mae’s tags mention their health conditions along with my name and phone numbers.
- Order and bring additional medication. The above story proves why this is necessary.
- Keep pet food inside of the car while driving versus in the trunk. This is another temperature control issue to keep the food edible.
On the road again
My four-legged companions and I will travel several times this year, and we plan to have lots of fun. Where will you travel with your pet, and what type of transportation will get you there?