Driving with Pets
Did You Know...
84% of pet owners say they travel with their pet in automobiles
Source: American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2006 National Pet Owner Survey
If you're planning to take your pet with you on trips in the car, start early when the pet is young to get used to the routine. Short jaunts across town and back or easy day trips will get your pet used to the ride. A carsick pet can make the trip miserable for everyone.
Be sure to bring along cleaning supplies to avoid having to search out a place to purchase them at the last minute.
Make your pet travel experience fun and enjoyable by following these simple, common sense pet travel tips:
- Safely secure your pet while traveling. An unrestrained pet can become a deadly projectile in the event of a sudden stop or crash, causing serious injury (even death) to passengers. For example, an unsecured, 25-pound dog in a 40 mph crash becomes a 1,000-pound mass (half a ton) flying uncontrollably inside the vehicle.
- Dogs should be restrained with a vehicle pet harness designed for pet travel. Smaller dogs can be secured in pet car seats, which allow them to also see out, while being properly restrained.
- Never attach a restraining device to the pet's collar. Always use a harness to prevent injury.
- Cats should be contained in a crate, cage or pet car seat that is secured with a seat belt. Never allow a cat to roam freely in the vehicle, as it could get tangled around the driver's feet or get in the driver's sight of the road.
- Do not allow your pet to ride with its head outside of the window. An obstacle close to the vehicle could potentially strike your pet's head, causing injury or death, or dirt particles could get into your pet's ears, nose, eyes, or throat, causing health problems.
- It's a good idea to stop every couple of hours for your pet and you to stretch and walk around. Be sure to have your pet's leash handy to have control and so your pet doesn't run away in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Have your own supply of cold water, as fresh water is not always handy or convenient when you need to stop.
- Have your pet consume small amounts of food and water, but don't allow to overeat or drink if you still have more traveling to do. Reserve your pet's main meal for the end of the day.
- Leaving a pet in a parked car is never a good idea. Temperatures in confined spaces in the summer time can heat up fast, causing heatstroke — even death — to a pet. Extremely cold temperatures in the winter can be just as threatening, so be sure not to leave a pet in the car if the temperature is near the freezing mark.
- A pet first-aid kit is an essential item to pack when venturing out and should contain things such as antiseptic cream, assorted bandages, tweezers, eye drops, gauge, tape, and the like. Phone numbers for your pet's vet, the National Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888-426-4435), and emergency pet hospitals in the areas where you plan to travel should be taken along.
- A travel tag on a pet's collar will help someone locate you should you and your pet become separated. The travel tag should contain information about where you are staying locally (while away from home), including addresses and phone numbers. A cell phone number is also a good idea since most people have one with them, especially when they travel.
Bus or Train
- State and local restrictions usually prohibit pets from riding on buses or trains unless they are assisting visually impaired or physically challenged persons. Always check in advance with these transportation providers to find out what regulations they may impose.
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Ask the Vet
Q. How can I relax my dog when we have to leave him in his inside pen (4x4)? He licks at his paws and the floor until the floor is completely wet and slimey. I hate to leave him, but sometimes we have to. I am home every day with him, so is it just being mad? Is there anything I can give him to relax? -- Pam D.
Ask the Pet Relocation Expert
From: Toronto, Ontario
To: Taipei, Taiwan
Pets: Jack - mixed breed, 5 years old; Joe - mixed breed, 2 years old
I'm having a hard time getting the exact details and prices for moving my cats from Canada to Taiwan. What do I need to bring my cats with me, and how much is this going to cost? Would going with a professional pet relocation company be too extravagant and unnecessary (could I arrange everything myself)? Or would it really be worth the money and make things more convenient for me and the kitties? I'm aware there is a 21 day quarantine, and I'm not sure how my cats will deal with that (or how I will deal with it!).
We adopted Leo in 2012 to be my co-pilot. (Our other dogs are not nearly as enthusiastic about being the car.) We did a cross-country trip with him just weeks after he joined our family and he did beautifully! He's filling a void left by my previous co-pilot/companion who passed in 2010. -- Shasta G. More