So you're thinking about venturing out on your next trip with Fido? Sounds like a fun idea, but unless you're well prepared, you may end up wishing you had left him at home.
But don't get discouraged; traveling with pets is becoming as commonplace as traveling with children. In a sense, they really are our children. We feed them, clean up after them, groom them, praise them, and love them - why shouldn't we take them along?
Problem is, some folks think just letting the family dog jump in the back seat is all it takes. Never mind securing that loved one in a pet car seat or dog harness like we do Junior. Why not? Okay, I'll ask it again - why not?
In case of a sudden stop or crash, what happens? Oops. Or big OOPS, depending on the size of your pooch. He could cause a serious injury or even death to you or one of your passengers if he becomes a projectile. Why take the risk?
Making the best of pet travel begins with planning. You must first think about what it is you're doing, where you're going, how you're going to get there, what you need - you know, like you do when you take a trip by yourself or with friends or family. Don't exclude your pet's needs and essentials just because... what, he's a pet?
What vitamins or meds will he need? What about food, treats and water? Yes, it's always a good idea to have a supply of good, cold water with you. Sometimes you just can't just find water anywhere when you need to stop.
Do you have a car seat for the pet to see out (mainly for smaller pets) or a harness or seat belt? What about pet emergency contacts like vet phone numbers or a pet hospital near where you are traveling? In case you become separated, did you remember his ID tag? How else will anyone know to whom your four-legged child belongs? A travel ID tag is also becoming more popular that lists the contact information of where you're planning to stay when you get to your destination or a cell phone number that could easily track you down in the event you get separated from your pet.
One of the most comforting things a pet can have with him is something familiar like a favorite toy or blanket. Remember how Junior is? By the way, did you remember his, too?
How about a portable exercise pen? Aunt Sally says she loves your canine, but does she really want him running loose all over her house? That exercise pen can be assembled in no time, and you sure won't have to keep your eye on Aunt Sally's glass figurine collection every second of the day.
And when you and your canine are ready to bed down for the night, are you just going to let him sleep where he finally drops? Is that where Junior will end up for the night? I don't think so. That's right, don't forget that pets like to sleep comfortably, too, and that portable pet bed sure feels a little more like home.
There's another thing you should remember. And that's all you have to do, just remember it. And that is... reassurance. Your pet knows you better than anyone else. Give him the reassurance that you're there for him and that you're going to have a good time together. He knows your voice. You're the one he trusts. So give him confidence in this new traveling environment. Provide him with the things he needs to make his trip as safe and enjoyable as yours, and I'm sure you will have many fun excursions together for years to come.