8 Tips for Long Car Journeys with your Pet
We may not be able to hop on a plane and jet off to an exotic destination any time soon. However, one type of travel that most people can do at the moment is to go on a car journey. Whether a local day trip or a longer adventure, a car journey is a great way to get a change of scenery, explore new places and spend quality time with our loved ones.
For pet owners, this can include spending quality time with our pets. In fact, one of the great advantages of travelling by car is that you can easily take your pet with you. However, there are some things to consider to make sure the trip goes well for your furry friend: here are 8 important tips for long car journeys with your pet.
1. Take Some Test Drives
Before you set out on a long car trip, it is a good idea to test out driving with your pet first. Take them for some shorter jaunts so that they can get used to driving in the car. You can start with a very short drive and gradually build up to longer drives as they get accustomed to it. This is also a good opportunity to see if your pet suffers from carsickness. Dogs in particular can suffer from travel sickness, so if this is the case for your dog be sure to see your vet before your trip as they will be able to prescribe medication.
2. Plan Ahead
A successful road trip comes down to good planning, and this is particularly true when it comes to travelling with a pet. Make sure you plan your journey in advance to include pet-friendly spots. Make sure that you find restaurants, sites and accommodation that will welcome your furry friend. Additionally, if your pet eats specialist food like VisionaryPet, make sure you have a supply with you as this may not be easy to buy on the road.
3. See Your Vet
Before you set off on your trip, make sure you visit the vet first. Be sure to do this with plenty of time to spare too: you should see your vet at least a couple of weeks before your journey in case your pet needs vaccinations. It is also important to do a general health check to make sure that they are fit enough to make the trip, and to organise any necessary vaccinations. There is nothing worse for you and your pet than them falling ill while you’re away!
4. Take Plenty of Breaks
Once you’re on the road with your pet, it is important that you take regular breaks along the way. If you are travelling with your dog, they’ll need to take the opportunity to get some exercise and relieve themselves. These days, it is common for motorway service stops to have dog walking areas that will allow you to walk your dog. This will give you a welcome break from sitting in the car too! When taking breaks, make sure you keep your dog on the lead at all times.
5. Keep your Pet Secured in the Car
All too often, people think they can let their dog be loose in the car. However, just like humans, this can be very dangerous in case of an accident, as well as having the potential to become a hazardous distraction. Instead, you should secure your dog with a harness or seatbelt, which can be purchased at most pet shops. Other options for keeping your pet safe and secure in the car include a cage or crate.
6. Give your Pet a Light Meal
Giving your pet a large or heavy meal just before setting out on a long journey is a recipe for disaster, as this will likely lead to them being sick in the car. Instead, give them a light breakfast, ideally three or four hours before you set off on your journey. You can then give them a more solid meal when you arrive, which also serves as a treat to reward them for their good behaviour on the road. Additionally, you should never feed your dog in a moving vehicle for the same reason.
7. Don’t Leave your Pet Alone in the Car
As you progress on your journey, you may be tempted to leave them alone in your parked car, while you pop into a restaurant or a tourist attraction. However, this is something you should absolutely never do! On even mildly warm summer’s day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to high temperatures, and put your pet at dangerous risk of dehydration and heat stroke, which can be very harmful in dogs. Likewise, in winter, the temperature inside your car can plunge to dangerously low levels. The takeaway: always take your pet with you when you park.