For advice, it’s best to go to an expert. Gerardo Perez-Camargo - Purina Global Pet Welfare and Behavior Manager - takes his shelter-adopted Labrador Retriever and his cats almost everywhere. Here are some of his tips for traveling safely with your pet.
If you’re going by car, it helps if you can get your pet used to going longer distances, little by little, starting with short rides. Be sure to harness your pets anytime they’re mobile. It’s no different than having a baby in the back seat. Your pet will not be able to fight inertia if you should suddenly stop or hit something. You can buy travel harnesses that come across a pet’s chest and clip onto a safety belt. These help promote your pet's safety and help prevent your pet from interfering with your driving.
Always practice safe driving habits and remember: If your pet isn’t secure, neither of you is safe.
Time Your Feeding
Since a full stomach might be uncomfortable for your pet during travel, try not to feed her too close to departure time. If she’s going to get car sick, there’s a higher probability it will be toward the beginning of the trip.
Just like Home
The more comfortable your pet is, the better her trip will go. Petcentric recommends you bring her bowls, a leash, some toys, a crate, any medicines she may need and grooming equipment. You might also bring a spill-proof bowl and hollow toys you can stuff with food, like the Kong®. Both are ideal for quiet time in the car, campsite or hotel. You’ll never regret bringing a waste scoop or a few grooming supplies either.
When Gerardo’s on the road, his cats come too, in a carrier big enough for them to turn around and lie down comfortably. Disposable litter boxes have made cat travel a lot more convenient too. For more tips on safe car travel with a cat, visit here.
Staying in a Hotel
If you’re planning an overnighter, many hotels allow trained and appropriately restrained pets. Most will charge a small fee of $10 to $50 per pet. To find pet-friendly hotels, use our Petcentric hotel finder tool.
Off the Beaten Path
Gerardo takes his pets everywhere, including the great outdoors.
One of his favorite destinations is the Smoky Mountains, partly because he enjoys watching his dog splashing about in the ponds. “Just make sure when your dog returns to dry land, he is kept on a leash. With wildlife around, you don’t want him running off. And keep a basic emergency kit in case your pet does go off-leash and gets injured.”
Gerardo also stresses the importance of checking their paws. “If they walk on hot ground, it’s easy for that sensitive skin inside the paw to burn. Also check paws for seeds or small, sharp rocks. If they pierce the skin, it’s not only painful, but it could also lead to infection.”
If it’s hot outside when you return to the car, run the A/C a bit before you re-board. If you’ve brought your portable water dish, now’s a great time to re-hydrate while the car cools off.