If you’ve followed the tips in our first post about traveling with your pet, pooch or kitty should now be pretty comfortable with the car.
But before you set off on the family vacay, there’s one more to-do to tackle: Where you’re going to stay. Unfortunately, not all hotels are pet-friendly. Fortunately, sites like PetTravel.com and PetsWelcome.com help you find hotels that also welcome four-legged family members. As a side note, campgrounds are a great alternative for pet-friendly hotels especially when traveling with cats—not as many hotels accept cats as dogs. GoPetFriendly.com is our go-to resource for campgrounds. Call before you book online to double-check that they still have a pet-friendly policy and to find out if they have any restrictions.
Hitting The Road
Now you can open the car door and load up! The best and safest way for pets to travel in cars is in a crate in the back seat or section of the car. Place the crate so that it’s facing forward to reduce any motion sickness. Put comfortable bedding and your pet’s favorite toys in the crate too. If your pet is going to be in a seat belt harness, make sure it’s in the back seat and away from any airbags to avoid injuries if it deploys. And of course, don’t forget your pet’s backpack!
If you’re wondering if you should feed your pet before you leave on your trip, our vet expert Dr. Laura recommends not feeding your pet a big meal before they travel by car. If you must feed them, give them a quarter of their normal portion size.
Once you’re on the road, Dr. Laura recommends making frequent stops along the way – at least once every three hours. Pooches will need a bathroom break – check online to see if there’s a dog park nearby and what local leash laws you need to follow (they vary by state). Don’t forget to attach a dispenser full of doggie waste bags to your pet’s leash so you can pick up after your pet. And of course, give your dogs and cats fresh water every time you stop.
Because pets prefer to be contained in small spaces when they’re in unfamiliar places (like a hotel), keep them in their crate in the room – they’ll feel secure and less stressed. This will also prevent them from damaging any of the furniture and making messes!
Two final tips from Dr. Laura: If you have a high-energy dog, make sure they get lots of exercise before you retire for the night, otherwise they might start barking and annoy other guests. Hotels will usually give you one or two warnings and then ask you to leave. And keep a bottle of disinfectant stain and odor remover handy for giving your pet’s crate a quick clean in the hotel bathroom whenever needed. With these tips handy, you can ensure you have a great family trip with the entire family!
Did you use any of our tips to plan your trip or while you were on the road? Let us know in the comments section below!