We’re always recommending safety tips and products for pets and when it comes to extended trips, like driving cross-country or through different states, but there’s more to hitting the road when it comes to traveling with a well-restrained animal. Before you go on your adventure, check out some of these tips when it comes to traveling with your four-legged friend:
According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), a CVI (Certificate of Veterinary Inspection) is required when importing and exporting animals across state lines. But in most cases, companion animals and pets are not included when it comes to certification requirements because of these exceptions:
- Traveling through the state for a short period of time
- Being transferred directly to a specific facility
- Taken to a veterinarian’s location
- Entering the state for an exhibition, show, tournament or fair
Minimally, some states may require proof of current vaccinations and some forms of health records on an animal, so it might be easier to simply obtain a CVI from your veterinarian if you travel a great deal with your four-legged friend.
Map Your Route
Long road trips always require rest stops along the way, which are really places you can get out of your vehicle, stretch your legs and perhaps use the facilities. While animals are usually welcome at official “rest stops,” look for other pet-friendly locations on the way, like dog parks or restaurants that permit animals in outdoor eating venues.
Lengthy time spent in an automobile or other mode of transportation can be uncomfortable for people as well as our cats and dogs. While we all know better than to leave an animal alone in a car, while we’re traveling with them, keep in mind you should:
-Carry plenty of food and water in a spill-proof, sealed container along with clean dishes
-To reduce the risk of them becoming car sick, try and feed them at least an hour before departure times
-If your animal does have a problem with motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about possible remedies like ginger capsules available at many health food stores
-Make sure your car’s heating and air conditioning are both operating properly and use them while driving according to the outdoor temperature
Be sure you provide shade in the area where your pet will be traveling, even in the winter months, it can be uncomfortable to ride in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
Do Your Research
Finally, before arriving at your final destination, make sure to do some research on possible wildlife found in that particular area and whether or not they pose a threat to your pet. Most states have a website that describes the wildlife that’s indigenous to their area, usually found at a fish and game venue. While wildlife usually doesn’t pose too big of a risk for companion animals, it’s always better to be safe and aware rather than uninformed and at risk to exposure.
Enjoy your time on the road with your pet and make the journey as comfortable as possible for everyone involved. There’s no reason we can’t be safe and secure when we’re traveling on the road with our animals.
By Amber Kingsley
Just like humans, many pets are living longer today. Thanks to improved veterinary care and dietary guidelines, pets are enjoying longer lives with their loved ones. However, the longer lifespan of our pets often means that owners and veterinarians must know how to care for pets during their senior years. Most veterinarians agree that cats and dogs reach the geriatric stage at age seven, though some larger breeds of dogs are considered to be seniors when they are six because of their shorter lifespans. If you have a pet nearing their senior years, you may be concerned about how to best care for them. We offer four tips for caring for a senior pet below, so that you can help ease your four-legged friend into their twilight years more easily.
- See your veterinarian regularly
While old age certainly is not an illness, it does carry with it certain health concerns that become more prevalent. That’s why regularly scheduling visits with your veterinarian is a good idea as your pets age. Being proactive will help your vet identify health problems sooner, and it is much less expensive to prevent disease in your older animals than it is to treat it.
You also may consider asking your veterinarian to conduct a body condition evaluation of your senior pets during their visits. During these checks, your vet can determine whether your pet is at an ideal weight. Extra weight is not good for animals at any stage of their lives, but it can be especially detrimental to their health during the senior years, which leads to our next tip.
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight
It is not in your senior pet’s best interests to be underweight or overweight; yet, studies show that nearly 50% of all dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese, and the percentage increases among senior pets. Obesity in animals is a health risk, just as it is for their human owners. Overweight dogs are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases, and cancer. They also commonly develop serious joint complications including arthritis and hip dysplasia. Overweight pets also have a more difficult time tolerating heat and breathing.
To keep your senior pet at a healthy weight, choose a high-quality food that is appropriate for his species, age, and size. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best pet food and nutritional mix for your senior pet in addition to how much and how often to feed him. Avoid feeding your pet people food because it contributes to weight gain and can spur other medical problems.
- Make sure your senior pet gets plenty of exercise
Of course, regular exercise for your senior pet is one way to help him stay at a healthy weight. However, pet owners need to be sure they are exercising their senior animals in appropriate ways. Discuss exercises with your vet if you are unsure where to begin. In most cases, a daily walk is an ideal exercise for senior pets. If you work and are unable to walk your dog every day, consider hiring a dog walker from a company like Rover. Dog walkers are happy to get your pet outside for a healthy walk when you are unable to do so. Other exercises that usually are safe for aging pets include play periods with toys or family members. Do not play too roughly and make sure your pet has access to water while exercising.
- Keep your dog’s teeth healthy
Many owners fail to recognize the importance of dental health for their senior pets. Older dogs and cats are susceptible to bacteria if their teeth have been neglected for a period of time. Tartar builds up and leads to gingivitis, which can allow bacteria to get into your senior pet’s bloodstream and damage his organs. One way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums in good condition is to do regular brushing at home and ask your vet to do yearly cleanings. Monitor your senior pet’s teeth and gums and make sure you report any concerns to your veterinarian immediately.
Pet owners want to see their pets live long, healthy lives. That is possible if you provide proper care for your senior pet and follow the tips we have suggested here.
Image via Pixabay by tpsdave
Article by Caroline Hampton
Not all pet-friendly hotels are created equal since pet policies and fees will vary. For example, some hotels may only allow pets smaller than 25 pounds, while others may only accept dogs.
With so many hotel chains on the road, you may be thinking about hitting the open road with your four-legged friends. To help make your planning easier, here are some popular hotel chains that are more than welcoming to pets.
#1 Motel 6
This budget minded hotel chain was one of the first chains to allow pets. Conveniently located along all major highways, Motel 6 is a favorite among travelers looking for a stay along their travel route. All Motel 6 properties allow service animals and well-behaved pets (unless they pose a safety risk or are prohibited by law). And the best part is that they stay for free.
#2 Red Roof Inn
This hotel chain does a great job of welcoming your four-legged friend; in fact, they even have a Facebook page dedicated to them called “Red Roof Luvs Pets.” All of Red Roof Inns 345 locations are pet-friendly and all of them allow pets to stay for free. Their motto is, “You Stay Happy, Pets Stay Free!” (note from blog owner: Perhaps Red Roof has changed their policy because we have been charged pet fees at some locations.)
#3 La Quinta
Well behaved pets are welcomed at all but 4 of their 800+ La Quinta locations. La Quinta is known for offering quality service and providing its guests with many of the features and amenities offered at high-end hotels. Most importantly, La Quinta does not charge pet fees. When booking online, be sure to mention that you are traveling with your pet in the “Special Requests” section. If calling to book, be sure to let the reservation agent know.
#4 Kimpton Hotels
Kimpton Hotels are a super pet-friendly boutique hotel chain that raises the bar when it comes to being pet-friendly. As part of their program, hosPETality, in addition to pets staying free, any number of pets are welcome regardless of size, weight, kind, or breed. Each Kimpton Hotel offers its unique pet-friendly services and amenities. Be sure to check them out if you are looking for some serious pet pampering.
#5 Indigo Hotels
Many of the Indigo Hotels will call you before your arrival to see if they can enhance your stay beyond your expectations. On arrival, you will receive a dog goody basket. Hotel Indigo in Downtown Asheville, for example, even offers custom dog treats with your pet’s name on.
They will also provide you with bowls, beds, toys and complimentary scoop bags. One unique feature of their pet-friendly program are their canine cocktail parties, known as Yappy Hour. During this hour, guests, their four-legged friend, and locals mingle over cocktails and snacks. The best part is that some of the money raised goes to the local animal shelter.
Indigo Hotels do have some weight restrictions in place, which differ between the individual hotels, and they also charge a one-time fee that ranges between $40 to $75.
#6 Loews Hotels
On arrival, you will receive a welcome package that includes treats, a golden pet tag, bowls, scoop bags and vouchers for local pet-friendly establishments. In your room, you will find comforts such as beds, litter trays, scratching posts, rawhide bones and even pet DVDs. They also offer pet services, such as pet-sitting and pet-walking.
Loews Hotels endeavor to wait on your paw and foot, and they have room service menus that have been especially created for pets by their award-winning chef. If your pet is the adventurous type, then you can head over to Loews Hotel, San Diego, where they hold dog surfing competitions. If your dog would rather spend the day being pampered, then consider visiting the Loews Hotels in St Pete Beach, where they offer a professional canine therapeutic service.
All pets are welcome, and they have a one-time fee, which is between $25 to $35.
When staying at any of these pet-friendly hotels, you must always register your pet upon check-in. Also, it’s important to abide by the house rules and follow proper pet etiquette to ensure that you and your dog, cat, or another furry friend is welcomed back.
Below is a great pet travel infographic made by Amber Kingsley. It should be briefly noted that the information on pet crates may be misleading. For one, the best crash tested crates do not always have handles. Nor are they necessary since it would be difficult to lift a heavy-duty crate and a large dog anyway. Also, having your dog ride in a pet crate is better than letting them roam loose in the car, but most crates are not crash tested. In fact, a third party did testing on the typical plastic crates and found they would not hold up in a car accident. So if you’re wanting a crash tested crate, consider the German engineered Variocage pet travel cage. It has been crash tested in multiple crash test scenarios and meets or beats many European standards for safety.
When driving with our dog, usually an image of them with their head out the window, their tongues and ears flapping in the breeze, but this is the most dangerous place for your dog. As any parent of a human child knows, the safest place for smaller riders is in the back seat.
A dog with their head out a window is at risk of falling out of the vehicle, being struck by debris, getting an ear or lung infection, but the biggest threat comes from the car’s airbag. Since they’re designed for full grown adults, not children and canines, a blow from one of these can cause serious injury or even death to a dog.
Here’s ten other tips to remember when we’re riding with our best friend:
#1 – Stopping in The Summer: Beware of black asphalt and sidewalks in the searing summer heat. They can easily burn a dog’s sensitive paws, so “pause” and feel the surface with your bare hand before you let Fido out of the car.
#2 – Bring Water: Always bring water along for the ride, even on short distances. Be sure to watch for signs of dehydration in your pet
#3 – Consider a Crate: An enclosure for your pet is also the safest way for them to travel. Many people don’t realize that flying objects in a car can cause injury or death in the event of an accident.
#4 – Buckle Up: If you don’t want to use a crate, then be sure to buckle up your pet by attaching their harness to seat belt or other device. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, an unrestrained animal can escape through a broken window putting them in danger.
#5 – Don’t Leave Them Alone: We all know the dangers of keeping a dog in a car that’s either too hot or too cold, but your precious pooch could also be stolen.
#6 – Plan Ahead: If you’re going on a long journey, check your route for some pet-friendly destinations to stop along the way. And not just dog parks, a growing number of hotels and restaurants allow dogs.
#7 – Keep Them Busy: Bring along some of their favorite toys and treats. Just like children, bored animals can be very distracting when you’re trying to drive.
#8 – Stop Regularly: Just like the driver and other passengers, especially on long journeys, you’ll want to stop, get out and stretch your legs. You dog might want to relieve themselves, and they obviously can’t say, “I have to go to the bathroom.”
#9 – Keep An Eye On Them: While most dogs who are traveling safely either in a crate or buckled up in the back seat, usually they’ll just go to sleep. But keep an eye on them for signs they could be getting restless or car sick and pull over if necessary.
#10 – Start Out Slow: Before you take your dog on a cross country trip or other extended holiday, start off with shorter trips and work your way up to several hours with them in the car. They’ll be less stressed and also less likely to become car sick.
We don’t have to leave our pets at home when we go on road trips or vacations, but we do need to keep them safe. With just a little bit of extra planning and these tips, you and your best friend can have the time of your life on the road.
By: Derek Petersen
It’s that time of year that a lot of people will be traveling to see friends and family. If you’re like me, you take your furry friends on the road with you. Athena (my Siberian Husky) and Boston (my Chocolate Lab) always get so excited when they know it’s time for a ride in the car. Their eyes widen, ears perk up, and their tails start to wag. Little do they know that it’s not for a short trip, but were heading on an 8-hour drive to see the family. I find that waiting until the last minute to say “want to go for a ride,” works in my favor. Little do they know that I’ve been prepping them for this ride the last couple of days.
There are tips on traveling safe with your pet while in the car, but there are variables that you need to think about before putting your pet in the car for a long road trip. Taking these steps to prepare your dog for a long road trip is imperative to their health and wellbeing during your road trip this year.
Here are some easy steps to follow to ensure your dog has a great road trip:
Feed your dog early. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. It’s important to feed your dog a few hours early to help prevent motion sickness.
Prepare your vehicle for your pet. It’s recommended that you crate your dog for long road trips. If you don’t normally crate your dog, it may be time to rethink that decision. Crating your dog will create less of a distraction while you drive (especially while driving by yourself) which is safer for the both of you. Also, a crate helps to prevent your dog from becoming a projectile if you have to stop urgently, reducing the chance of injury for both of you. A best practice is to exercise your dog before putting them into the crate. A dog that has exercised is more likely to relax in the crate, while dogs who haven’t exercised will have built up anxiety and may not be willing to accept the crate.
Pack a bag with all of your dog’s goodies: dog food, treats, bottled water, dog leashes, waste bags and dog toys (their favorite toy, of course). This pet friendly travel kit should also contain portable dog bowls, dog documents, and a dog first aid kit. Keep the leashes handy, as you will be making frequent stops.
Now that you have prepared your dog and vehicle for the trip ahead, it’s time to plan the stopping spots. If you’re traveling on major freeways or highways, you can count on having rest areas (that almost always have a “pet section”) to stop and let your dog out. There are times you might need to stop and get food, but no matter where you stop, don’t ever leave your dog in the car. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked vehicle can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. On a cold day, a vehicle can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing your dog to possibly freeze to death.
Now we’ve gone through the steps in preparing your dog(s) for a long road trip, and you should be ready for the road ahead. Always continue to learn the best practices in keeping your family, pets, and yourself safe in your vehicle at all times. Buckle up and enjoy your trip!
In determining the best way to protect your best pal when he rides in the car consider your personal preferences, your dog’s behavior, and the type of vehicle you have (a car or an SUV?)….
Continue reading this article about crash tested pet travel products on PetAutoSafety.
Changes to the Pet Auto Safety retail site are coming soon!
By Dawn Ross
PetAutoSafety.com is making a change. As the owner of this site, I’m still going to be traveling safe with my family. But instead of selling pet travel safety products, I’ll be directing you to the places that do. I am changing the site to provide information rather than products. This way, you can do your research on crash testing and such here before buying from anyone.
By providing information, I can help you make an informed decision regarding what to buy. I’ve been selling and using pet travel products for my dogs since 2006, so I have lots of experience.
If you want the safest product for your pet, I know who the best companies are. If you want a less expensive product but one that still provides a measure of safety, I know where to look. If you have a dog that can’t ride in a crate and won’t wear a harness, I know of some alternative products. And if you need a unique pet travel product, I might have some ideas on where look for it.
It’s not just information on products that I’ll provide, though. I have some great ideas for how to get dogs used to riding in the car. I can help you with a checklist so that you don’t forget any of your pet’s things when you travel. And with the help of some folks who are very familiar with crash testing, I can help you understand crash test studies and crash testing information.
Thank you for supporting me through this change. J
Please feel free to comment below and tell me what you’d like to see on our new site.
Article by Richard Casey with 4×4 North America:
4×4 North America and our partner, MIM Construction AB, appreciate all efforts to raise awareness about traveling safely with pets. We are gravely concerned, however, about the dissemination of incomplete and inaccurate information about travel safety and crash dynamics, as it is counterproductive to traffic safety efforts. How one travels with pets can mean the difference between life and death for people and pets in an accident, so providing accurate information and sound recommendations is of paramount importance.
Automobile safety ratings incorporate testing for frontal impact, rear impact and rollover performance. This is because automobile safety agencies recognize the unique and significant risks posed to passengers in each of these crash scenarios. They also understand automobile safety features, such as cargo areas and crumple zones, and how they must respond to protect passengers during accidents.
MIM Construction AB has been working in automotive crash safety since 1986. Our MIM Safe Variocage – an automobile dog crate – has been stringently tested in accordance with government automotive crash safety standards in front impact, rear impact and rollover. It has been strategically engineered with the safety of everyone in mind – both people and pets. It has a proven track record of safety for over a decade.
Testing dog crates solely for frontal impact, and not incorporating actual vehicle safety features or assessing the impact to human occupants, presents an extremely limited and false representation of real crashworthiness and safety. Proposing that vehicle cargo hooks and cargo straps alone can adequately protect passengers from heavy cargo, such as a dog crate, contradicts safety recommendations made by national automotive safety agencies and automobile manufacturers, putting families and their pets at increased risk of serious injury and loss of life.
We believe that there should be regulations for traveling with pets and standardized testing for assessing the safety of pet travel products. It is critical, however, that these regulations and standards incorporate all aspects of crash testing and work together with vehicle safety features. This is the ONLY way to help people travel safely with their pets.
For further information and/or questions please feel free to contact us:
4×4 North America, Inc.
(Note from the blog owner: 4×4 North America is not a partner of, affiliate for, or parent company of Nature by Dawn, LLC for PetAutoSafety.com and PetAutoSafetyBlog.com. They are our supplier of AllSafe dog car harnesses and Variocage dog crate products and we strongly endorse them. 4×4 North America is the primary US distributor for these products, which are engineered by MIM and KleinnMetall in Germany. These two German companies have over 40 years of combined experience with developing crash tested products for pets. Their experience with pet travel safety is far greater than any independent studies conducted here in the US. While US institutions for pet safety do exist, they are fairly new and are still learning their trade. This is not to say that some aspects of their testing are not valid, but their testing may not be complete. This is an important factor to consider when making a decision on which pet travel safety product to buy for your dog. If you have any questions about the AllSafe and Variocage products and their European crash testing, please contact 4×4 North America as indicated above.)
No, it’s not Wordless Wednesday. It’s Words on Wednesday because I can’t seem to post without saying anything! This time, it is my Maya that has something to say. Check her out in the back seat wearing her Kurgo dog car harness and have a good laugh at what she has to say:
And just so my Pierson isn’t left out, here’s what he has to say about car ride fun:
Funny, right? Seriously though, check out this important safety message: