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Caring for your pet on a long trip

Author: MayaAndPierson
December 11, 2012

During vacation periods it can be necessary to take a beloved pet along for the ride.  Good pet-sitters can be hard to find, and anyway, a holiday is much more fun in the company of a loyal, furry friend.

Traveling with pets on a long trip need not be too stressful for the animal or the driver, if good planning and preparations are in place.  Dogs and cats differ when it comes to road travel, dogs being far more amenable to the whole experience.  Dogs seem to enjoy traveling with their owners, so getting them into a car tends not to be a big deal.  Cats however, being of an independent nature, are more accustomed to traveling under their own steam and do not take kindly to being transported in a loud, metal box on wheels.  Many cats head for the hills at the mere sight of a pet-carrier, so owners need to approach the whole travel issue carefully.

Cat travel tips
It is safer to keep a cat contained in a well-ventilated carrier or crate for the duration of the journey, as a panicked cat leaping around the car’s interior is dangerous.  Carriers should be well secured so they do not shift with the motion of the car.

Sticking to a cat’s routine reduces anxiety so keeping meal time regular is important – giving kitty his favorite canned cat food is reassuring while on the move, and the familiar taste is comforting.  Heightened stress levels can lead to cats becoming dehydrated more quickly, so regular drinks of water should be offered.  Plan frequent rest stops during the journey so that food, water and toilet needs can be taken care of.

Some cats travel better if mildly sedated, and this is something that should be discussed with the animal’s veterinarian in advance.

Dog travel tips
Our canine companions are far more accustomed to joining us on road trips.  Whether it’s just around the corner or across country, many dogs simply love the thrill of the open road.  However, if the planned journey is a long distance affair, it is wise to take the dog on a few short jaunts beforehand, gradually getting it used to longer trips.  Make sure a dog has plenty of room inside its carrier to easily turn around and move about.  If they do not respond well to being confined, some canines can be secured using specially designed dog seat belts and pet car booster seats.

As with cats, routine is everything and regular stops for drinks and toilet breaks should be factored in.  Packing a few familiar items such as toys or blankets will be comforting for a dog and help him to relax.  Remember to take along any medications the dog is on, and carry contact details of his veterinarian just in case.  Microchips and identity tags should be in place in case the pooch takes off in unfamiliar surroundings.

Don’t be put off taking a pet companion on a long road trip.  With good preparation it can turn in to a positive and fun experience.  We miss them so much when they aren’t there – so why not take them along with us?

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