Summer is the time when many of us hit the road for adventure, often with our best furry friends. Here are a few tips to keep everyone safe, comfortable, and happy on your journeys.
1. Plan a vet visit before you go, especially if you are going on a long trip or over state lines. Make sure you have an up-to-date copy of medical records (including proof of rabies vaccination, which you may need if entering another state), microchip with correct information recorded, and an adequate supply of any medications your pet needs.
2. Call ahead to make sure your pet is welcome at any planned stops. There are many pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and other venues but it is important to check ahead. If you are hiking in or near a National Park, be aware that many do not allow dogs on the trails, even with leashes (this includes Mt. Rainier and the Olympics). Pets are generally allowed in the campgrounds and on trails in National Forests.
3. Pack a separate bag for your pet, stocked with leashes, bowls for food and water, poop bags, a first aid kit, a few favorite toys, litter and some sort of litter pan for cats, wipes, treats, a few towels, any medications needed plus medical records, and a blanket or bed. Your pet needs a collar and ID tag. It’s best to bring water from home, and don’t forget the food! Never assume that you can buy your pet’s food along the way. If you will be at the beach or hiking, it’s nice to have a container of water in the car just for rinsing off sandy or muddy paws.
4. Restrain your pet properly in the car, with a harness, car seat, or carrier. Pets should not be in the front seat and should never, ever be on your lap if you are driving! Keep heads inside, especially on the freeway, keep your car cool, and make plenty of rest stops. Never leave your pet alone in the car during any stops.
5. Don’t feed your pet too much before a long drive. A light meal or snack is best, with a normal meal once you are settled into your destination.
6. Try to keep to a schedule of feeding and exercise as best you can. Pets like routines, even on a new adventure!