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90 Road Travel Tips Continued: Pet Travel

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This year marks the 90th anniversary the Rand McNally Road Atlas. To celebrate, we’ve condensed some of our road travel experience into 90 tips—45 of them in the atlas itself and 45 more in this series of four articles. Tips #71–#78 help you keep your pets healthy and happy on the road. You can find these tips and more in the Travel Tips section of this blog.

#71: Think twice before bringing Fido or Fifi. Not all road trips are suitable for pets—and not all pets are well-suited to road trips. Consider leaving your animal at home if you plan to drive for long stretches and/or your pet is elderly, large, nervous, suffering from a medical condition, and/or prone to carsickness. You want every creature on the trip to be comfortable, after all.

#72: When you do bring them, prep animals for travel. Before the big trip, take a series of increasingly longer drives to get your pet used to being in the car and the carrier or harness.

#73: If your pet has medical conditions, clear travel with your vet. Be sure that all vaccinations and tags are current and that you have vaccination certificates. Stock up on prescription medicines and buy a car-sickness remedy at the pet store—just in case.

#74: Make sure your pet has ID. Those new-fangled tracking chips are fabulous, but the old-fashioned collar-and-ID-tag setup still works just fine.

#75: Pack toys, blankets, and other things that are familiar to your pet. These items should include anything that will help your animal feel comforted while in new situations: bowls, treats, food, and even some water from home.

#76: Never allow your pet to go unrestrained, especially in a moving vehicle. It’s not safe for you or the animal. Although not all dogs need to be in a carrier, all cats should be, and you should secure each carrier with a seatbelt. If your dog is larger or dislikes carriers, try using a restraining harness (or pet seatbelt) instead.

#77: Try to stick to your pet’s walking and feeding routines. Dogs, especially, are creatures of habit.

#78: Never, ever leave animals or small children unattended in a car—regardless of the season. This should go without saying, and yet, every year there are news stories involving tragedy resulting from such actions. So, don’t become a new story.

For additional details and still more pet-travel tips, see RV Travel with Cats and Preparing Your Pooch for Road Travel.