Ah, vacation. Is there anything better than planning a fun getaway? The excitement of going somewhere new (or somewhere you’ve been 100 times!), the relaxation, the carefree mindset. The only downside, it seems, is leaving behind your furry friends. It’s hard to fully enjoy a vacation when you know your pet would love it as much as you do.
The answer to this dilemma – take a road trip! Road trips offer the best of both worlds: vacation and time spent with your pets. Taking a road trip with your pet can be such a fun adventure for both of you, and with a bit of planning, may end up turning into your favorite vacation to date. Here are our 6 tips for having a safe and fun road trip with your pet.
6 Tips For Road Tripping With Your Pets
1. Make a plan. Taking a roadtrip with your pet involves a bit more planning than just loading them into the car and puttering away. Keep in mind that your pet may have forgotten what it’s like to ride in a car, or may only have negative experiences riding in cars (going to the vet is anxiety-inducing for everyone involved). Plan to take your pet out on several shorter car rides, gradually lengthening the time spent in the car, prior to your road trip. This will ease your pet into the idea of riding in a car for longer periods of time.
2. Pack their paperwork. If you’re planning to travel across state lines, be sure to pack your pet’s rabies vaccination records. While this generally isn’t an issue, some states will require this at certain interstate crossings or checkpoints (check out the list of states that require it here). Better to be safe than sorry and have to turn back!
3. Plan your route. It’s important to ensure regular breaks throughout the road trip so your pet stays comfortable and happy. Plan to take a 15 to 30 minute break every 4 hours to allow your pet to stretch and relieve themselves. Also, check out this helpful planner tool for traveling with pets – just input your destination and it will provide pet-friendly options for hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and more along the way. Having a planned route at a leisurely pace will be more enjoyable for everyone – including you!
4. Prepare a bag. Separate out your pet’s items from your own and have the bag handy. Items to pack include: food (at least a 3 day supply), bottled water, a bowl, leash, collar with ID tags, an old towel, waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first aid, and any travel documents. Stick to providing your pet bottled water, as drinking water from an area that your pet isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort or digestive issues. Also, be sure to bring your pet’s pillows, bedding, and toys to provide a sense of familiarity while traveling to an unknown place.
5. Tether while driving. Don’t allow your pet free reign of the car while you’re driving. Not only are unrestrained animals a distraction, they could potentially harm you or themselves while you’re operating the vehicle. A 60 lb. dog becomes a 2,700 lb. projectile in a sudden stop or accident at 35 miles per hour. Small animals like cats, rabbits, or rodents can climb under the pedals and prevent you from operating the vehicle. Harness or buckle your pets in, or place them in a secured crate – it’s safer for everyone!
6. Arrange for care at your destination. If your final destination is at a place or event that will not have facilities for animals, such as a wedding or graduation, arrange for care at your destination. The unfamiliar environment will cause your pet more anxiety than at home, so be sure that your pet is being cared for by professionals. Also, this is a no-brainer, but do not leave your pets unattended in the car – even for a short amount of time. On a hot day, even with the windows open, your car will trap heat and become a furnace. On a cold day, a car can act as a refrigerator holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
Now that you have the tools, it’s time to plan your next road trip with your pet! Metromile offers Pet Coverage to cover the cost of any pet injuries in case of an accident when you are on the road. Pet Coverage is included with collision coverage on all policies (not available in IL or VA) at no additional charge. Metromile’s Pet Coverage provides up to $1,000 in the event your dog or cat is injured as a result of a covered claim. Click here to get a quote with Metromile today!
Are you a road trippin’ vet? Do you take your pets with you every time? Sound off with your best tips for road trippin’ with your furry friends in the comments below!
Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram.