Taking pets with you travelling, for either relocation or vacation purposes, can be a nightmare. It can be hard to find ways of conveniently taking your pet with you, whilst keeping them safe, healthy and comfortable. We tend to forget that our four-legged companions need a little extra to keep them safe when travelling as well, leading to unforeseen problems and injuries. Here are some safety tips on how best travel by car with your pet.

Getting in

This isn’t usually one we think of, but joints of older or frailer dogs can be damaged by them jumping into the boot or seat of your car. And while smaller dogs can simply be lifted inside, larger dogs are more difficult to carry. Doing so strains yourself and can be uncomfortable for your dog as well. This is at the top of my safety tips simply because it’s such an easy thing to overlook, but can cause some serious problems if you’re not careful. Smaller dogs can break their legs from just a few feet and can put some serious strain on all dogs.

So make sure you’re using something like a dog ramp to help your pet climb up into your car, without any risk. Decent dog ramps are non-slip and have high-grip surfaces so that they can get up easily and large rubber feet to give a stable platform and also to protect your car from any scratches or scrapes the ramp would otherwise cause.

Keeping them safe in accidents

A surprising amount of people let their pets roam free in their car whilst driving. While it’s convenient and easy to keep them unrestrained, it poses a serious risk to both them and anyone in the car. If you stop suddenly or get into an accident, your beloved pet becomes a deadly high-velocity ball of fur, risking both their life and yours. This is another important part of safety tips, as it can seriously injure passengers.

Depending on what your pet likes, they might prefer to stay in the boot of your car, providing a safe, enclosed den that they can feel comfortable in. Or perhaps on a lead clipped to a seat belt (with a body harness of course) so that they can be close to you without risking lives.

Making sure they’re comfortable

Car trips can be hours long, so it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable. Make sure they’re comfortable being in a car, especially since some animals can panic in tight enclosed spaces. I always tend to pack a travel kit for anything beyond a 30-minute trip. Try bringing toys they like, and the essentials, such as food, water, bowls, waste scoop and a few plastic bags.

To reduce stomach discomfort, make sure they only have light meals beforehand, and light meals throughout the trip if necessary. Bring lots of water, and remember to never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Temperatures in a car can easily reach 70C on a hot day (158 Fahrenheit!), so it’s really not worth the risk.

I hope these few pointers can help you plan the best trip possible, and maybe inform a few people along the way. Remember to stay safe!

Incredible Planet Staff

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