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Tips For Pet Travel

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 15, 2015

Some pet owners opt to board their pet when they travel, but others like to take their companions with them! Here are some tips to make travel easier and safe for both you and your pet, particularly dogs:

  1. Give a calming aid. If your pet is an anxious traveler, using a tranquilizer to reduce stress on your dog is helpful, and can also reduce the potential for carsickness. You can get a travel tranquilizer from your veterinarian and it’s best to test its effect prior to travel.
  2. Consider a seat belt. Dog restraint harnesses will protect your furry friend in the unlikely occurrence of an accident. Several varieties are available, and all are effective in preventing injury should an accident occur.
  3. Stay hydrated. Take a portable water dish and water with you to help your dog remain hydrated during travel.
  4. Have food accessible. Don’t forget dog treats and a small amount of food so that your dog can eat some snacks during routine rest stops.
  5. Walk on grass. When you walk your dog on asphalt and concrete during the hot summer months, it can harm your dog’s feet. Walk medium-sized and large dogs to the grass as quickly as possible, or carry small dogs to the grassy exercise region to avoid hot paved areas. An alternative is to buy small padded boots that your dog can wear to protect their feet.
  6. Avoid hot cars. Never leave your dog in a hot car even with the windows cracked. Heat stroke can occur within 5-10 minutes, especially in pugs, bulldogs, and other short-nosed breeds.
  7. Bring health records. Take a copy of your dog’s health records and your routine veterinarian’s phone number with you in case of an emergency. Any veterinarian will appreciate this information if an emergency occurs.

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