Pets benefit from extra consideration during road trips

Feather Publishing

  Memorial Day symbolizes the start of summer for individuals, families and their pets.

  But before pet owners start planning trips to the beach and summer getaways, they should keep in mind that it’s important to plan ahead for pet travel and always keep the best interests of their furry, four-legged friends in mind. Traveling with a pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience or a not-so-pleasant one. It’s all a matter of proper planning and preparation.

  Here are top tips from to ensure any Memorial Day getaway with a pet is a safe one.

No heads out the window    Although many pets find that sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it’s not safe. A pet can easily be injured by flying debris. Pets should also never be transported in the back of a pickup truck. Some states have laws restricting such transport and it is always dangerous.

Frequent pit stops

  Always provide frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. Most travel service areas have designated areas for walking pets. Pet owners should be sure to stay in these areas, particularly when their pet needs a potty break, and, of course, bring along a bag to pick up after their pet. When outside the vehicle, make sure that pets are always on a leash and wearing a collar with a permanent and temporary travel identification tag.

Proper hydration

  During pit stops owners should be sure to provide pets with fresh water. Occasionally traveling can upset a pet’s stomach. Ice cubes are easier on a pet’s stomach than large amounts of water.

Watch the food intake

  It is recommended that owners keep feeding to a minimum during travel. Be sure to feed pets their regular pet food and resist the temptation to give them some fast food burger or fries (that never has a good ending!).

Don’t leave them alone

  Never leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in a vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, an animal left alone in a vehicle is an open invitation to pet thieves.

Practice restraint

  Be sure that pets are safely restrained in the vehicle when traveling. Utilizing a pet safety harness, travel kennel, vehicle pet barrier or pet car seat are the best ways to keep pets safe. These devices not only protect pets from injury, they keep pets from distracting the driver.

  A safety harness functions like a seat belt. While most pets will not have a problem adjusting to it, owners may want to let them wear the harness by itself a few times before using it in the vehicle.

  If a pet prefers a travel kennel, be sure it is well-ventilated and stabilized.

    Many pet owners prefer vehicle barriers, particularly for larger pets. Vehicle barriers are best suited for SUVs.

    Smaller pets are best suited for pet car seats. The car seat is secured in the back seat using a seat belt and the pet is secured in the car seat with a safety harness. In addition to its safety features, a pet car seat will prop up a smaller pet, allowing it to better look out the window.

    No matter what method an owner chooses, back seat travel is always safer for pets.

Safe and comfortable

  Whatever method owners choose to properly restrain their pets in their vehicle, they should be sure to make the animals’ comfort a priority. Just as it’s important for a person’s “seat” to be comfortable for a long road trip, a pet’s seat should be comfortable too. Typically the pet’s favorite blanket or travel bed will do the trick. There are also some safe and very cozy pet car seats available that pets may find quite comfy.

  Careful preparation is the key to ensuring that owners and pets have a happy and safe trip.

About is the No. 1 online resource for pet travel. It was named the best pet travel site by Consumer Reports. offers resources to ensure pets are welcome, happy and safe when traveling. The website features a directory of pet-friendly hotels and accommodations across the U.S. and Canada, airline and car rental pet policies, dog-friendly beaches, search by route information, pet travel tips, pet travel supplies and other pet travel resources.

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