Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling
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There are many factors involved in deciding whether or not to bring pets along when traveling

Animal lovers with travel plans often face the difficult choice of taking a furry family member along for the trip or leaving a beloved pet behind.

Travel with pets can present a distinct set of challenges, and frequent travelers must address a number of pet safety considerations while preparing to take an animal along on a journey. Consider the following:

  1. Health
  2. A pet's health must take top priority when leaving home for an extended period of time. It is recommended that travelers should take pets to a vet no less than two weeks before departing. A qualified veterinarian will administer a complete physical and bring all vaccinations current before the trip begins, and some vets will apply flea and tick preventatives to ensure continued health.

  3. Diet
  4. What a pet eats before traveling and on the road can play a significant role in his or her health during travel. Food composition and even water additives vary from location to location, so the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends packing some bottled water and food before leaving home.

    In addition, according to the ASPCA, a pet should eat at least three hours before departure with periodic snacks at rest stops. The organization cautions against feeding a pet inside a moving vehicle.

  5. Equipment
  6. A number of commercially available products help ease the process of taking pets on the road. At a minimum, pet owners should invest in a quality crate or carrier before leaving for travel; these devices can prevent injury in a vehicle collision while on the road and act as a familiar bed while staying at an unfamiliar location.

    Some additional recommended travel equipment includes a brush or comb, a six foot leash, towels or blankets, a first aid kit, a travel-friendly set of food and water bowls, a waste scooper, grooming supplies and a favorite toy. Furthermore, pets should be given ample time to become familiar with the crate or carrier before hitting the road.

  7. Car Concerns
  8. Travelers journeying by car face a special set of pet safety concerns. The frequent starts, stops and side to side motion common to automobile travel can wreak havoc on motion-sensitive pets. Securing a pet's travel crate inside the vehicle to minimize this motion as much as possible is highly recommended.

    Allowing pets to ride in the front seat is a practice that should be avoided as this position can make them more vulnerable in an accident. The ASPCA notes that pets allowed to stick their heads out of moving car windows become susceptible to ear and lung infections and some may be injured by passing objects. Lastly, travelers are advised to never leave a pet alone in an unattended vehicle for even a short amount of time.

For more information, visit the ASPCA's website.

Content Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017
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