Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pet Summertime Safety: Road Trip Fun

Summer is the perfect time to hit the open road for a road trip! There's nothing better than cruising along with the windows down, your hair blowing, rocking out to your favorite song, and your furry friend in the seat next to you. Some dogs love car rides, others (like Cora) aren't big fans of road trips, but either way it's important to consider your pets needs when planning and leaving for a road trip. I've teamed up with PetSmart to give some tips to pet owners on how to road trip safely with your furry friend.

1. Know your dog. This may seem silly, but if you're a new pet owner it may take awhile to figure out if your dog is a fan, or not of car rides. An easy way to find out is taking them on small trips- to the car wash, the drive through pharmacy, the beach, etc. Even if your dog is not a fan of the car constant exposure can help them become more comfortable with the car.

2. If your dog gets car sick talk to your vet. Sometimes Cora gets so nervous in the car she will vomit, the first time we took her on a road trip she barfed in my new car I wasn't a happy camper. Our vet gave us medicine to give her a few hours before we leave to ease her anxiety and prevent her from losing her lunch. I'm not a fan of medication of any kind, but it really does help Cora calm down, and saves my car from smelling like vomit.

3. Before you hit the dusty trail make sure you've packed items for your pet. You'll need the obvious food and water, but remember to bring and medication your pet is on, toys, and their bed. 

4. Make the car ride comfortable for them. During road trips I always lay towels down in the back for Cora to lay on because it provides extra cushion and she always has access to water and some toys in case she wants something to do. Cora is always really hot so I always have the A/C cranked way up and blowing on her and she enjoys every second of frigid air (while my teeth are chattering). 

5. Don't let your puppy lean out the window. Yes the wind whipping in their face feels good and there is tons to smell, but it's just not safe. If your pet leans out too far they can fall out and get hurt (or worse). Keep your pet safe by cracking the window so they can't lean out, or get your pet a seat belt

6. Don't let your pet walk around while you're driving. If you have to break suddenly they can be tossed around and get hurt, which is not the way you or your pet wants to start a vacation. If your pet can't sit still consider getting a pet seat belt or using a carrier to keep them safe and secure.

7. Remember to take potty breaks. You may be able to go 6 hours without a potty break, but your pet might not. Get out stretch and take your dog (on a leash) to walk around, sniff, and go potty. It can prevent you from cleaning up a big (and smelly) mess in your car and your dog will thank you. When you get out remember to give your pet a drink of water. Some pets are too nervous to drink in the car, but once they're on solid ground they may chug a gallon of water, another reason potty breaks are needed.

8. If/when you stop NEVER EVER leave your pet in a hot car for any length of time!! Pets can't sweat the same way we can and they overheat much faster than we do. Even if you're filling up gas or grabbing a quick snack, take your pet with you. 

9. When you get to your final destination give your pet time to settle in. Going to a new place can be scary since they won't know their surroundings, so bringing their bed and toys can make that transition easier. I always set up Cora's bed and dishes exactly how they are at home so it's something familiar for her. 

Wherever the road takes you and your furry friend this summer remember to consider them in all aspects of your trip. I'd love to see where you like to take your pet on vacation or hear any tips you have for traveling with your pet. Share photos and tips and use the hashtag #NewPetPartner so I can see and feel free to tag me on instagram! Happy trails!

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