Some families sign their pets names at the bottom of the Christmas cards, so this years bring them along to celebrate the holidays.
According to the AAA, 91.3 million Americans will be hitting the roads to visit friends and/or relatives 50 miles or farther from home this holiday season. And many of them will be making the trip with one or more family pets in tow, rather than have them boarded or sat with back home.
But taking Fido or Fifi along on a road trip has its own challenges, both for the pets and their owners.
The first consideration when taking one’s animal companion over the proverbial river and through the woods, according to VetIQ.com, is perhaps an obvious one. Determine ahead of time whether your dog or cat is welcome wherever you’re headed, whether it’s a hotel or a relative’s house. Hey – the holidays are stressful enough than to force others to put up with a “surprise” visitor. Then there’s the issue of whether or not the family dog or cat is fit for travel in the first place. Health is an obvious consideration, but so is a dog or cat’s travel demeanor; spending hours confined in a vehicle with an unduly distressed or carsick pet is no fun for all parties concerned. Most cats abhor car travel on a good day. See a veterinarian if you think your pet will require sedatives or anti-nausea medication.
Otherwise, experts suggest it’s prudent to only feed a pet lightly before disembarking and provide fresh water along the way for longer trips, but only when the vehicle is stopped, of course, to avoid spillage. Be sure to bring along a comfortable mat or bed and a favorite toy. We’ve had good luck leaving a towel or small blanket out ahead of time to absorb both the scents of home and our cats as a calming tool. And ensure the pet is wearing an ID tag with your name, address, and phone number in case he or she gets loose at some point and runs off.