We all need an escape every now and then. And, with all of the restrictions from this past year, an adventure on the open road may sound especially delightful. But, what about your beloved pet? Your dog or cat has been your constant, loyal companion through it all. What should you do about them? Whether you bring them on your road trip or find a caregiver, here are some suggestions to make your pet most comfortable during your getaway.
Should they stay or should they go?
If you’re debating whether or not to bring your pet:
- Consider their personality. Some dogs and cats are simply more timid than others. You know them best. If they are prone to anxiety or aggression, it’s best for both of you to leave them at home.
- Take a test drive. Most dogs have ridden in a car before, so you probably have a pretty good idea of how they behave in a vehicle. Cats? Maybe not so much. See how they do! It may take a few car rides for them to get used to it. Try buckling your cat into a seatbelt harness first, and if it causes too much stress, try keeping them in their carrier while in the car. Being in an enclosed, familiar space may help them feel calm and secure. A shirt, blanket or towel with your scent on it placed in the carrier may help as well.
If they go:
- Find pet-friendly accommodations. Call ahead to ensure that the places you intend to stay are welcoming of dogs and cats.
- Purchase a pet seat belt. Free-roaming pets in a vehicle can be dangerous for them and you. Safely and comfortably restrain them with a car leash, harness or carrier.
- Plan lots of pit stops. Not just bathroom breaks, but exercise breaks too. Bring their favorite toys to play with them and get some energy out before starting the next leg of your journey. Don’t forget plastic bags to pick up after your dog at rest stops, and a litter box for your cat. Plan to stop every 3-4 hours or more.
- Pack water, easily portable food, and a bowl. Tiki Pets cups and pouches are perfect for traveling. Also bring treats to keep their spirits up during the long car ride, like: Tiki Dog and Cat Stix™ wet treats, Tiki Cat Soft & Chewy, and Tiki Dog Air-Dried Morsels.
- Make a trial run. Take your pet on a half-day trip to give your pet a preview of their adventure to come. It’ll help you mentally prepare as well.
- Consider bringing a crate. If your dog or cat is used to sleeping in their crate or carrier at home, having their own dedicated space in a hotel room will make them feel most comfortable. Travel crates feel like theirs at home but are collapsible to maximize space.
If they stay:
- Choose a caregiver. If you have a severely anxious pet or a senior pet that doesn’t respond well to stress, consider finding a trustworthy pet sitter who can come to your home to care for your pet. If your pet has special medical needs, consider boarding them with your veterinarian’s office. Otherwise, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations on great pet boarding facilities in your area.
- Make a feeding plan. Buy enough food for as many days as you’ll be gone, plus another day or two, just in case. Ready-to-serve meals that don’t require measuring, like Tiki Dog® Taste of the World cups or Tiki Cat® Aloha Friends pouches make it easy for you to plan and for caregivers to serve.
- Provide detailed instructions. Make sure your pet’s caregiver knows your pet’s needs – how much and when they eat, their typical routine, any medicines, etc. – and leave two ways to get a hold of you in case of an emergency.
- Have their medical records on hand. Most boarding facilities require copies of your pets’ vaccination records to ensure that it’s safe for your pet and others’ to stay there.
Whether you bring your pet on your journey or not, planning ahead can make the getaway more enjoyable for both of you. Happy travels!