Doís and doníts for travelling long distance with your pets

September 2015

We all know how our pets are actually members of the family, welcoming you home after work and cuddling with you for Ďmovie nightí. Their character becomes part of your life, and youíll do anything to keep them safe and healthy. But what about when itís time for pooch or kitty to jump into the car for the drive down to the coast? What should t you do to make their journey comfortable and enjoyable journey?

The first thing to acknowledge is that for a pet to be cooped up in a vehicle for an extended period of time is a particularly strenuous affair.

Keep your pet restrained
It is generally recommended that the animal be restrained or confined to a dedicated area in the vehicle, whether in a crate or box, or in the back of the car with a pet net to keep them contained. This will avoid potential hazards like the animal jumping around and distracting the driver or getting in the way of pedals, and it will stop them being thrown around the car in the event of a sudden stop or impact.

You can also buy a safety belt clip that attaches your dogís harness to the seat belt. 

Get the right crate
Speak to your vet about the best crate for your pet. Remember, you have airbags, they donít. 

Practice makes perfect
Get them used to travelling with short local trips before your long journey. Make the destinations fun; if they have a fear of travelling because an uncomfortable visit to the vet is usually at the other end, they wonít be keen on going to the beach. 

Back seat only!
Do not let them sit up front. Airbags are designed to cushion humans only, and with their explosive force, which sees them deploy at over 300 km/h, they can cause grave injury to pets. 

Deactivate windows and lock doors
Deactivate your electric windows and make sure the doors are locked. A paw in the wrong place at the wrong time could easily open the window or even the door, and the sudden freedom might be too good to resist. If the animal sticks their head out and the window starts closing as well, they risk choking. 

Padkos and loo breaks
Take a large container of water with you, in case there is no water available where you stop. Also, make sure you stop regularly so both you and your pet can stretch your legs. Remember to pack the leash. Let them enjoy some fresh air, fresh water, and use the loo, cleaning up behind them when necessary. Take note of their behaviour in the car, if they start whining, it might be time for a loo break.

Itís also important to maintain the animalís regular feeding schedule, so as to reduce the amount of disorientation involved in travelling.

Overheating isnít just a car problem
Keep the windows closed while driving, but make sure fresh, cool air is available, animals get hot a lot quicker than we do. Letting your pet stick their head out the window isnít necessarily a ďfresh airĒ experience for them. Their hearing can be damaged by the wind and they risk bugs and dirt flying into their eyes.

Do not leave your pets in the car on their own for more than a few minutes if you have to leave the vehicle. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise extremely quickly, and slightly-open windows wonít help much.

Doctorís orders 
Take your furry friend to the vet for a check-up before you hit the road and make sure that their vaccination certificate is up to date.

It is also generally advised that very young, very old, pregnant, recovering-from-injury or ill animals should not be transported. Ask yourself if taking the animal on a long journey is in their best interest?

Pack a petís first aid kit, with items such as bandages, antiseptic cream and gauze, and ask the vet what they recommend specifically for your pet. Make sure you have your vetís emergency contact numbers with you l, and ensure you know where a vet is located near your destination.

ID, please 
Is your pet identifiable? Make sure they are wearing a collar with a tag, and that the contact details are up to date, or that they are micro-chipped. Keep some recent photos with you as well, in case they get lost.

Leave your choke chain at home
It is recommended that a nylon collar or harness is used for dogs when travelling, as the use of a choke chain involves high risk of death by choking, should the chain get snagged on something in the car.

Traveling with your pet or even pets should not be taken lightly. Prepare carefully for the journey and remember to speak to your vet if you have any concerns.

Source: Arrive Alive

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