How to Travel Safely with Your Pet in Hot Weather

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If you’re planning to travel with your pet this summer, you’re probably familiar with the precautions regarding vehicle safety (never leave your pet in a closed car on a sunny day, or even with windows cracked). That may seem like a no-brainer, but think it through before your departure. What will you do, for instance, when you want to pull off and eat at a restaurant? Where will you leave your pet?

Here are some things to consider for safe travel with your pet in hot weather.

1. Medication
Depending on where you’re headed on your vacation, making sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and parasite/pest prevention is important. If you’re going camping, you will need to be particularly aware of ticks. Unfamiliar parasites may pose a threat if you’re traveling out of the country.

A first aid kit is a good idea for man and beast, especially if you are going to be on the road a lot or in the wilderness. Antiseptic, tweezers and bandages are the minimum that should be in such a kit. So make sure you take the necessary precautions before heading out to a new place.

Is your pet prone to motion sickness? If so, your vet should be able to recommend a medication of some sort to help with that.

2. Preparation
Before heading out, clean and exercise your pet. Car rides can get very long in “pet years”! And you want your animal to be clean when you arrive. Sources recommend not feeding your pet for a few hours before the trip, or leaving a few hours after your pet has eaten.

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3. What to Bring
Regardless of the kind of pet you have, you’ll need to bring along certain things. Here is a minimal checklist.

-Toys (a few favorites)
-Catnip to calm your cat in transit and after arrival
-Chew toys to keep your dog occupied
-Food and water bowls
-Leash, collar, ID tag
-A few old towels to cover car seats, hotel beds, etc.
-Plastic pick-up baggies to clean up after your pet
-Litter and litter box for cats
-Brush and flea/tick comb
-Crate or carrier

4. In the Vehicle
Buckle up your pet with a special pet harness, which acts as a seatbelt for pets. If your pet is in a crate or carrier, then this can be strapped in/strapped down as well. Crates and carriers are essential not only for the car but for wherever you’re staying. It can be a safe haven for your pet and can act as a bed at your destination. In the event of an accident, pets tend to survive better if they ride in a carrier or crate, sources say.

Every few hours, let your pet out (on a leash) to walk. Always use a leash; animals can act different in new surroundings, and someone may also steal your un-leashed pet. If you have a cat, teach him or her to use a harness and leash before you head out on your trip.

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