pet news

OCTOBER 8, 2014

Should she stay or should she go?

Deciding whether to take your pet along on your road trip 
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Your dog is your family member, so it's only natural to want to enjoy her company all the time, and take her along everywhere possible. However, the decision to travel with a pet - particularly on an extended road trip - is one that requires a good deal of consideration. There are several questions you should ask yourself before loading Fido or Fifi up in the car, and all of them involve ensuring your pet's ultimate comfort and well-being.

What is your pet's temperament?

If your pet is easygoing and adaptable, taking her along is an easy decision. However, if your pet is nervous, anxious, grumpy, uneasy on car rides, or skittish when it comes to new places or new people, she may not be a great candidate for a trip. 

You also have to consider others as you plan your trip. If you will be dealing with crowds, using public transportation or visiting beaches, parks or pet friendly hot spots, your pet needs to be well-behaved, properly socialized and friendly.

Is the trip one your pet will enjoy?

Make sure that your travel plans include staying somewhere your pet will be comfortable, and doing things she'll be happy doing. For example, if your pet loves an outdoor adventure, a destination with hiking or river romping will be right up her alley. However, if you will be stuck in work meetings and have to find a doggie day care (as many pet friendly hotels do not allow pets to stay alone in rooms), or you're staying with Aunt Bessie and she doesn't have a yard, you may want to rethink the idea of bringing her along. 

Is your pet in good health?

If your pet is sick, pregnant, or injured, it's best if she stays home until she is feeling well. After all, she may need more care than you can give her while you're traveling, and since she can't speak, there's no real way of knowing her actual level of discomfort. Pain or discomfort may even cause a change in her temperament, and you may find that your happy-go-lucky furry friend suddenly isn't such a pleasant travel companion.

If your pet is elderly, but in good health, you will need to make a judgment call - if she is used to traveling with you and still seems enthusiastic at the idea, you can probably take her along with no problem, provided she can still comfortably participate. A quick consult with your veterinarian can help you determine whether car travel is right for an elderly pet.

Are you crossing state lines?

Different states have different restrictions on pets. Some states require quarantines for carnivorous animals, and some require an up-to-date certificate stating that your pet is in good health. It's a good idea to get such a certificate if you plan to travel through different states.
If your pet is healthy and has the right temperament, hitting the road together is a fantastic way to break up the routine with some new adventures, and a great opportunity to bond.
However, even if your pet isn't ideally suited to travel, all is not lost. 

There are many ways to alleviate temperament issues. The right training and coaching can help desensitize your pet to the things that upset her and help her become comfortable with traveling. Be aware that most of these techniques take time, and if you want your pet to be a happy traveler, you must be patient and go at her pace.

If your pet is a nervous traveler, planning shorter trips, or planning trips that would be fun and interesting for her can help her adapt and learn that travel can be pleasant. If she suffers from motion sickness, there are plenty of proven remedies that can help her stay well on car rides, including reconditioning, holistic remedies, or medication.

In the end, with a little bit of patience and work on both your parts, even a reluctant rider can learn to enjoy car trips with you, making traveling with your pet a win for everyone. is the #1 online resource for pet travel.