AskPatty Certified Female Friendly Logo

« Look Before You Leap..I mean Lease! | Main | What's Your Thought on the Automotive Bailout? »

November 17, 2008

Tips for Taking Four-legged Friends on Holiday Trips

Dog_42 As travelers make their way to holiday destinations this year, many will be taking pets along for the ride. Many of the AskPatty staffers have pets of their own, so we know that -- like the rest of your family -- you don't want to leave them behind when your family is traveling to special celebrations.

Don't forget: your pets' safety, comfort, and compliance with local rules of the road should be considered with each trip they take. If you're planning a road trip with your pets, Jiffy Lube has shared a list of safety tips to help to make the trip safe and enjoyable:

  1. Dogs and cats need to be secured properly, both for their safety and yours. Several states now require animals to be secured in vehicles. Plus, approximately half of the states have fines for not restraining pets riding in vehicles. Also, do not allow them to ride in seats equipped with frontal airbags, which could injure them severely in an accident.
  2. The ASPCA cautions against allowing pets to ride with their heads out the window of a moving vehicle where dirt or debris can injure their ears, eyes, and noses. Not only do they risk being hit with a flying object, but they are also at risk of inner ear damage and lung infections. The first and best option is to crate your animal for the duration of the trip. Cats should always be confined to a cage or in a cat carrier to allow them to feel secure and prevent them from crawling under your feet while you are driving. For large animals, a more feasible option is to use a special harness that attaches to your vehicle's seatbelt. Crates and harnesses are available at your local pet store, though many automobile manufacturers offer a dog guard/compartment divider that keeps pets safely in the rear cargo area of station wagons, "crossover" vehicles, and SUVs.
Dogs-in-car The noises and movement from car travel make many pets anxious. This anxiety can be expressed through barking, shaking, excessive drooling or even vomiting. Prepare your pets for a long trip well before you plan to leave. Start slowly by getting them used to being in the car. Once they are a little more comfortable, condition them with short trips around the block, gradually extending the duration of these trips. If your pet still suffers car anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about medications. Also consider keeping stain and odor remover in the trunk, just in case of an accident.
  • Don't feed your pet right before you plan to leave. Instead, give him or her a light meal a few hours in advance. Never feed your pet in a moving vehicle. If your dog has a problem with carsickness, your vet can prescribe medication that will help the dog feel comfortable during a long car trip.
  • Just as you will on a long trip, your pet will need periodic pit stops and stretch breaks, too. Bring along a leash, water and small treats, as well as a favorite toy the pet can play with for some exercise.
  • If you're planning overnight hotel stays, be sure to check in advance whether the hotel has pet-friendly policies.
  • Dog-restraint Traveling with pets in the car  brings special challenges that, fortunately, can be met with a bit of forethought and careful preparation of both the vehicle and pet. Subaru and the American Veterinary Association have created an excellent little brochure with lots more information to help make it easier to travel with your pets. Click here to download a color copy of the AVMA/Subaru Traveling With Your Pet brochure.

    We wish safe holiday travels for all your family members, and your pets as well!

    Car Advice Podcasts for Women

    Visit us at


    TrackBack URL for this entry:

    Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tips for Taking Four-legged Friends on Holiday Trips :

    comments powered by Disqus

    comments powered by Disqus

    Find Cars For Sale

    Car Advice

    Ask The Experts!

    Help Our Charities