January 2 is National Pet Travel Safety Day, but making sure that you’re traveling safely with your pet is always important. Whether you’re one of the 38.9 million people who own a cat or the even larger number of people who own dogs, below are some tips to help you travel safely with your pet.

Pet Travel in the Car

If you are traveling in a car with your pet, you need to make sure that they are secure. If your pet is able to move freely, they can be very seriously injured in the case of an accident. To avoid an expensive and worrying veterinary emergency, make sure your pet is secure.

If you’re traveling with your dog…

Car Seat -Car seats for dogs that make it more secure for them to stay in the car. If your dog usually prefers to lay down and sleep during your car rides, this is a great option. Dog car seats look like a dog bed, but they clip into the seat belt of the car, and your dog is then attached via their harness or collar, making it so they have to stay in the seat while they’re in the car.

Seat Belt Harness -If your dog is relaxed in the car, this is another great option. There are harnesses specifically designed with an extra loop so your dog can be clipped into the car. However, this may not be the best choice if your dog is very hyperactive and tries to move around the car a lot.

A Crate -If your dog is not a fan of the car, putting them in a crate may be the best choice for a car journey. Make sure that the crate is secure in the car and not moving around during the ride.

If you’re traveling with a cat…

Soft Sided Carrier -Some soft-sided carriers have loops in the back so they can be attached to a seatbelt, and they come in a range of sizes. Some are able to fold up and be stored away if you are on your way to a location where you may not have a lot of room to store your cat’s usual carrier.

Hard Sided Carrier -This is a great option if you know your cat will have accidents while you’re driving because it will be easier to clean.

A Converted Crate -If you have the time, converting a dog crate into a small kitty condo is a great option for travel. Install a hammock and put in some of their toys, and you will have a happier cat on your hands. This is also great for once you get to your destination because your cat will have their own space.

Preparing for a Long Road Trip

If you’re planning for long haul pet travel with your cat or dog, here are some tips to keep them happy:

Make Sure You Bring Water -Whether you’re transporting your dog or your cat, you should make sure to bring water and a water bowl for them. Keeping your pet hydrated will keep them from developing issues like a UTI.

Control the Temperature -Make sure that your pet is comfortable by keeping the AC or heat on for them during the ride and at any rest stops. They are experiencing a lot of stress by altering their routines, so make sure you make things as comfortable as possible.

Stop For Walks -This may not apply to cat owners, but if you have a dog, make sure that you stop frequently to let them use the bathroom, stretch their legs, and get out some energy.

Travel Litter Boxes -Make sure that if you have your cat with you, you also bring a travel litter box with you. Although it may not be possible for them to use it during the trip, you will definitely need it at your destination.

To minimize the holiday pet stress your cat or dog may experience, make sure to take their experience into account during your road trip. If you think your pet or pets will be very stressed during your journey, look into boarding your pet or getting a pet sitter. Although you might love having your pet or dog with you, you should consider how the travel will impact them.

At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.