During the holiday season, it is common for people to make their way across the country to join their families for the festivities. When you choose to take a road trip from one state to another, it can be tempting to want to bring your pet with you. Road tripping with your pet may seem like an impossible task, especially if your furry friend is not a fan of car rides. But there are ways to make your journey more successful when you bring your pet along for the ride.

At Hillsdale Animal Hospital in Advance, we know that being with the ones you love during the holidays is important, and that includes your pet. If you are traveling this holiday season and hoping to successfully take a road trip with your pet, read these tips! They can help you learn how to survive a road trip with your pet.

Preparing Your Pet

When you choose to bring your cat or dog on a road trip, you need to be prepared. There are many things you can do to help make your road trip easier for them and you. Follow these tips below!

Tags and Microchip

You don’t want to spend your holiday trying to find your pet after they have run away. If your cat or dog gets spooked and runs off, you want to be able to easily find them or make sure if someone else finds them, they can return your furry friend to you. Be sure that you get tags and a microchip for your pet that are up to date. Even if your pet doesn’t wear a collar at home, you will want to make sure they are wearing one during your travels.

Practice Runs

To help get your pet prepared for the road trip, be sure to do some practice runs and let them get used to being in the car. Let your cat or dog explore the car, get familiar with the scent, and comfortable being in your vehicle. It is likely that dogs have taken more car rides than cats, so your pup may be more used to the car and may not need as much of an introduction.

If you have a cat who rarely rides in the car, start by simply sitting in the car with them. Allow them to explore and get used to the layout of the car. Sit with them and feed them treats, this will help them feel more calm and comfortable in the car. After you let them get used to the car itself, start taking them on short rides to get used to the movement. If you plan on using a cat carrier (which we recommend) be sure to put them in there during a few test drives so they are used to that as well.

You can help your dog get used to the car as well by taking them on short rides. Again, if you plan on putting your dog in a crate, let them get used to it before you take off for the long trip.

Pack the Necessities

Your pet is a like a child, especially when you head on a road trip. You will want to make sure you have everything they will ready and packed. Make sure to bring some of their favorite toys, treats, a blanket if they have one, and the essentials. Be sure you pack enough food, treats, their leash, toys, and any other items you can bring to help keep them calm. This will help make the trip much easier. You can also talk to our vet clinic about medication that can help reduce your pet’s anxiety and stress.

Before You Leave

Before you take off on the long car ride, you will want to do a few things. To start, feed your pet a few hours before leaving, this will allow them to digest and go to the bathroom before you leave. You will also want to tire your pup out. This is not as important for cats, but hyper dogs can be a pain in the car. Bring your dog to a dog park or play with them for a while before leaving. This will help keep them be more relaxed during the ride. You will also want to plan a pet-friendly route, there are many rest stops that include dog areas where your dog can play and run for a while. If possible, try to stop at these rest stops to give your dog a needed break.

During The Drive

After preparing, actually making the trip is all that is left to do. At this point, you just have to prepare for the worse and hope everything goes well! Be sure to have your leash ready at all times, you do not want to open the door and have your pet jump out while you struggle with the leash. You will also want to keep your pet entertained with their favorite toy. Bring something that they can play with or chew on during the drive. This will help distract them. Be sure to make frequent stops. If possible, try to stop at least every three hours. We understand that making stops so often can cause your road trip to take a lot longer, but it is important for your pet, especially your dog, to get out, stretch their legs, and take a bathroom break from time to time. During these rest breaks, be sure to play with your pet and allow them to get rid of some of their energy.

Leave Them Home

While we understand that you want to travel with your pet, sometimes it is more work than it is worth. This is especially true if you are only going to be gone for a few days and have a long drive ahead of you. This is when Hillsdale Animal Hospital can help! We offer boarding services as well as our Hillsdale at Home service. With our Hillsdale at Home pet service, you can leave your pet home and rest assured knowing they are in our care. We will make multiple visits to your home daily and offer overnight stays as well. Or you can board your pet at our vet clinic during your vacation. They will have everything they need when you board them with us! If you choose to leave your pets at home this holiday season, be sure to let Hillsdale at Home help. We will make sure your pet is cared for and has everything they need.

To learn more about our boarding or in-home care pet services, be sure to contact Hillsdale Animal Hospital in Advance. We will answer any questions you have! If you are a new client, be sure to fill out our registration form!