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Road tripping with your best furry friend can be fun, or at least less stressful than leaving your beloved pet behind with a boarder. To ensure the comfort and safety of both you and your pet, there are precautions and travel tips you should prepare for ahead of time.

Your pet, dog or cat, should wear a collar with tags that display the pet’s name, your name, your cell phone number and proof of rabies shots. Take safety one step further by having your pet microchipped. Note that if your pet already has a microchip, it’s a good idea to call the company and update the information if anything has changed. Keep photos of your pet (physical or on your cell phone) with you in case your pet gets lost and you need to show people what it looks like.

Pack a supply of your pet’s regular food, bottles of water, medications, a spill-proof water bowl and some favorite toys. For dogs, bring toys that will keep them busy, such as durable chew toys or hollow toys that can be filled with food. For cats, bring toys filled with catnip and a small scratching post, along with a portable litter box.

Before leaving, ensure that your hotel or campsite allows pets and that your pet meets any restrictions that may be enforced. Also, make note of nearby emergency animal clinics en route and at your destination(s).

If your dog has car-related anxiety, plan an adjustment period a week or so before leaving. Sit in the car with your pet in the driveway and slowly build up to short rides that end someplace fun like a park. Dogs that are prone to car sickness should go for rides on an empty stomach during this process. If not, try feeding your dog a meal in the car (while it’s not running) so you dog can associate the car with something pleasant. If your cat has car-related anxiety, pet stores sell a variety of products designed to promote feelings of calm and comfort, such as catnip products and pheromone-infused products.

The safest place for your pet to travel is in a crate that’s strapped down in the backseat. Pets that have free range of the car can easily distract the driver or become seriously injured or die if an accident were to occur. A crate can also be used to prevent your pet from damaging a hotel room or your host’s home. Crates should be well-ventilated and large enough for your pet to comfortably stand, turn and lie down. Line the crate with absorbent padding, such as a potty pad, underneath a soft cushion or bed.

Your pet should always have access to water. You may choose to make frequent stops for potty breaks, stretching and rehydration. If you stop less frequently, freeze a bowl of water that your pet can lick to stay cool and hydrated. Even with a water supply, never leave a pet unattended in a car, particularly in extreme cold or heat.

Road trips with pets require a lot of pre-planning, but all of that hard work can lead to a fun experience for you and your pet to share.

Road trips also call for proper protection of your car. Call Guardian Insurance at 770-277-4779 for more information on Lawrenceville auto insurance.

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