Holiday gatherings with family and friends are even merrier when you can bring your pets along. It’s always best to plan ahead when you’re traveling with pets in the car. If you have a long road trip coming up, the vets at East Valley Animal Hospital want to help you keep your pets comfortable along the way. Here are our best tips for stress-free holiday travel.

Five Tips for Traveling with Pets in the Car

1: Use a Crate or Carrier

The best way to keep your pet safe in a moving vehicle is to travel with them inside their crate or carrier. Crates provide an extra level of security in case of accidents or sudden stops. Crates also help prevent bolting—sometimes when pets get nervous, they will leap out of a stopped vehicle and run away. It will be easier for you to attach a leash while your pet is still in their crate. Nobody ever wants to lose a pet, but it does happen from time to time. Make sure your pet is microchipped before you depart, just in case.

2: Bring Bottled Water 

To prevent car sickness, it’s best for your pet to travel on an empty stomach. However, depending on the length of your trip, they will still need a small snack every few hours and plenty of fresh water to drink. Pack their food and water bowls so they can refresh themselves when you make a stop. Purchase a gallon of drinking water before you go, or fill up a large jug at home—tap water from other townships could upset your pet’s stomach and make them feel queasy. 

3: Make Frequent Stops

If you’re traveling with a dog in the car, make frequent stops so they can stretch their legs and do their business. Always use a leash! Don’t let your dog roam free among strangers or moving vehicles, and never stop along the highway. Pull over at a rest stop and check the signs to make sure you’re walking your dog in the designated area. Don’t be in a rush to get back on the road—let your dog take their own time to sniff around and find the right spot before you get back in the car again.

4: Bring Toys and Treats

Having their favorite toys or blankets in their crate will help ease any anxiety about unfamiliar surroundings. Toys will also keep your pets from getting bored during the long hours cooped up in the car. Bring their favorite treats along, too, and reassure your pet with words of praise. If you know that car rides make your pet anxious, you might also want to invest in a few CBD treats for your trip. CBD helps ease anxiety, and your pet might even fall asleep and nap along the way.

5: Play Soothing Music

Because you will have to concentrate on driving, you won’t be able to calm your pet with direct attention, but the right music can help. Make a playlist of calming sounds and songs for your journey, or cue up your favorite holiday carols for a road trip sing-along. Even if humans don’t appreciate your singing voice, your pet will love it if you serenade them with “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” 

Dedicated Vet in Gilbert, Arizona

Before you depart, you should also make sure that your pet is up to date on all their vaccinations, especially if they’ll be interacting with other pets. If you’re traveling to another state, be sure to bring along a copy of your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate. 

When you bring your pet in for a checkup at East Valley Animal Hospital, don’t forget to ask us any questions you have about traveling with pets in your car. We want to help make your holiday season as fun-filled for your furry friends as it will be for you. Give us a call at 480-568-2462 to schedule an appointment today.

Photo by Jean-Lui Piston on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 12/07/2021.