I can’t believe everyone wanted to take me for a drive! I don’t know why Millie the cat seems so upset — I’m having sooo much fun slobbering on the seats, and climbing up to look out the windows, and… hmm… I could use a bathroom stop. Anyone?
Max is realizing this “drive” is longer than he thought.
Millie, Max’s cat sister who’s a bit older, probably wasn’t nuts about taking a ride in the car, short or long.
If you’re planning a summer road trip, you’ve probably considered getting a pet sitter or taking your dog or cat to a kennel, but sometimes it really is best to bring your furry buddies with you. If they can make the trip comfortably, they’ll get to enjoy everything that’s on the other end with you — friends and family members, new sights, and adventure.
So the trick is getting through the drive while keeping everyone safe and comfortable. While some dogs get excited for car rides, not all dogs react the same way. And most cats universally dislike riding in a car. Why? Well, it’s a strange new environment, it moves around in a weird way, sometimes making pets sick, and cats especially can feel scared because they’re closed away in a carrier and can’t utilize their usual technique for escaping situations they don’t like: walking away.
But take heart — a pet-friendly road trip is possible. Here’s what you’ll need to know.
What Max and Millie Need Today:
- Nicely-sized carriers, harnesses, or dividers. Millie, and any cat riding in a car, should be in their carrier. For long trips, the carrier should be big enough that your cat and stand, sit, and turn around. Small dogs should ride in carriers as well, to avoid them climbing all over the driver and potentially causing an accident. Larger dogs can be secured with a seat harness, or given a section of the car to call their own with a divider.
- Set covers, towels, beds, and blankets can help save your car’s upholstery from fur and occasional drool — and potentially even a potty mess. Your pet’s own blankets or bed can also help them feel more comfortable, since the familiar smells will help them feel that not everything is changing after all.
- Leashes and collars so that your pets can take pit stops with you.
- Poop bags, litter, and a litter box, so that wherever you go, your pet can… you know… go.
- Calming or carsickness remedies. Talk to your vet about whether a carsickness remedy might keep your pet feeling at ease and keep them from getting sick.
- Food, water, bowls, and toys. You’ll want to bring with you a little collection of everything your pet would use in a day at home. It’s better to bring your pet’s normal food than to buy different kinds along the way, since changing foods can cause stomach upsets. And bringing along your pet’s favorite toys will help them feel at home in brand new places.
What Max and Millie Won’t Like Much:
- Being underfoot. Make sure your pets are safely secured, so they can’t get into a jam somewhere between the luggage, or engage in acrobatics that will cause confusion while you’re driving your car.
- Not being given enough bathroom time. No one wants to have to clean up a potty mess, so be sure to let your pets stretch their legs and use the bathroom at least as often as you’d stop for a bathroom yourself. Cats who aren’t good with leashes may have to settle for a cuddle-session and a small-size litter box, but if your cat will wear a harness and leash, let them out of the car for a bit at pit stops. Puppies and senior dogs will have to go more often than dogs in their middle years, so try to plan a few extra stops.
Plus, take a look at all these other great travel tips!
Vestibular Disorder in Dogs – The vestibular system is what keeps all mammals oriented, so disturbances can result in nausea, like becoming carsick.
5 Steps to a Safe Drive with Your Dog – Take a quick look at these 5 essential tips for driving with dogs.
Train Your Dog to “Load” Into Your Car – Make travel easier on yourself by training your dog to get into the car on command.