Monday, April 20, 2009

Road Trip with Your Pet

I've been away from this blog for longer than I intended due to sickness. This has been a VERY LONG WINTER here in the Rockies. Signs of spring are coming, though, despite the consistent snowfall -- robins are appearing, grass is greening (thanks to the extra snowfall!), and the sun is shining (finally!).

My husband and I took a weekend trip with our two dogs recently, something we’ve not done in quite sometime. It was a pleasant journey, at least for a few of us. Sage, our blind dog, no longer travels well, and she stresses about being in the car, even for a short while.

Cody, the Cocker Spaniel, on the other hand, lays down and sleeps, sometimes so peacefully that he snores! It’s an amazing difference between the two.

Once at the two different hotels we stayed at, we all relaxed for the night. The beds were king-sized (don’t often get that in hotel ‘pets allowed’ rooms!), the rooms were large enough that Sage, the blind one, could more easily navigate, and the prices were very reasonable (of course, it isn’t really the travel season yet!). We did have to pay an extra charge per pet per night, but nothing extravagant, and I’m grateful for that, especially traveling with two dogs.

During our journey, we stopped at one particular rest stop where a young man had also stopped with his two dogs. He had a van loaded with stuff, from skies and a shovel on top of the vehicle, to a bench seat with blankets on it for the dogs inside. I smiled, both inside and outside, when I saw this guy with his two 4-legged friends. Not only did he exercise them at the rest area, but he provided them attention and the vital substance called water and he played with them outside at the pet designated part of the rest area. It was great to see! He obviously enjoys his four-legged companions and was having fun traveling to wherever he was going with them.

I thank the people who are responsible for creating pet areas at highway rest stops. I thank the hotels that are pet friendly and allow us traveling pet owners places to stay with our furry friends. I thank pet owners who not only take their pets on trips, but who provide them the stimulations they need and the basic necessities they require. It’s wonderful to bump into other traveling pet owners. We share smiles, exchange greetings, and often stop and chat about our furry companions. Pets bring pet owners together, and I’m thankful for that, too.

As travel season approaches, here are a few traveling trips for taking your pet on the road with you:

  • Pack enough pet food and also containers of water for the trip. In addition also take along the following: your pet’s food and water dishes, bedding, litter and litter box, leash, collar and tags, grooming supplies, a favorite toy, a first-aid kit, and any necessary medications.

  • Make sure your pet wears a sturdy collar with ID tags throughout the trip. It's also recommended to have a tag on your pet with contact information for your destination.

  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and carry a health certificate with you.

  • Make frequent pit stops. Provide your pet with fresh water in addition to the exercise and bathroom breaks when you stop.

  • Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. Not only can the inside of a car heat up quickly, but unattended pets can be victims of theft.

  • Be sure that your pet is safely restrained in your vehicle. Utilizing a pet safety harness or travel kennel are the best ways to keep your dog safe. Cat should be in carriers for their safety (and yours!). Whatever method you choose to properly restrain your pet in the vehicle, be sure to make their comfort a priority. Simply providing their favorite bed or blanket can help your pet feel more at ease during a road trip.

For more indepth travel tips, visit the Humane Society of the United States' website at or

And, for pet-friendly accommodations, visit:,, or

Happy Trails (and Tails!)