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On the Road With Your Pet!

Travel by car is often the mode of transportation chosen by pet owners, and one that many pets thoroughly enjoy. A car trip can be fun for both pets and their people, since it offers them an opportunity to view the scenery, travel at their own pace, and enjoy rest stops and walks along the way.

For a safe, fun road trip:

Make sure your pet is fit for traveling. Older pets in particular, or those who have medical conditions, should be examined by a vet prior to travel. If your pet shouldn't travel, or doesn't enjoy it, find a responsible and trusted kennel or pet-sitter. Take frequent rest stops so that you and your pet can stretch your legs and take a bathroom break. Pets have been known to escape out the car door, so be sure he is securely restrained before opening the door.

Keep your pet in the back seat. It's safer for both you and him, and will help to prevent him from distracting the driver or getting in the way in case the driver needs to perform some emergency maneuvering. Please don't allow your pet to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck, even if leashed - many dogs have jumped or been thrown from the truck and suffered serious injury and even death.

Consider the use of a restraint such as a kennel or a pet seat-belt. It will offer extra protection in case of an accident, as well as prevent nervous or excitable pets from distracting the driver.

Don't let your pooch hang his head out the window. Flying debris can be kicked up from tires or it can fall off the car or truck in front of you. Any of this may hit your pet and can cause injury.

Offer water regularly. Pets can become dehydrated, just like we can. Keep a supply of cool water and a dish in the car. You can even freeze small containers of water for travel.

Keep your pet comfortable. In cold weather, pets should have adequate warmth at all times and thus should not be left alone in the car for extended periods. In warm weather, be aware that even a few minutes in a hot car can cause serious damage. It can even be fatal! Consider alternatives such as having a picnic instead of eating in a restaurant, or take turns staying with your pet if he cannot accompany you on an activity.

Bring appropriate documentation just in case.

Make lodging plans in advance. It can be a challenge to find rentals that will accept your pet, particularly at the last moment. By booking ahead, you will ensure that both you and your pet have a safe place to stay.

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