Traveling and Your Pets – Planning Rest Stops
When you take a road trip with your pet, it’s important to plan specific stops in order to give your dog a bathroom and water break.
Find rest stops along your planned route. If you have a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, use the search function to find rest stops. National Parks can also be good stopping points, as they have human bathrooms and grass for doggy business. Websites such as www.interstaterestareas.com and www.maps.google.com can be used to find rest stops if you have a pre-determined route.
Allow your dog to stretch its legs. When dogs sit or lay for extended periods of time, it puts stress on their joints and limbs. Over time, this strain can contribute to obesity, arthritis, and heart conditions. Take your dog for a short walk around the rest area when you stop. Remember to always have your dog on a leash in an unfamiliar environment, especially when there are other dogs around.
Give your pet water. Dehydration can lead to serious complications, like organ failure, collapse, and heatstroke. Give your dog water at every rest stop, at least every three hours. Make sure to pack your own water – not all rest stop have water fountains. Also, collapsible water bowls save space in luggage and are easy to stow and clean.
Never release your pet in unfamiliar territory. When on the road, never take your cat out of its carrier! There is no doubt that your cat is faster than you, and will escape. Your dog should always be on a leash at a rest stop as well. Keeping your pet contained at the rest stop will prevent them from being hit by cars, and will keep them from wandering off.
Bring proper waste disposal equipment. If your dog happens to do their business while at the rest stop, do the right and cleanly (as well as lawful!) thing and pick up after them. While doggy bag dispensers are available at some parks and stops, it’s important to always have a few on hand. Dispose of the waste in a trash can or flush it down a toilet.
Feed your pet on a break during long drives. For car trips over six hours, you should feed your pet. Make sure to bring proper food and a bowl. Feed your animal during a stop; if you give them food while the car is in motion, it can cause nausea and vomiting.
Road trips with your pet can be a fun bonding experience. However, pets need breaks too! Plan to stop at a rest stop for trips longer than four hours to provide a chance to feed and water your pet, as well as allow them to go to the bathroom. Always keep them on a leash or in their crate, and pick up their messes! With the proper planning, traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be a hassle.