It’s been half a year since any of us boarded a plane for a leisurely vacation. But, nearly six months into the pandemic, folks are itching to travel. While planes are currently a relatively safe option, we know that most are still hesitant to spend hours in a confined space with a bunch of strangers. Instead, people are ditching their boarding passes and embarking on road trips – sometimes just a few states over, sometimes across the country. The road-tripping trend is so strong that Americans are buying “COVID Cars” to travel as safely and flexibly as possible.
This type of travel forces a confluence of pandemic trends – pet adoption and car buying. We know that you’ll want to bring Fido or Fluffy along for the impromptu vacation, but there are a few steps you’ll want to take before jumping on the road. Here are a few things to consider.
Preventing Heat Stroke in Pets
Bringing your pet on a road trip means, at some point or another, you’ll consider leaving him in a parked car. We want to caution all pet parents against this. Vehicle temperatures rise very quickly, and heat stroke can be deadly for animals. Even if you’re dashing out to pick something up, you risk your pet’s life by leaving them in the car.
However, we understand that you’ll need to leave your pet in the vehicle when doing tasks like pumping gas. If this is the case, remember to crack the windows and closely monitor your pet’s behavior. If possible, pour some water into a bowl while the car is stopped. This gives your animal the option to re-hydrate if they begin to feel too hot.
Remember to Stop for Breaks
While you may be comfortable driving for 12 hours straight, Fido won’t. If you have a dog in the car, you’ll want to stop for a break every couple of hours. It doesn’t have to be long, and your pet doesn’t even need to use the bathroom. The opportunity for an animal to stretch their legs, run around, and get some water will make the journey that much safer and more enjoyable.
Set Up a Pet-Friendly Car Space
You’ll want to clear a space in your car for your pet to comfortably rest. Think about the minimum airline kennel size for an animal; your pet should be able to stand up, sit down, and spin around in this space without difficulty. We suggest folding down or removing a seat to create this pet-friendly space. Cover the floor with a blanket and pee pad, just in case.
We also suggest investing in a car safety harness or seat belt for your pup. We know most folks won’t keep their animal buckled in for the entire trip, but you’ll want to make sure he’s strapped in for especially treacherous parts of the journey – like driving through cities with lots of starts and stops.
Understand Your Pet’s Limits
Some animals feel like they’re built to travel. They don’t have a problem staying the car, and they always seem to have a good attitude. On the other hand, some animals don’t have the temperament for a long-distance road trip. Before setting out on your trip, you’ll need to think hard about your pet’s limitations. Does it make sense to bring them, or will they be happier at home?