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How to Travel in a Car With Pets

Ridhima Ahluwalia, 24-May-2009

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Travelling With Pets

It’s advisable to let the pet travel in the back. Also, roll up the windows as they can get hurt with their necks hanging out

Planning a getaway? And without your best pal? Not possible. For people like me who simply love their pets and devote time and attention, one of the question that disturbs me while travelling is how am I going to get my buddy safe to the final destination? If this is a question that has bothered you at some point of time, read on.

Put your pet at ease

Start by putting your pet in the car with the engine off. Let him wander around and get familiar with all those “car smells”. Next time, let your pet get used to being in the car with the engine running. Make him adopt a quiet behaviour so that he does not annoy other passengers or the driver. Your pet should be well trained to follow basic obedience commands.

The basics

Sometimes a few basic precautions can make the journey a safe, stress-free, enjoyable and successful one for you and your companion. Dogs look cute when they keep their head outside the windows during the car trip but it can damage their eyes or cause other health problems. Pets like cats are generally scared of cars, but some will adapt more easily if they get their cosy corner or favourite place in the car.

ome companion animals shouldn’t travel at all. If your pet is very young or very old, sick, recovering from surgery, or pregnant, then leave better it at home.

Your pet’s travelling kit

A vital thing one should keep in mind is the pet’s travelling kit, which contains food, dishes, favourite treats, blanket, brush, bed etc. Don’t forget to bring along fun toys too as they will keep your pet contented for hours. Before letting your dog travel, ensure your dog is healthy. Check with your vet at least a week prior to travel to make sure all vaccinations are completed and there are no health problems. Also keep some sedatives prescribed by the veterinarian, and anything else that the animal needs for safety and hygiene. Don’t forget to clean your dog before and after the trip.

Keep your pet ship-shape, even on the move

Keep your pet ship-shape, even on the move
Keep your pet ship-shape, even on the move
  • Get a health check up done by the vet before the trip is set to start.
  • Do not feed your pet just before you begin a long road trip.
  • Bring ice cubes along to quench your pet’s thirst.
  • Do not set the AC temperature too cold while driving.
  • Take regular breaks during which the animal can drink.
  • Go for a walk with your pet during the break.
  • If you leave the car for a long time, take your pet along. If that is not possible, park in the shade. Never leave your pet unattended in a hot car.
  • Make possibilities for better ventilation in the interiors of the car.
  • Add a temporary ID tag to your pet’s collar with your contact details where you can be reached in case the pet is lost.

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Important tips for safety

  • Use the travel crates as these inventions are very handy. Make sure the dog is totally accustomed to it well before the trip.
  • Buckle the pet using the regular seatbelt on the rear seat.
  • Use a harness that attaches to the seat belt, and to the pet, in order to keep them secure in the car.
  • Don’t forget the leash.
  • Travel crates are useful, but make sure the pet is accustomed to it
  • Secure the pet properly using the seatbelt or a safety harness to ensure their safety. Better still, get a cage if your car is spacious

Secure your pet

Securing your dog not only keeps him safer in case of an accident but also means a safer drive for you and other passengers since an unsecured dog can become a dangerous projectile in an accident. Let your pets use safety restraints when they travel.

Insurance for your pet

Most people would get their own insurance done, then why ignore your buddy? Get one for him too. There are many insurance companies like The New India Assurance Co Ltd, National Insurance Co Ltd and Aviva which insure pets against death due to accident or disease.

Check with hotels

If you plan to stay overnight in a hotel, you should first check if animals are allowed. If you are planning to travel by air, it is important to take extra precautions to protect your pet. The risk of flying with your dog is minimal if you follow some basic tips (see box). Just a few precautions and a careful plan can mean a safe and happy journey for you and your beloved pet. And of course, don’t forget the camera! Have a safe and memorable experience with your pet and cherish those special moments.

Buckling down the pet

Process and Preserve

Pets can be a danger to themselves and every other passenger when travelling by car. If your beloved pet is not strapped safely on the rear seat then there is a good possibility that it might cannonball into the front passenger and driver during an emergency stop. In such a case the pet would probably sustain severe injuries which it would be unlikely to recover from.

Using a harness in the car is not unkind, and most pets will actually feel more secure being restrained from constant motion. It is safer for everyone if you are involved in an accident that your pet is confined. Imagine a scenario where your pet was free to roam while you were possibly injured.

A loose pet could run straight into the oncoming traffic and could cause yet another accident.

Flying with your pet

Flying with your pet
  • Certify your pet’s health before the air travel.
  • Do not tranquilise your pet unless it has been prescribed by the vet.
  • Book a non-stop flight early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are cooler.
  • Mark your pet with its name, a tag stating LIVE ANIMAL, contact information and colourful electric tape to make the kennel identifiable and easy to see.
  • Once on the plane, ask the flight attendant to confirm your pet is safe in the cargo hold.
  • Carry a leash so you can walk your pet before you check in and after you reach the destination.

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