Do you travel with your pet? Many owners do with varying degrees of ease or difficulty.
Traveling with pets can be a stressful experience for both owner and pet. Yet, with proper precautions both human and animal travelers can have a safer and less-stressful experience.
Air, car, boat, and other forms of transportation are the means by which you may take your pet on a day trip or overnight stay. Each mode of transportation has its own constraints, so it’s crucial to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Here are my top tips for traveling safe with pets:
While traveling, promote safe transport for the driver and passengers by using a restraining device. Without appropriate restraint, your pet can wander free in the car and distract the driver. Even a minor fender bender can cause a life-threatening injury if a pet is thrust forward or flies out of the window.
The best options for restraint include a seatbelt harness or a rigid carrier. Medium to large dogs are usually suitable candidates for a seatbelt harness to provide confinement to the boundaries of the car seat. Smaller dogs and cats should travel in a soft or rigid carrier, which should be seat belted, strapped, or hooked down to prevent movement upon abruptly stopping.
During airline travel, smaller pets should be placed into an airline-approved carrier that can fit under the seat. Medium, large, and giant-sized dogs will likely need to be transported in cargo and will need to fit in an airline-approved rigid crate. When planning for plane-based pet travel, make sure to contact the airline well in advance to ensure that you can fulfill airline’s requirements.
Keep the Climate Consistently Cool
Traveling in warmer temperatures creates potentially dangerous circumstances for our pets. Unlike humans, dogs and cats lack the ability to efficiently expel heat through their skin. The respiratory tract (lungs, trachea, and nasal passages) is the primary means for dogs and cats to evacuate heat, which is why Fido and Fluffy can show an increased respiratory rate or pant in warmer weather.
A Stanford University Medical Center study published in Pediatrics reports that a “car’s interior can heat up by an average of 40 degrees F within an hour, regardless of ambient temperature. Eighty percent of the temperature rise occurred within the first half-hour.” As your car’s interior temperature increases, so will dog or cat’s body temperature.
Dangerously high temperature (hyperthermia) quickly occurs after only a short time and can lead to collapse, abnormal blood clotting, multi-organ system failure, seizures, and death.
Unforeseeable circumstances can keep you occupied for longer than initially anticipated, so never leave your pet unattended in a non-climate controlled car, even on relatively cool day. Additionally, provide continuous circulating ventilation with air conditioning during your trip.