In this part of our series of checklists, we will look at some things you should consider when traveling with a pet. I know that there are folks out there that travel with various pets including reptiles, ferrets, and other rodents but for this checklist I’m keeping the content based upon traveling with a dog or cat, and these example are what I always do to travel with my dog Lizzie.
- Documentation: It’s important that you have all of the paperwork regarding the health of your pet. You need to have all vaccinations in order and it’s best to have your personal veterinarian give your pet a good examination before you hit the road for a long journey. If your dog or cat is required to have a license in your community, keep copies of that paperwork and make sure that their licensing is up to date. And finally, if you have had your pet microchipped, keep that paperwork with you and be sure to keep the company that microchipped your friend updated with your latest contact information.
- Food & Water: You know what your pet wants to eat so you should plan for that. However, if your pet isn’t experienced in traveling, it may be a good idea to keep some extra treats around to coax them out of some hiding space they have created or found. It’s also best to feed them only when you plan on being stationary for the night as they are less likely to get motion sickness. As for water, that’s a hard thing to keep stable while driving and with my dog Lizzie, I usually drive 2-3 hours before I take a break then I give her some water and a treat and we move on.
- Shelter, Hiding Spaces: On the other hand, if you are traveling with a smaller skittish dog or a cat you may find that they want to hide when they travel. The best thing to do here is to find their comfort zone and to make it more comfortable. In other words, put a pet bed in there and let them get as comfortable as they can. It’s also important that you feed them based upon repetition and habit. For example, if you have a timid pet that won’t eat while moving down the road, consider feeding them right after you extend your slide-outs or disconnect from your tow vehicle. This way you are instilling a trust between you and your furry friend. They realize you are not about to move again and they come out to drink, eat, relieve themselves, and play because they are more relaxed.
- The Litterbox: I’m not one to travel with cats, but I understand those that do and I also understand that it’s important to secure a litter box that won’t spill and cause a problem. While I have some ideas on how I would personally frame in a litter box if I were traveling with a cat, I think it’s up to the traveler that has a cat to best decide how to integrate this aspect into their RV.