| Driving

You come home from work and plop down on the couch. Your dog’s soft, wet nose wiggles under your hand, and he whines for a good ear rub. No matter how exhausted you are, you always have a little more energy left in you to love on your pet. He is, after all, one of your best friends, which is why you hate to leave him at home when you head out on a summer road trip. But before you hop in the car and head off on an adventure with your beloved bulldog or orange tabby, it’s important to be prepared. Because when you’re traveling with pets, whether that’s cats, dogs, ferrets, or birds, you want to be sure they’re safe and comfy throughout the journey.

So, if you’re ready to take a road trip with your pet, bark on! Err…read on, check our list of pet-friendly hotels, and take note of these seven tips!

1. Prepare your pet by taking them on short drives.

Slowly increase the length of time your pet spends in the car. When you’re running to get a prescription or picking up a curbside order for dinner, bring your trusty companion along. Just make sure never to leave your pet in the car alone, especially when it’s uncomfortably hot outside. A vehicle can become a temperature trap for your pet.

2. Pack a pet preparedness kit.

Just as you’d pack snacks, drinks, blankets, pillows, and maybe games for your friends and family on a road trip, put together a pet version. Your pet preparedness kit could include your pet’s food, bowl, leash, plastic bags for waste, any medication they might need, a first aid kit, and their favorite toy or blanket. These things will give them a sense of comfort and familiarity.

3. Plan their eating schedule.

The ASPCA suggests feeding your pet three to four hours before departure and not feeding them in a moving vehicle. Feeding them well before the trip will reduce the chances of them getting car sick.

4. Restrain your pet while traveling.

While the ASPCA recommends that you keep your pet in a well-ventilated carrier while traveling, you may not have the room in your car for a carrier. If you have a smaller vehicle, you could opt for a highly-regarded, crash-tested pet seatbelt and pet car hammock to keep them safe in the event of an accident.

5. Keep all paws and whiskers inside the vehicle.

Your pet may enjoy riding with their head out of the window, but flying objects could injure them. Instead, try cracking the window so they can safely enjoy the breeze.

6. Bring your own water.

We’re not saying your pet is a diva, but drinking water from an area they aren’t used to could lead to an upset stomach. Fill up water bottles with tap water from home or buy jugs of bottled water to pour into a plastic container when you stop.

7. Talk to your insurance company about pet coverage.

Even though you consider your pet a part of the family, some insurance companies consider an animal to be your property. If you’re in an auto accident and are at fault, your pet’s injuries likely won’t be covered. If the accident wasn’t your fault, the other driver’s insurance could help pay for your pet’s injuries under property damage liability coverage, but it depends on the circumstances and the specific terms of the insurance policies in force.

With a little bit of planning, your pet can accompany you on this summer’s road trip. If you have pictures of your pet traveling the great American landscape, share them with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @DirectAutoIns!

For road trip tips and destination ideas, check out these other articles:

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