Any cat or dog owner will want to make car journeys as comfortable, smooth and stress-free as possible for their furry companions.
To help do this - and make your own life easier in the process - there are a few essentials worth taking with you when on the road with your pet.
- Snacks. You’ll need these on a long journey, or just in case you break down or get stuck in heavy traffic. If your pet doesn’t like travelling, then treats can help it associate travelling with fun. Beware, though, if your pet gets car sick, you may not want to feed them until after the journey.
- Plenty of clean, fresh water and a bowl; there are even non-spill travel pet bowls available.
- Extra blankets; it’s always worth taking spares with you.
- Contact details for your local vet or a vet at your destination.
- Window shades to protect your pet from the sun.
- A favourite toy, rug or bedding that smells like home to help your pet relax.
- Cleaning gear and extra bedding to clear up in case of illness, mishaps or spills.
- A pet first aid kit – see below for what to carry inside it.
According to vet charity, PDSA, your pet first aid kit should include:
- Blunt-ended scissors
- Wound wash
- Cotton wool
- Wound dressing
- Self-adhesive tape
- Vinyl gloves
- Foil blanket
- Antiseptic wipes.
- For larger animals, like big dogs, keep a large blanket available to use as a stretcher
Don’t forget the basics
As well as taking along the right supplies, there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure safe car journeys with your pet.
Foremost among these is to keep them properly restrained. According to the Highway Code, drivers need to 'make sure that dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly'.
A pet seatbelt, carrier or harness can stop your dog or cat from moving around in the car and distracting you whilst you drive.
Other things you can do to make the journey more relaxed and comfortable for your pet, include:
- Plan your journey and take regular breaks so your pet has a chance to stretch their legs and have a drink.
- If you can, get your pet used to travelling in the car from a young age.
- Never leave your pet in a hot car, as cats and dogs can overheat very quickly.
- Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window. It could get hurt, fall out or distract other drivers.
- If you’re thinking about buying a new car, consider what features might make it easier to travel with your pet
- Take extra care if your pet is injured, has a medical condition or is prone to car sickness
By taking these basic steps, you can make your car journeys with your pets happier and safer.