When we first got our orders to Alaska I had a million thoughts running through my head and most of them were about Leo and how he would deal with the long move and transition. Like literally my mothering instincts kicked in with how would our little puppy deal with moving so far away. I know I am not a "mom" yet, but I am a fur mommy and Leo really makes me feel like a real mom especially during the move and even now living here. Today I want to talk about traveling a long way with a pet and share my advice about my experience with traveling 4,000 miles with our little guy!
1. Use Dramamine and calming pills for car sickness. As I've said before, Leo gets car sick a lot. He has ever since we brought him home. Our vet recently told us to try Dramamine tablets to use on our trips to Maryland. They actually worked pretty well for him for except he would still whine from time to time. We then found calming pills for animals on long car rides. Our vet said we could try those with the Dramamine tablets to see if they would keep him calmer. I hated having to give him pills on the trip, but they both really did their job. Leo barely whined at all the whole way. He would either sleep or lay there and play with his toys. Perfect little angel. I would however talk to your vet before trying any of these techniques. Every dog and animal has a different body and you do not want to give your dog any over the counter medication without consulting your vet first.
2. Use a pet seat belt if necessary. If you have a dog that likes to climb in your lap when you drive, you might want to try a pet seat belt. Ours worked wonders for us! We use to crate Leo in the car, but it enforced his car sickness so we stopped using the crate on small drives and our trips to Maryland. We then use to just let him roam free in our laps, but then he always wanted to get in Jarrett's lap while he was driving and no matter how many times I pulled him off of Jarrett's lap he would still try to climb over to him. Hence the seat belt. We bought it, tried it and loved it. We took our F-150 truck on the trip so we were able to have Leo in the middle of us with the seat belt on. The seat belt kept Leo in place while being comfortable at the same time. He didn't fight it or try to get out of it. He basically just laid down and went to sleep.
3. Make your dog comfortable. I don't know about your dog or pet, but Leo gets a little whiny in the car sometimes because he is so stressed out thinking that he is going to the vet or that we are leaving him. This trip, we made sure to make him as comfortable as possible so that he was not as stressed as usual. We brought his favorite blanket and wrapped him up in it and gave him a couple of his favorite toys to keep him a little busy. These favorite items really kept him happy and comfortable the whole way. With his favorite items, his seat belt and a little medicine to help with sickness, he was wonderful on the trip!
4. Check to see if your dog is allergic to anything. This has become a huge deal for us. Before we moved, we bought some extra food, treats and more supplies to have just in case. We also bought silicone travel bowls thinking that they would be easier for Leo to eat and drink out of. Well, although they were much easier for him to use and for us to store in his travel bag, they were the worst thing for him. We found at later on that Leo's lip sore was caused by an allergic reaction from the silicone bowls. The sore progressed over the trip and we didn't even notice it until we got to Alaska. We didn't think much of it and continued to use the travel bowls in our new house because they had good suction to the kitchen floor and he could not spill them over. The sore got worse. After three vet visits for his lip, the last vet mentioned the bowls and that we should return him to his normal metal bowls. We changed his bowls and got rid of the silicone ones. His lip has gotten so much better since then. His lip is just about back to normal again! Thank Goodness!
5. Try to make stops every two hours. Obviously we had to make a lot of stops on this crazy long drive. We decided to stop every two hours not only for us to take a breather, get a snack and go to the bathroom, but for Leo to do the same thing. We wanted him to have plenty of potty breaks and plenty of time to walk around and get some exercise. We felt so bad having to have him all couped up in the truck, but he didn't seem to mind. Depending on how long your trip is, you can stop at different times that work better for you. If you need to stop with your pet every hour then definitely do it. We still made really good time with all of our stops and even with the day that we took off. You have to do what is best for you and your pet to make the drive more comfortable for everyone.
6. If traveling through another country make sure you have all of your documents. Make sure you plan a visit to your vet within a month of driving through another country. You must make sure your pet is up to date on all their shots and that they are cleared to cross into another country whether you are just passing through, taking a vacation there or actually moving to another country. You must have a pet health certificate clearing them for the drive and also all of their medical records. I also recommend crating them while going through customs just so they are not a distraction to the driver while speaking with the customs officer. We had no issues getting Leo through Canada and I am glad we were prepared.
I hope my experiences have helped and prepared you for traveling if you plan to travel with a pet soon. These are just my experiences and I'm sure we all have our ways of preparing our animals for a long trip. At the end of the day, you always want to consult your vet before going on a long trip. Get as many tips from them as you can. Eventually they get to know your pet just as well as you do, so they know what is best for them.
What kinds of pets have you traveled with before?
What are some of yout pet experiences in the car?
Does anyone else have pets that have had allergic reactions to silicone?