How-Tuesday: Long Road Trips with Pets

Going South for the Holidays!

In one week from today I'll be hitting the road with my sister, her dog, and our roommate for a long drive down to South Carolina. We're visiting my dad and celebrating Thanksgiving with him for the first time in almost 6 years. 

When your family is split up and sprinkled across the United States, sometimes holiday plans have to change. Usually I spend Thanksgiving at my grandparents ski chalet style home nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 

But this year my sister and I are ditching that side of the family and the beautiful White Mountains for a trip down south. We'll be renting a car and driving straight through to our destination while alternating drivers. 

But one thing that may be even more of a pain than driving at 3 o'clock in the morning might be my sister's dog. Her name is Jude, and she's a well behaved, calm beagle-lab mix. She is such a good dog, but this is one long trip.

Four steps to pet-poof your trip 

Are you heading somewhere for the holidays? Hesitant on bringing your pet? No fear! Since I'm doing it next week, I thought I would share some tips on how to make your road trip with pets run smoothly!


1. Comfort

Just like you, your cat or dog doesn't want to be uncomfortable. If your pet is crate trained, bring it along. It will feel more comforting to have a little "home" to lie down in. You can also bring along your pet's bed so they can be familiar with something in your less familiar car. If your pet doesn't use a bed, bring sweatshirts or blankets that will bring some sense of security during your trip. 

2. Toys & Treats

Without compromising the space for your necessary  belongings, it's essential to bring treats and toys to keep your pet entertained and not whiny. A good chew toy can keep a dog entertained for hours, especially a hollow chew toy. Stuff treats inside and watch as your dog intently tries to get it out. 

Riding with a cat? If you are not driving solo, encourage your passengers to play with your cat for entertainment. Unfortunately, chew toys don't have the same effect on cats. Even letting the cat out of the crate to play for small increments of time may keep your cat happier. 


3. Take Breaks

A general rule of thumb for traveling with pets is to stop every two hours. Not only is this a great time you use a restroom or get a bite to eat, but these breaks are a great time to exercise your pet. 

Have your leash ready--don't waste time riffling through your packed luggage. Take 15 minutes to walk or even run your dog. An exercised and tired pet is the best kind to travel with. You can even walk your cat, but it's best to try this at home before testing it out on the road. 

4.   Talk to Your Pet

 LWA/Getty Images

LWA/Getty Images

No one wants to be the crazy cat lady, but it's not crazy to talk to your pets. Both cats and dogs are responsive to their names and the sound of their master's voice. It's a comforting sound. Just because you are on the road doesn't mean you have to forget to talk to your pet just like you do at home!


Safe travels!

Lauren R.