Whether you’re a long-haul trucker or like to travel with your family, cross country road trips have a lot to offer. From new sights and cultures to unique foods and activities, a road trip can put you in touch with another way of life. But you’re not the only one that can enjoy these benefits—your pet can also gain a lot from these experiences. If your furry friend loves to travel just as much as you do, learn how to drive cross country with your pet and involve them in the fun.
Crucial Preparation Steps
Just like with your personal trips, it’s crucial that you take the proper steps to prepare before you head out. When you take these initial steps to plan your trip, it makes the process go smoother and prevents less stress for you and, by extension, your pet.
Visit the Vet
If you’re considering letting your pet tag along, be sure to take the time to the vet for a checkup. Like with humans, unexpected medical ailments can set in with little warning and take away from the fun experience. You want to ensure your companion is in perfect health and that you won’t have to worry about them during your adventures.
For the best possible protection while you’re gone, make sure that your veterinarian does a thorough checkup to ensure your pet’s health. This process should include administering vaccinations, prescribing necessary medications, and creating a ticks and fleas prevention plan. This way, you can protect your furry friend from potential illnesses and rest assured they can handle future activities.
Create a Space for Your Pet
Remember to designate a reasonably-sized space for your pet to relax during the ride. For truckers, this might involve keeping them in the sleeper cabin. But for standard drivers, this could mean anything from crating them to letting them roam the back seat. No matter which method you choose, ensure this space is comfortable enough for your pet and that they’re able to relax. In addition, it’s best to place toys and treats within their reach as a way to entertain them.
Plan Your Route
Plan out your trip ahead of time to keep yourself on track throughout the drive. You’ll be able to easily track your progress, find nearby rest stops, and ensure you’re making good time. This plan will help you stay organized, and you’ll have the flexibility to explore your surroundings and memories along the way.
When you create this plan, be sure to include pet-friendly stops, such as national parks, so you can involve them in the fun as well. Other things to consider include pet-friendly hotels, pet stores to stock up on additional supplies, and dog parks. Also, be sure to mark any truck stops along your route as they often have plenty of useful amenities for you and your pet.
Another step to driving cross country with your pets is to take special care in packing their necessities. While it’s obvious that you’ll need their food, treats, and water, it’s important you bring enough to last the entire trip. This will save you from making additional errand runs. In addition, be sure to pack portable bowls to save space in the vehicle. These items will often fold up, so you can store them in a backpack or even on a keychain for easy accessibility.
Toys and blankets are also an important packing item to remember as they’ll help entertain your pet and keep them comfortable as you drive. Distracting them in this manner will make them less likely to pace around the back seat and potentially injure themselves. It’s for this reason as well that keeping your pet in a laying position while the car is in motion is often best. If you notice certain sounds or weather conditions make your pet nervous, these items will also help them relieve some of their energy.
Other essentials to put on your pet’s packing list include:
- A first aid kit
- Important medications and ointments
- A portable litter box for cats
- Waste bags
- An extra leash or harness
- Spare towels
- Stain remover
Things to Consider on the Road
Once you leave for your adventure, it can be easy to think that the planning stops there. However, there are still several things you need to consider when driving with your pet.
For starters, you should never leave your pet unattended in the vehicle or at a rest stop. While there will be times where you’ll need to take a bathroom break or grab a bite to eat, it’s often dangerous to leave them alone for extended periods. This is especially the case when the weather is extreme or if your pet has separation anxiety. If you do need to leave them alone, try to be as quick as possible to lessen the chance of an incident.
Be sure to also remember that taking a break from driving is just as vital for your pet as it is for you. In fact, since your pet will often need to go to the bathroom more than you, it’s best to get into the habit of stopping every couple of hours. This will ensure your pet is comfortable and you don’t have to clean up any unfortunate accidents. These breaks will also allow them to stretch their legs and release some of their pent-up energy after spending so much time in a confined space.
Another important thing to remember is to not ignore your pet simply because your main focus is on driving. When you pull over for breaks, take a few minutes to bond with your companion and give them treats. This will maintain their positive energy while rewarding them for their good behavior.
At Unitruck, we believe that quality semi-truck parts are the key to safety while away on a haul. As such, we aim to supply you with these very tools—whether you need Volvo truck mirror parts or Mack headlights. So, if you’re a trucker planning to take your pet with you on the open road, make sure you have the proper equipment to keep you both safe.