Traveling With Pets

Shina, relaxing by the river. Courtesy Second Chance.

[SW Colorado | July 2020 | By Kelly Goodin]

Time to hit the road, Jack? The pandemic is creating a resurgence in the good old-fashioned road trip with a “closer to home” convenience that makes social distancing still possible. And the silver lining is that—depending on how well they travel—you can bring your pets with you on this type of summer adventure. Road tripping with your furry family members is greatly enhanced with your emotional support buddy and more fun if you are properly prepared.

A top priority for traveling with your pet is to not lose them along the way. So before you load up, make sure your pet has a microchip, a small and harmless rice-sized identifying device with your contact information that’s implanted under their skin. When camping or traveling, a microchip reader may not be available to whoever finds your pet, so to ensure you can be contacted immediately by whoever finds your fur friend, be sure they are wearing a collar with an ID. This should list an additional phone number, like a friend or a veterinarian, in case you are out of cell service range.

Traveling with your pet is mostly about good commonsense, but who has much of that these days? So remember things like extra water, veterinary records (if you have to take an unplanned trip to the vet, you’ll want proof of vaccinations, etc.), and an itinerary that includes pet friendly stops. You might want to make sure you are stocked up on pet provisions, too—food, meds, and plenty of chewies, bones, and toys. You don’t want your dog eating the car or camper. And if you’re going to be including a dog in outdoor activities, you’ll find everything you need to make the road trip fun for your pet, at Chow Down in Montrose.

Dash is a good traveler. Courtesy Second Chance.

If you’re traveling with a dog, Second Chance partners with two great organizations. Load Up Pup (loaduppup.com) shares the best places to eat, drink, stay, shop, and have fun with your dog when on the road. Tails from the Road (tailsfromtheroad.com) follows traveling tips and advice from a dog trainer living on the road with her dogs.

Make sure your planning includes paying attention to weather and eliminates stops where your fur family has to sit in the vehicle. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 110 degrees in 10 minutes, which can be deadly. If you’ll be visiting a destination where pets aren’t allowed, find a nearby pet friendly hotel.

Another traveling priority is a safe arrival. About 30,000 accidents are caused each year by an unrestrained pet (usually a dog) in the front seat, according to AAA. Pets freely wandering inside the vehicle aren’t only a distraction to the driver, but they’re also more likely to be injured in the event of an accident. You can help ensure a safe trip by restraining your furry friend with a pet barrier, pet seat belt, pet car seat (yes, that’s a real thing), or travel crate.

So get planning! And start by getting your fur baby companion a veterinary check and updated vaccinations. Visit your pet’s veterinarian (your family’s “other doctor,” as Rene Rumrill, DVM, says). A check-up at home and the proper immunizations for where you are traveling can be lifesaving.

If you don’t have a family vet or are visiting in Montrose, Ouray, or San Miguel Counties while traveling, Second Chance offers a low-cost veterinary wellness clinic for low-income families who may need help. You can register your pet for a free wellness exam and a combination of other services that include $8  vaccines, a $35 spay/neuter, $15 microchipping, and more. Clinic dates and times vary. Visit the Second Chance website—adoptmountainpets.org—or call 970-626-2273 for eligibility and registration.