TIPS FOR TAKING A CAR TRIP WITH PETS

Kansas State University veterinarian Dr. Susan Nelson offers the following tips:

1. Restrain your pet in some way while traveling in a vehicle. Cats and small dogs tend to travel best in secured crates, while specialized harnesses for larger dogs help keep them strapped in the vehicle. Letting pets run loose in vehicles can be extremely dangerous because the animal can get between the driver's feet and the pedals.

2. If your pet gets nervous or nauseated during car rides, talk to your veterinarian about medications that can ease anxiety and motion sickness.

3. If you're traveling with a dog, do stop every two to three hours so he can relieve himself and get some exercise.

4. If you're traveling with a cat, leave her in her crate even when you stop at rest areas. Bring a litter box so the cat can use it inside the car during extended trips.

5. Line your pet's crate with absorbent material or newspapers in case the pet doesn't make it to the rest area or the litter box. Do pack cleaning supplies--just in case.

6. Bring a supply of tap water from your home. This is water your pet is accustomed to drinking so it can help minimize gastrointestinal issues that may result from consuming water the pet isn't used to drinking.

7. Never leave a pet in a car unattended, especially in warm or hot climates where heat stress and heat exhaustion can develop.

8. If you will be crossing state lines with your pet, do bring a health certificate issued by your veterinarian. Such certificates are required by every state. The certificates are valid for 30 days.

9. Do have identification for your pet, which should include tags and a microchip. Also, be sure to label the crates or carriers.

10. Carry a photo of your pet in case it gets lost and you need proof of ownership.

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