Road Trips & Your Pet
August is a month when many people take vacation or relocate to follow job opportunities. Most pet owners take their pets when they relocate (if you can’t, be sure to find a new home for your pal yourself–you’ll do a better job than the shelter, which has a lot of pets to re-home), and many take them on vacation road trips. Fine, particularly with dogs, who can wear collars with ID and generally come when called. Still, make sure that your dog is secured in the car for its own safety in case of an accident and to thwart any impulse to run off. When out of the car, don’t let go of that leash!
With cats, the difficulty is that a cat’s surroundings are far more important than they are to a dog. Your cat had its nap spots, favorite safe places and hiding places in your home. It is nervous at being in a new place where it has not explored the escape routes, safe places, and so on. Cats, and some dogs, do not know why they have been placed in a car and are zooming along to somewhere else. They may well take any opportunity to escape and try to go back to where they felt safe–home. Chances are about 95% that they will not make it. Even if found, unless you have ID tags and microchips for them, they’ll never make it back to you, and it is far more likely they will die, killed by cars or predators or from hunger and thirst.
For their sake:
Keep cats in plastic carriers unless you are in a room with the door securely closed, and harness them so you can easily catch them. A cat loose in a vehicle is a disaster waiting to happen.
Keep dogs in harnesses with ID tags and the leash attached. Do not let go of the leash except in a room with the door closed, or possibly in a fenced, secure dog park where it can exercise off-leash–if you have trained it to come at call. In the car, have a doggie seat belt, or let a small dog ride in a crate.
If you are taking your dog camping and hiking, continue to follow the harness/leash rule–many dogs are lost when they run off after a smell or the sight of some little creature, and they often cannot find you again.