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Travel

Tips for road trips with your pet

In last week's column, I opened a window to the glamorous life of traveling alone and offered a few tips to keep the voices in your head from shouting down your sanity.

Of course, most vacationers don't go it alone. Even the single among us can take along a beloved pet, in the spirit of John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley," a fine book for a road trip, by the way.

Steinbeck focused on the spiritual side of the journey, but if you're traveling with a pet, there are practical issues to keep in mind. It's hot on the summer highway and four-legged friends need food, water and a good stretch as much as their human companions.

Here are tips to prepare for a smooth trip with your pet from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

Keep your pets secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Make sure it's large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around.

Get your pet ready for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.

Your pet's travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours before departure. Don't feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle, even on a long drive.

Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace — and heatstroke can develop.

What's in your pet's traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow.

Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cellphone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information.

Don't allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects.

Traveling across state lines? Be sure to bring along a rabies vaccination record.

When it comes to water, it's best to BYOB. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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