Pet travel tips from Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit

DEARBORN — With the North American International Auto Show now in the books, cars are on the minds of many right now.

Consider, though, what it’s like for one member of your family when you’re checking out all the latest auto gadgets: road tripping may be a very different experience for your pet than it is for you. Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit has some pointers for making your dog or cat more comfortable on the road.

Driving with a pet, whether it’s a massive dog or a miniscule kitten, can be a challenge. It’s important to keep the safety and comfort of your pet in mind in the frigid Detroit weather. But with enough planning and some flexibility, road trips can be fun for both of you, FAMD executive director Elaine Greene said.

Here are some tips that Greene and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offer for traveling by car:

• Safely secure Fluffy: Place your dog or cat in a secure carrier or, at the very least, harnessed in the back seat of the car. Sudden stops and turns can be dangerous to you and your pet if anyone is flying loose. Sometimes pets travel better with a mild sedative, but check with your veterinarian.

• Keep records: Make sure everyone is up to date on vaccinations and keep a copy of those records with you, along with microchip codes. Some states may require these. Print out a photo of your pet too; in case someone makes a break for it, this could save valuable time in the search. And make sure your pet is wearing a comfortable but wiggle-free-resistant collar at all times that has your contact information clearly labeled.

• Stock up: Keep supplies on hand for unexpected delays. Food, fresh water, blankets and of course baggies for accidents. Don’t feed your pet in a moving car.

• Practice: Take quick trips in the car to get your pet comfortable with being in the back. The last thing you need is to discover three hours into a 12-hour trek that your pet is carsick or frantically nervous on trips. Check out elevators and open staircases, too, for skittish pets.

• Scope it out: You’ll want to alert staff at your destination of your plans, including how long you might be leaving your pet unaccompanied. Check out the accommodations with your pet, and give them some time to feel comfortable in the room before you take off for the show.

• Have fun: More and more restaurants, bars and hotels welcome pets these days. Yes, it’s January. But you and your pet might both appreciate the exercise after time spent in the car.
For more information about the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit, go to www.metrodetroitanimals.org.

About FAMD

After 22 years of nurturing more than 47,300 animals, the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit has embarked on the “Raise the Woof” public phase of its “Building a Home with Heart” capital campaign to construct a new Animal Adoption & Education Center at the site of the former Dearborn Amtrak station on Michigan Avenue. Construction begins this summer. FAMD is at 2661 Greenfield Road, Dearborn.