Pet ownership is a wonderful and fruitful experience. Same goes for car ownership. Just like our furry friends, our motorized carriages also need care.
Whenever we bring our pets on a journey certain preparations have to be made, precautions have to be followed, and some post journey practices should be done. We’ll gloss over the three categories of traveling with your furry companion.
When it comes to preparation, laying some absorbent material, like newspapers, or an old towel, will help you keep your interior free from litter of any kind. Pack some extra newspaper in case some “accidents” happen later in the journey. Bring some water for your pets, and a container for them to drink from, and maybe some food as well. Keep these supplies in sealed containers to avoid spills and mess. There are also fancier options out in the market like the interior mat pictured above, but for the average Joe, newspapers or old towels will do the job just fine.
Speaking of accidents, next would be to invest in a carrier or harness to keep your animal companion from jumping all over the place and risk an accident. Even if your dog is trained to sit very still in the car, we suggest that you err on the side of caution. There is nothing good about -literally- bumping into another motorist. Remember the best accidents are the ones that never happen. Animals tend to get pretty nervous in a moving vehicle, and that nervousness can translate into them jumping on you to find comfort. The worst case scenario is that you’re alone in the car and maybe your cat or your dog decides that it is a good time to snuggle up to you, distracting you in the process.
Now that you have your carrier or harness ready, it would be best to tie everything down and make sure that in an emergency situation your pet won’t go flying around in the cabin. Secure any loose items in the car and situate your pet away from an airbag if at all possible. If you have a passenger with you, as much as possible keep your pet off anyone’s lap. In the event of a crash, your pet could get seriously injured if the impact is hard enough. It would be best to place them in a crate or in a harness for maximum safety.
For the journey itself, it is important to know a few things when riding with your pet. First of all, make sure to drive smoothly with no sudden motions. Keep your attention on the road and anticipate any movement that can happen in front of you. There is nothing like upsetting your furry companion with a sudden stop, right? Even the most behaved of humans would find discomfort in hard braking situations. Remember to keep your inputs light and progressive, it’ll save you the hassle of cleaning up pee because someone had to brake hard.
Now it’s time to take care of your other friend, your car. When it comes to cats and dogs, shedding is always such a joy to clean up – kidding. It would be ideal to have a vacuum cleaner handy in order to get all the hair fibers out of the carpet, the seats, and even the headliner. Not all of us have a vacuum cleaner though, so the next best thing is to use a lint roller. If a lint roller is not available, then get some tape and use it in lieu of the lint roller. It should work the same way to remove the shedding in your interior.
Odor is a touchy topic among humans, but not pets, it is just in their nature to carry a certain smell. If you’re not germaphobic, then to get rid of the smell just plop an air freshener in your car and go on with the rest of your day. If you’re not a fan of scents, however, you can go for option two which is to get a dehumidifier. You can most likely get one from an auto accessories center like Blade, but if you are cheap you can make one yourself. Just take an empty container with a lid, poke holes in it, then put some charcoal in. Place it in your car and just live with it for a while. You’ll have to take the container out every so often to allow the moisture absorbed by the charcoal to evaporate. Leave it out in the sun to dry and then it’s good for another use.
Worst case scenario, however, is when you find your furry friend has left a little present for you. It could be because you drove too fast or braked too hard, or maybe he just had a heavy lunch. Still, these things happen and it is not pleasant. For urine, it is important to have your absorbent material on hand ASAP. The earlier you can dry up the stain the better. Blot the spot until dry and then hit it with some cool water and blot again. For poop stains, however, it is a different story. Hopefully, your pet is not suffering from a case of diarrhea. At any rate, make sure to get all of the solid parts out of the interior. If you followed the earlier steps of laying out a few layers of newspaper, then your life will be infinitely easier, since all you will be doing will be throwing out the newspaper.
Develop these few basic habits and add to them as needed. Just to recap, the important points are to prepare for mess, drive carefully, and have a care package for “accidents”. Preparation is key to keeping your four legged/wheeled friends in tip-top condition.