Since I’ve had a mix of rotations at home and at school, plus breaks, I made the drive back and forth to school a lot of times this summer. Yes, a nice 10-hour drive each way. I did my part to put a hole in the ozone, unfortunately, but there are no better alternatives to get between Maine and PEI. This meant that my animals and I had to pack it up and squeeze into my little car.
Tips for traveling with animals:
Number One: If you can help it, don’t travel with them! It’s much more stressful for them to have to make long trips, stopping at unfamiliar places along the way. I know my cat in particular really doesn’t enjoy car rides, so I was lucky enough to be able to leave her with my roommate a couple of times for trips home. I miss her like crazy, but at least she gets to stay in her comfortable and familiar home rather than make a long trip to a place she isn’t used to.
Number Two: Traveling papers are a must! Some states require rabies vaccines and registering animals if you’re there for more than a certain amount of time. Also, if you’re crossing the Canadian border it is mandatory that you have your proof of rabies vaccination for animals. Also, know the restrictions at the border. Guinea pigs, for example, are considered rodents and not exotic, and birds, for example, need special permits to get across the border.
Number Three: Try to make things comfortable for everyone. This can get challenging, especially in my case with three guinea pigs, a cat, and a dog fitting into a small car with me. The happier everyone is to begin with, the less miserable your trip is.
Number Four: Find what works! My cat used to scream if you put her in a carrier. I found that if I kept her on her harness tied to the seat, so she couldn’t hang herself or jump on me, she wouldn’t be as obnoxious and I didn’t threaten to leave her on the side of the highway.
Number Five: There are meds to solve some of these problems! Talk with your veterinarian about traveling-related issues. Maybe your pet needs a sedative, or an anti-nausea med to make the trips more comfortable. Setting everyone up for success is the way to go!