Tips for preparing pets for long road trips

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DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I have a cat and two budgies, and I am moving several states away. I plan to drive and bring all three with me. I’m worried that “Tiger” will stress out the budgies, though. Can I keep the peace between these pets? — A reader, via email

DEAR READER: One way, maybe the best way, to travel with pets of different species is to keep them out of sight of one another, and under control.

Tiger should be placed in a carrier with a favorite blanket and toys to keep him occupied. The birds should stay in their cage (or if necessary, a smaller travel cage). The change of location and the car’s motion could be stressors as well, so minimize their exposure by covering the cage while you’re driving.

And do not leave your pets alone in the car, even for a few minutes, and even if the weather seems cool. I know I’ve repeated this advice all summer, but I see incidents several times per week on the news, so many owners still don’t realize the danger. The temperature in a hot car can rise very quickly, even with the windows opened a bit.

So plan your trip carefully. At each rest stop, take the birds’ cage outside and uncover it in a shady area so they can get some fresh air. Take Tiger’s carrier out, or if he’s a well-behaved cat, put him on a leash (while he’s still in the car so he doesn’t escape) and let him explore a safe, shady area.

If Tiger is a terror in the car — yowling or otherwise being stressed — talk to his vet beforehand about medicating him to keep him calm during the journey.

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