While a dog may be man’s best friend, dog hair all over your car’s upholstery is definitely not. Fancy clothing – especially that dark suit or swanky dress for your holiday work party – tends to attract pet hair like it’s going out of style.
So, what can you do to keep your vehicle, clothing, and animals safe if you intend to travel with your pets this holiday season? Here are just a few tips:
Pet hair may be one of the most annoying and persistent nuisances on this planet. Case in point: we haven’t had a cat in years, but I recently found a stray cat hair on my clothing! When you’re taking your animals on a road trip, that problem can be exacerbated because it is such a small space. Luckily there are some things you can do to combat the pet hair.
Start by pre-grooming your pet either by yourself or with the help of a professional groomer. Some animals get nervous during travel and can start shedding even more than normal. By pre-grooming, you are less likely to have massive clumps of hair spread throughout your car. You should also pre-treat your seats if they’re not leather or vinyl in case your pet has an accident – or better yet, throw on some slipcovers to protect the upholstery from both hair and nails.
Even by taking these precautions, some pet hair is likely to accumulate in your vehicle by the end of the trip. Invest in a small, handheld vacuum that you can keep in your car to help you suck up those stray hairs. You can also find a pet hair squeegee online that will easily remove pet hair from the carpet and upholstery, but if you need a solution right away, simply moisten the fingers of a standard, yellow dishwashing glove, and run your fingers in one direction across the upholstery. The gloves will round up the hair into easily removed clumps.
Accidents happen – it’s a fact of life – but pet accidents can leave behind stains and smells that stick around for a long time. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to prepare for and prevent the inevitable.
- Car clean-up kit: Fill a small bag with the essentials for cleaning up your car after your pet has had an accident (works great for small children, too!). Items to consider: a small container of baking soda, paper towels, washcloths, a lint roller, water bottle, and plastic baggies.
- Preventative measures: You can’t prevent all accidents, but you can prepare your vehicle so that the accidents don’t leave lasting marks. Invest in high-quality floor mats, and install waterproof seat covers. Line your pet’s crate with puppy pads and other absorbent bedding to minimize spills and leaks. Also, take breaks every two to three hours, whether your human legs need a stretch or not. Letting your animal out of its crate at regular intervals will minimize stress and give it a chance to relieve itself in the great outdoors instead of your car.
- Cleaners: If your pet does have an accident inside the car, the best thing that you can do is clean it up quickly. There are many chemical cleaners on the market for pet spills, but if push comes to shove, you can always sprinkle baking soda on the mess, wait for it to dry, and then vacuum it up.
Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, and this holds true for your pets when they’re riding in the car with you. Not only can an unrestrained animal be harmed during a crash, but that animal can cause serious damage to people who are restrained in the vehicle.
To make sure that both you and Fido stay safe, set up a restraint system in your vehicle. Whether you put him in a harness that ties him to the backseat or install special slipcovers that prevent him from coming up into the front seat, the choice is yours.
You can also tie down his crate in the back seat, but make sure that it’s large enough that he can stand up and walk around with plenty of absorbent bedding. You should also turn off all power windows so that he doesn’t accidentally open or shut a window on himself.
Lastly, make sure to bring your pet’s vaccination records as some states require them should you get pulled over.
Traveling can be a very stressful time for your pets, so you should make every attempt to lessen their anxiety. Pack familiar toys and bedding in their crates to help them feel more comfortable. Get out and stretch at regular intervals, and refrain from feeding them in the car (especially if they’re prone to carsickness). Look into getting a collapsible ramp to help your elderly animals get in and out of the vehicle, and keep extra leashes handy so that you know your animal will stay safe outside of the car.
Your best bet at a safe and enjoyable road trip with your pet this holiday season is to prepare in advance.