Road trips can turn a regular vacation into an exciting adventure. Taking your pets along is a great way to give them a fun, new experience. While your pets’ naturally fun-loving personalities will make every moment special, it is also important to plan carefully for their safety and comfort. As you prepare for your upcoming trip, keep these ideas in mind for ensuring that your pets have everything they need when you hit the open road:

1. Schedule a Pre-Trip Checkup

Although your pet’s vaccinations may be up-to-date, your veterinarian may recommend additional ones.. Let your vet know your itinerary so that she can give additional tips. For example, she may recommend special boots to protect your dog’s paw pads if you plan to stop for a hike in the wilderness at some point during your trip.

2. Have a Crate Handy

Pets that are comfortable in the car won’t have to stay in the crate the whole time. However, having one available is helpful during times when your pet may need a special place to stay safe such as in a hotel room.

3. Allow Time for Stops

Observe your pet for a few days and note how often they need to go out. This gives you a good clue as to how often you will need to pull off the road for breaks. Keep in mind that your pet will also need several opportunities to run and burn off energy. Check for dog parks along the way, or plan to find safe spots for walking such as community playgrounds that are on your route.

4. Double Up on Identification

Microchips are the ideal way to make sure that you are always reconnected with your pet if you get separated. However, having visible tags on your dog’s leash and crate make it easy for someone to quickly identify your dog if they get loose on the road. This is a good time to make sure your contact information is current.

5. Bring Plenty of Familiar Food

A road trip is not the time to try out new foods with your pet because it can lead to digestive distress. Instead, pack plenty of your pet’s favorite food with natural ingredients that will keep them fueled without making them sick. Keep in mind that pets may eat more than usual because of the energy they expend on the road, so bring an extra day’s worth to ensure you do not run out.

Traveling with your pet is an opportunity to bond as you enjoy new experiences together. By making sure that you plan for every possible contingency, your pet will stay safe on the road.