If you are like most pet owners, traveling by car without your furry friend is either unthinkable or impossible. However, trying to travel with a pet in the car while keeping the animal happy and healthy can be a real challenge. How can you embark on an adventure with your pet along for the ride? These tips should help you figure it all out and keep your pet safe and content.

Bring Enough Supplies for the Trip

Make sure you bring enough familiar food and treats to last your entire trip. Having to rely on unusual pet food could cause stomach upset that would disrupt your travels. Collapsible pet bowls can help you save space and give your cuddly pal a comfortable way to eat on the road. You may want to consider filling a jug with enough water to last through your journey, as well.

Use a Sports Utility Vehicle

An SUV has enough space for even a large animal and all of his or her supplies - with room to spare for everything else you need for your trip. If you don't already have an SUV, consider one of the many new suvs on the market today. There are different models to meet every need and preference.

Pack a First Aid Kit

Make sure to bring a well-stocked first aid kit with you in the car - one that contains the necessary emergency items that will help you and your pet stay safe. Some of the many important items to include are pet bandages, plastic bags for animal waste, antibiotic ointment, a towel to wrap around your pet if needed and baby wipes for general cleaning purposes. Make sure you also include proof of your animal's rabies shots in case you need to show such documentation at any point.

Bring a Good Carrier

Make sure that you purchase a high-quality pet carrier or crate that is well-ventilated so your pet has a secure place to stay in the car. It should be large enough for your animal to comfortably move, lie, sit and stand up in. Make sure you secure it so your pet will not be thrown around if you should need to stop suddenly. An alternate option is a harness that attaches to one of your seat buckles so your pet can roam around more freely while staying fairly secure.

Make the Front Seat Off-Limits

The front seat should always be avoided for your pet's safety. Driving with your animal causes a host of dangerous distractions and other hazards, while sitting your dog or cat in the passenger seat puts him or her at risk for airbag injuries. The back passenger seats or a secure pet carrier are the safest spots for your pet.

Never Leave Your Pet Alone

Do not leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle at any point during your trip - not in any circumstance. Hot days can make cars unbearably and deathly hot, while cold days can make them dangerously cold. Always make arrangements to bring your animal with you outside of the car when you need to make a pit stop. You owe it to your pet to keep him or her as safe as possible.

Utilize a Travel Tag

It is important to keep your contact information attached to your pet's collar during the entirety of your car trip. Even the most obedient animals may run away or become lost in certain travel situations. If you have the money and the time, consider microchipping or tattooing your animal with your contact details so the information cannot get lost. If your animal is already microchipped, make sure your methods of contact are updated before you head out.

Bringing your pet on the road can be very complicated. However, a little careful planning and some compassionate consideration for your pet's delicate needs can make the experience enjoyable for you and your pet alike.