(KCBS) – KCBS’ Jeff Bell talks to Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at The San Francisco SPCA, about taking road trips with your dogs.

If you do decide to take your pets with you on a road trip, there are some important factors you should note. First, let’s just start with cats. Cats generally hate to travel. It’s very stressful for them, so if you have the option, leave them at home with a caretaker. As for dogs, even though it’s extra work for you, you can have great fun on the road with your pal, as long as you take some precautions.

The first thing to do is to make sure your pet is microchipped, licensed and up to date on all vaccinations, including current rabies vaccines, almost always required for travel on public lands and parks. Take your dog for a check up and make sure he’s in good health and able to travel. Do a little research about any diseases or parasites that you may encounter in new places, such as heartworms or tick borne infections and make sure you have preventive medicine available. And on a practical note, make sure the places you plan to stay welcome pets. Some motels won’t accept certain breeds or dogs over a maximum size.

Cats for sure should be in a carrier in the car, because you don’t want a cat under your brake pedal while driving! Dogs should ride in a secure crate in the back of the vehicle, or wear a restraining harness, a type of doggy seat belt, when the vehicle is moving. And by the way, never let your dog ride with his head out of the window. Eye damage is common from the blowing wind and obstacles can inflict serious injury if you’re not careful.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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