This time of year, a lot of people are traveling to visit family or to go on vacation over the holidays. Here are some things to consider when taking your pets with you on these trips.
- Keep in mind that many pets don’t spend a lot of time riding in the car. Some of the pets only travel in the car to come see us at the vet clinic. There can be some anxiety associated with riding in the car. You can desensitize the animal to car rides by taking short car rides and making them as pleasant as possible- treats, go to the park or somewhere interesting. Sometimes just starting out with getting in the car, shutting the door, then going back into the house will help get them used to just being in the car. If they do okay with that, try turning on the car and driving to the end of the driveway. Take short trips as long as your pet isn’t stressed by this and gradually work up to longer trips. If your pet continues to be anxious in the car, please contact our office so we can talk with you about some medicine options.
- We have medication for dogs that is labeled for car sickness. If your pet gets nauseated or vomits when riding in the car, please let us know so that we can go over that medication with you.
- Be sure to make frequent stops if you have a dog so they can relieve themselves. Even have some water and food available at these stops if you are traveling more than a couple of hours. Consider having food, water and a litter box available for your cat if you are traveling a long distance.
- Keep your pets secured either in a carrier or a seat belt/harness while driving. This is not only for their safety but for yours as well. You don’t need a cat climbing in your lap while you’re trying to drive.
- Even though some dogs find it fun to hang their head out of the window, there are potential dangers to this: flying debris, hitting their face on something outside the car, trying to jump out and getting out of the window or getting caught trying.
- You will most likely need a health certificate if you are flying with your pet. Be sure to check with your airline to see what they require for flying. Each company is different and it is your responsibility to research this before you leave. If you are flying to Hawaii, there are some very specific things your need to make sure are done before you fly out. If you are leaving the country, there are even more things that you need to check on for your pet to enter another country. Some of the requirements for flying to Hawaii and other countries include testing that needs to be done. You will not be able to come two days before you fly and get the proper paperwork in order, so please plan ahead. The health certificate exam needs to be done within 10 days of your travel date.
- If your pet will not be with you in the cabin, please make sure to research what part of the plane and the environment that your pet will be kept in during the flight. If it is not in a controlled environment, it will get extremely cold during the flight, especially in the winter.
- Make sure the kennel you are transporting your pet in is secure and follows standards of the airline you are flying with. Consider a water bottle and food for the pet if it will be a long flight.
- If your pet is anxious with traveling, contact our office for information for safe options for sedation or anti-anxiety medications for travel.
- Make sure that your dog’s information is up to date on any tags or collars. Also confirm that any contact information for a microchip is up to date.
- If your pet is on medication or special food, make sure you have enough supply to last you while you are gone. It is difficult to get specialty diets and medications when you are in a place without an established client relationship.
- Practice traveling before you need to leave incase you might need some pharmaceutical help with traveling.
- If you are using a carrier, put the carrier out a few days before you leave so the pet will get used to the carrier being there. Many pets get scared when the owner pulls the carrier out of storage because they know they are headed someplace scary. If they get used to the carrier being there, they won’t be as hard to get them in there when it’s time to go. Even put treats and toys in the carrier to make it less scary.
- Secure your pets with a carrier or a leash. Even if your pet is good about staying by you at home or in your yard, they could react differently outside in the world. There may be noises, smells, or sights that could startle them causing them to run off. They could get lost or even hit by another car. Please keep your pets as safe and secure as possible when away from the house.
Hopefully this helps keep your furry family members safe while traveling with you. Have a wonderful holiday!