Ask the Vet Travel Special
By Kim Hammond D.V.M and Patricia A. Granata
Many of us are surprised, time after time, at just how perceptive animals can be. You are dreaming about paradise and what to pack and think that all the planning goes unnoticed by your pet. Yet the second you pull out your suitcase and start packing for that much- anticipated vacation your pets get those sad, droopy eyes. Sensing your imminent departure, they start pacing and will not leave your side. Somehow Fifi and Fido figure it out every time.
Seeing the sad expressions on their faces can be enough to give you second thoughts about going at all. Don’t panic, there are alternatives to such a dilemma that can turn your vacation into a pleasant experience for both you and your pet.
Common problems associated with pet travel by car are the claustrophobic feeling associated with traveling in closed quarters, car sickness, heat stroke, and running away.
You want to be mindful that while you may be comfortable listening to your favorite tunes and sipping from a bottle of Evian, Fido may not be sharing the same pleasant experience. Remember to stop for frequent walks and water breaks. Most rest stops along major highways are prepared for such visitors, and you will surely see other pet parents doing the same. In addition, many pet stores are recognizing the fact that more and more people are traveling with pets and now sell car seats, seat belts, and carriers that make traveling by car a safe and comfortable experience for you and your pet.
If your pet is prone to motion sickness, the first trip away in the car is not the best time to learn this. Take short trips, and see how your pet reacts ahead of time. If you find that they have difficulty with traveling by car you may want to see your vet for a tranquilizer.
In no circumstances should you ever leave your animals in the car. Heatstroke can happen very quickly, even if you crack open the windows. If you leave the car, so should your pet. More often than not we lose track of time when we step away from the car, and your cat or dog might suffer the consequences, without being able to do anything about it.
When you are in a new place, your pet may run off or get lost. To prevent losing him, be sure to have tags on your pet with updated information relevant for your trip such as a cell phone or the number of the hotel or place where you will be spending most of your time. Imagine losing your pet and having just your home phone number on his or her tag! In this modern age, you can also keep track of your pet with a microchip. All it takes is one simple visit to your vet, who will insert the identifying device in your pet’s skin, usually on the back of their neck under the collar area. In case your pet should become lost and is turned into a shelter or vet, a technician can quickly run the scanner over the pet’s back and find the microchip, which will reveal your name and that of your pet.
Finally, be sure to keep in mind that if your dog or cat has fleas or needs a bath, such problems should be attended to before the trip starts. Failing to do so can make a long car ride unbearable for all travelers.
Animal Fair caries a variety of high quality products designed to make traveling with your pet easier and more enjoyable for both of you!