Most of us with pets love the idea of bringing them along on a road-trip. Whether it be camping, to the cottage, or down into the United States – the trip doesn’t feel complete without them!
However, traveling with pets takes some thoughtful preparation, as it can be stressful for you and your four-legged companion for a variety of reasons. Use the tips and tricks below to prepare and ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone. As always, contact our team at Westway Animal Clinic if you have any questions or concerns about upcoming travel plans with your pets.
Travel related anxiety
1. Many pets are not used to traveling long distances. Take short trial runs to see how your pet reacts and to condition them to the environment and movement of the vehicle.
2. To help familiarize your pet to a travel crate, place it out in your home two to three weeks before your trip and put things like a favourite toy or blanket inside. Don’t forget to bring these favourite items along on the trip!
3. Consider using synthetic pheromones such as Adaptil (for dogs) and Feliway (for cats) to help calm them and reduce stress associated with travel. These products, available from your vet, come in a spray that can be used to spray your car or travel crate 15 minutes prior to placing your pet inside.
4. Pets can be predisposed to motion sickness just like some people. Feeling nauseous can be a cause of stress while traveling. Ask us what drugs are approved and safe to use for pets with motion sickness.
5. As briefly mentioned above, some sort of restraint device is strongly recommended. This could be a well-ventilated and appropriately sized travel crate (they should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably), a pet approved seat belt or barrier. In case of an accident, restraining/containing your pets can help to prevent injuries or a frightened pet escaping and getting lost. Pets freely wandering can also be a distraction to any driver and can easily cause a car accident.
6. Even though some pets look cute and love the feel of the wind in their face, they should not be allowed to have their paws or head out of a window. They can be hit by flying debris or jump/fall out of the car and be seriously injured.
7. It is never a good idea to leave your pet unattended in a car. Heat stroke is a real risk, and on a hot day temperatures can quickly rise to a deadly level. Make sure your air conditioning works and you have plenty of water for your pets during long trips.
8. Make sure that your pet has some form of identification on them while traveling, whether it is up-to-date tags or a microchip. Some pets will be disorientated and nervous in a new environment, and their natural response will be to run away.
Requirements upon your arrival
9. First and foremost; make sure your accommodations are pet friendly!
10. If you are crossing the border into the United States, a valid certificate of an up-to-date Rabies vaccination is necessary. In some parts of the United States, heartworm is widespread and preventative medication is absolutely essential.
11. Some other vaccinations may be a good idea depending on your destination. For example, at the cottage your pet may be in areas that wildlife are present and this can expose them to a variety of diseases. Ask us what vaccinations are best for your pet prior to your departure.
12. During the summer months, flea and tick prevention is necessary to prevent your pets from unwanted infestations by these nasty parasites.
Written by Helen Longrigg