De-Stressing Your Pet’s Vacation

It’s almost summer! That means you might be hitting the road for vacation in the very near future. Considering your pet’s needs prior to leaving home can save both time and frustration later.

Got a carsick pooch? “Once a scared pet is actually in the car, the signs of sickness typically start during the first few minutes of the ride,” says Dr. Bill Neumann, one of BRAC’s veterinarians. “Compounding the problem is the fact that some pets prefer to ‘hide and ride’, so they can end up not only sick but stuck under one of the seats.”

To avoid these problems, consider making “practice runs” in your car with your pet. Start out with short rides at first, then let them become gradually longer. At the end of the ride, offer lots of praise and treats, and before long your pet may be begging for a ride in the car. For motion sickness, there is a new medication (Cerenia, made by Pfizer Animal Health) available that alleviates this problem in most pets, without sedating them. If you think your pet might benefit from Cerenia, give us a call at 317.257.5334 and ask to speak with your veterinarian.

Here are ten tips you should keep in mind when traveling with your pet:

  1. Before the trip, take your pet for a check-up with your veterinarian and obtain a health certificate and documentation of vaccinations. A health certificate is especially helpful if there is a problem or health concern and you are traveling in another state.
  2. Your pet’s travel crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably. The bottom of the crate should be lined with disposable towels (below the bedding) to absorb any “accidents”.
  3. Try to avoid traveling in extreme weather conditions. If you must travel in hot weather, do not leave your pet unattended in your vehicle. On a 70 degree day, the temperature of your locked car can raise by 40 degrees in minutes!
  4. Bring a couple of jugs of cold water. The water can be used to cool down your pet should your car break down.
  5. Dogs should be given water and exercise during rest stops, but they should never be allowed to run loose at rest areas. No matter how well-trained a dog is, they are experiencing something new and accidents could happen. Cats, birds and all other pets should remain in their carriers until your daily destination is reached, and they are safely indoors.
  6. Under no circumstances should you leave a pet in a parked car. It only takes minutes for a pet to develop heat stroke. If they are accidentally locked in the car, seek immediate emergency assistance.
  7. If you will be flying, remember that most airlines have a limit on the number of pets allowed in the cabin, so be sure to inform your airline when you make your reservation that you’ll be boarding with your pet. Also, ask for the allowable dimensions of your pet’s carrier. If your pet is traveling in the cargo section and you’re traveling in hot weather or to a warm climate, book a night flight. Also, freeze water you provide for your pet so that it will not spill during loading, but will melt by the time your pet is thirsty.
  8. Let the person sitting next to you know that you have a pet with you. He or she may be allergic and need to switch seats with someone else.
  9. If you are planning to stay in a hotel, make arrangements prior to starting your trip. Your pet should be a welcome guest, so be sure you have booked a pet-friendly hotel.
  10. When you arrive at your destination, keep your pet in a calm, quiet area and give him or her plenty of time to adjust to the new environment
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