Friday, November 20, 2015

Travel with your pet

It's that time of year... The time for traveling.  While I can't make holiday travel less stressful,  I can give a couple of tips:

1) Plan ahead.  Don't leave your travel plans, or pet's holiday plans for the last minute.  It can be difficult to get space in a boarding facility or find someone to come in your home over the holidays.  I know of some clinics and boarding facilities that are already booked for Christmas, which is over a month away.

2) Find out information about where you are going.  This may seem pretty simple, but finding out the airlines requirements, hotels requirements and talking with your veterinarian about any specific health risks (these change with the part of the country you travel to) does not always occur.  Also, if you are traveling, look into whether you need a Health Certificate.  These are all items that should not be left for the last minute.  Some areas of the country also are having a canine influenza outbreak, so it's good to know if you will be traveling to or through that area.

3) Consider whether an anti-anxiety medication or anti-nausea medication might be a good idea.  There are some homeopathic remedies that can help.  Rescue remedy is one I have heard of some people having success with, as well as Zylkene.  These are over-the-counter medications.  We also have the ability to use prescription medications (such as doggy/kitty valium) and a great motion-sickness medication.  Signs of car-sickness include drooling, inability to rest, panting heavily, as well as whining.  If this is something that can be of help to your dog/cat, please let your veterinarian know.

4) Dependent on your car/ size of pet, consider restraint.  It is the law in some states (such as New Jersey) that your dog needs a seatbelt.  This is a good idea, if it is practical for you, even if it isn't the law in your state.  A kennel, or something to keep the dog (and cat) contained or protected, can even save their life.  I had a patient once who was the only survivor of a car accident because his kennel protected him.  Both of his owners perished in the accident.  Just like seat belts matter for people, they can matter for dogs too.  Cats roaming around the car can be dangerous for them and humans alike.  The area under the dashboard, where the brakes and accelerator are can be an inviting and dangerous area for a cat to hide.

Travel with pets can be a fun and memorable experience.  Please think about some of these tips to keep everyone safe this travel season.

The following links may be helpful:

Air travel with your pet

Holiday Travel Planning, Coming, Going and Staying

Careful planning ensures smooth journey

And on a Holiday note let me just give a public service announcement.  Unless you are parents who have thought long and hard about adding a new addition to your family... Please DO NOT give a pet as a gift.  It is well known in the veterinary community that January and February are bad months at shelters.  This is the time when the adorable Christmas gift becomes too much of a burden for many un-expectant owners.  Puppies and kittens grow up- and they aren't always easy to train.  They also take a lot of work and are not a novelty.  Please consider this.  Also consider what is called the "new" type of animal abuse- read this article Poor Little Rich Dog to learn more.

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