Summer is right around the corner. Summer plans often include family vacations. Many families include our four legged friends. For those traveling with dogs and cats, it’s important to make sure that you take the necessary steps prior to travel and ensure that you have a comfortable vacation for both you and your pet!
Travelling by car is the most common method of travel for pets. Destinations that we also bring our dogs and cats to include the beach, the mountains, or the residence of family or friends. Before traveling with your pet, it’s important that you ask yourself the following questions:
-Do I have a vehicle that can accommodate my pet? A small car is perfect for a dog under 10 pounds or a cat. It may not be the best place for a 150 lb Great Dane! In addition, does the vehicle have enough room to accommodate my pet, luggage, and my pet’s crate or living arrangements?
-Does my pet experience motion sickness in the car when moving?
-Does my pet exhibit major signs of anxiety or stress when traveling in the car?
-Does my car have a temperate, cool environment for my pet?
Many of your questions can be answered far before your travel plans commence. To start, consider a test run with your dog or cat in the car. Take him or her along on a short trip across town or to a friend’s house nearby. Observe their behavior in the car while traveling. Dogs or cats with motion sickness will exhibit signs of nausea or discomfort. They will smack their lips, pant, drool, pace, and even vomit. For motion sickness, it’s important that you discuss these concerns with your doctor at Ebenezer Animal Hospital prior to departure. Most of the time we can recommend anti-nausea medication that can help reduce or even completely eliminate signs of motion sickness while travelling. Anxiety is also a common observation owners will make. Your pet may exhibit all of the signs of motion sickness in addition to vocalization, trembling, and frequent posture changing. These problems make the trip uncomfortable for both you and your pet. Again it is important to keep an open dialogue with us prior to your travel plans. Most of the time we can administer tranquilizers or anti-anxiety medications to calm your pet and make their trip enjoyable and stress free.
Most cars are kept at approximately 70 degrees while travelling. While this is comfortable for humans, it is often too warm for dogs and cats. This is especially true if your dog or cat is a darker color and he or she is in direct or indirect sunlight. When the sun is shining directly on your pet, their body temperature can increase anywhere from ten to twenty degrees Fahrenheit! Because of this, we recommend that you consider keeping the temperature cooler than you (the human) would prefer. For most cars, this is between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. As always, we NEVER recommend leaving your dog in a locked, unattended car for any length of time. Even a car at 70 degrees can easily reach over 100 degrees if the sun is directly shining.
Many of our pet parents also travel via air to various destinations throughout the year. Before booking your ticket for you or your furry companion, it is very important to make sure that you call the airline of your choice and ask the following questions:
-Can I fly my pet on your specific airline?
-What is the cost to fly my pet on the airline?
-If I can fly my pet, does he or she need to be in checked baggage, or can they fly alongside me in the main cabin?
-Does my pet require a health certificate prior to flying?
-If a health certificate is required, how far in advance can I have the health certificate made?
-If traveling internationally, do I require certification from my state that my pet is appropriate for international travel?
-Does the country I’m traveling to require any special vaccinations and/or documentation prior to arrival in the country?
These are just a few of the many questions you may need discuss with the airline prior to booking your ticket. Most small breeds of dogs and cats can accompany their owners in the main cabin. For larger breeds of dogs, they will often require special kennels that will travel via checked baggage.
Once your airfare is arranged and your pet is booked on the flight, please schedule your visit with Ebenezer Animal Hospital. We can produce all necessary health certificates available for domestic and international travel. Please plan ahead prior to arriving to our clinic with the following information readily available:
-The name and address of where the pet is originating from.
-The name and address of where the patient is traveling to.
-Any special acclimations or proof that is required from our clinic.
Every country in the world has a different set of guidelines when it comes to travel with your pet. We can help you obtain the necessary documents regardless of the country of destination. As mentioned earlier, the more information that you have available prior to your visit, the more smoothly your visit will be with us. As we discussed earlier, many pets will require some degree of sedation or anxiety relief during air travel. We have many medications available at Ebenezer Animal Hospital that we can cater to your pet’s individual needs. It is very important that you give the medication prescribed PRIOR to your travel plans. Many oral sedatives or anti-anxiety medications will be completely ineffective if given once the stressful event is introduced.
Pets enjoy travel too! Considering booking a pet friendly vacation this summer and make sure you keep Ebenezer Animal Hospital in the loop when it comes to your travel plans. Have a safe and happy summer!