Sunday, October 11, 2009

ASK THE VET: Traveling with Your Pet

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Dear Dr. Jacki:

I have a question about strategies for traveling with dogs-- ways to soothe and calm a nervous dog, etc. Could you address this with an eye toward both auto and air travel--long trips in mind.

Thanks, S.J.

Dear SJ:

Traveling in the Car

Make sure your pet always has a form of identification on them.  Preferably their collar with id tag and a microchip which can be implanted by your veterinarian.  I cannot tell you the number of stories that I have heard of pets finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings and escaping, not to be found again.

Pets should travel in either a crate or a carrier that is big enough for them to stand, sit, lie down and turn around safely.  It is a good idea to get your pet used to the crate before the trip.  Have your pet spend a small amount of time in the crate daily adding more and more time each day.

Don’t feed your pet within 3 hours of travel.  Some pets have a tendency for nausea while in the car and they may vomit.

It is never a good idea to leave a pet alone in a parked car as vehicles can quickly overheat.

If you are concerned about your pet’s nervousness while traveling, make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss medications that can be given to your pet to make the car ride a little more enjoyable.

Set aside time during your travel day to take your pet on a walk.  Exercising your pet before the trip begins will make them a better travel partner as well.

Travel by Air

Most importantly, make an appointment with your veterinarian before your travel date.  Your pet will need an exam and a health certificate stating that he is healthy enough to travel.  Your veterinarian will give you all of the necessary papers.  The health certificate must be dated within 10 days of travel.

Make sure your pet and your pet’s crate are properly identified with their name and address.  Some pets have escaped at airports so please leave their collar on while traveling.

Choose a crate or carrier that is big enough for him to stand, sit, lie down and turn around safely inside.

Discuss tranquilizers with your veterinarian.  I am not a fan of tranquilizers during air travel because it can be difficult to tell if the pet is truly relaxed or sick and in need of medical care.  There are some ‘natural’ tranquilizers that have been used with success like Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, which you can order through this site, by clicking on the picture/link below.  Check with your veterinarian before using these as well.

Have safe and happy travels!!

Dr. Jacki

Dr. Jacki

For more information on Dr. Jacki and her practice, you may find her at  4 Paws House Calls. A personal appointment will likely provide more specific information on your dog and your questions.

Dr. Jacki's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian. 

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