Whether it’s taking your pets on a new adventure or just not having to leave them alone with a pet sitter or at a kennel, traveling with your pets is another way you treat them like family! There are, however, some considerations to take into account before you pack your bags.
How does your dog or cat do in the car? Not sure? Then it might be a good idea to start small. Like people, young dogs and cats can be prone to motion sickness due to the structure of their immature ears. Most outgrow this with time, but if motion sickness is allowed to become a pattern, it’s possible to develop a conditioned response that is triggered even as your dog gets older.
Here are a few tips: keep the car cool, if possible – avoid curvy roads, keep the trips as short as possible, allow breaks for longer trips, keep your pet facing forward so they can look out the front window. Remember a crate is the safest place for your pet to be in a car! If your dog or cat is prone to drooling or vomiting in the car, discuss anti-nausea medication with your veterinarian.
If your dog or cat has developed significant anxiety about riding in the car (or anything else), talk with your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication and behavioral therapy. Know however, that medication alone doesn’t always provide the complete fix for which most owners hope. Your relationship with your pet is lifelong. Investing the time to work through behavior issues provides real benefit to your dog or cat’s quality of life and yours! If your veterinarian doesn’t have the exact tools you need, ask for a referral to a board-certified veterinary or doctoral-trained behaviorist.
Are you leaving the state of Washington? If the answer is yes, put heartworm disease on your radar. Heartworm is definitely something you want to prevent – treatment is expensive and complicated! Talk with your veterinarian about heartworm preventatives before you go. If you are traveling by plane, you may need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. Check with your airline and look at state entry requirements at the USDA website.
Are You Ready?
Have you run through your checklist yet? Call your pet-friendly hotel and check to see what amenities are provided, especially if you booked online – policies can change, even if the web page didn’t! Also, if you’re driving, it’s not a bad idea to see what veterinary hospitals are on your route, in case you have an emergency. And, it’s always a good idea to travel with a copy of your pet’s vaccination records.
Last, but not least – relax and have a good time!
Erin West, DVM
Green Lake Animal Hospital