Traveling with your pet
It’s always nice to take a vacation and it’s getting easier to take your furry friends with you. More and more pets are considered part of the family and it’s unimaginable to leave your friend behind. If you will be traveling with your pet, keep these tips in mind to make sure everybody is safe and happy.
Pack a bag for your pet. There are many things your pet will need to travel, so have a bag set aside for them. Have some fun with it; you can take an old back pack and put your pets name on it. There are also bags that can be bought from the pet store that are designed for traveling with your pet.
Never forget the necessities. No matter how far you are going, you should always have your pet’s medical information with you. Your Veterinary Clinic can provide you with portable medical records (usually a folded card with a pocket for important documents). Your pets vaccine status should be documented in this as well as any medical conditions and medications needed. If you become injured this will tell someone if your pet needs daily medication to survive. Pack any medications that your pet needs, with appropriate labels. Make sure you have enough to last the entire time you are away. Not all Veterinary Clinics carry the same medications. Keep your Veterinary Clinics contact information handy as well as the nearest Veterinary Hospital to where you will be staying in case of an emergency. If you will be traveling over the boarder have the proper forms signed by your Veterinarian.
Have enough of your pet’s food to last your vacation. There are so many different kinds and brands of pet food; you may not be able to find your pets specific food if you run out and changing diets can cause digestive upset. If you will be traveling out of the country check all regulations for pet foods. You may need to have an unopened bag or it may need to be labeled. Depending on where you will be going fill some water bottles with tap water from your home. The different bacterial content in water can cause your pet to feel sick. If you wouldn’t drink the water don’t feed it to your pet. Collapsible food and water bowls are wonderful for traveling; they will take up very little space and can be opened quickly for feeding. Some of these bowls will even store the food so it can be ready for a meal with no measuring.
A picture is worth a 1000 words. In the event your pet were to get lost showing a picture will be much more effective then describing your pet. Carry a photo with you when traveling, keep one on your cell phone or tablet as well. Technology can help you retrieve your lost friend. If you have a mobile picture ready you can e-mail it out to local veterinary clinics and shelters. Keep note of your pets microchip or tattoo number and any distinguishing features. If your pet needs daily medication have a collar tag made up. This will be similar to the medic alert bracelets worn by people. Having a tag made for your pet usually costs under $20 and this may save their life. It can say something like “I NEED DAILY MEDICATION TO LIVE – PLEASE TAKE ME TO A VETERINARY HOSPITAL”. Make sure your pet’s condition and medication is noted on the tag. When they are found a professional will know how to treat them. Ask at you Veterinary Clinic to see if these tags are available for your pet’s condition.
If you will be traveling by plane be sure your pet is in a proper sized carrier (they should be able to stand up and turn fully around). Be aware of all rules and regulations for the airline you will be using. Will your pet be flying with you in the cabin or with the luggage? What are the customs laws for the country you will be landing in or anywhere you will stop on a layover? Canada and America usually only require a Rabies Vaccination and a clean bill of health. Many other countries require extensive paperwork done in advance. This could mean the difference between your pet spending their vacation with you or in quarantine. If you need information about taking your pet to another country call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Animal Health Import –Export – 519-753-3478
If you are traveling by car your pet should be in a crate or a seat belt. In the event of an accident your pet can become a projectile in the vehicle or be thrown from the car. This can be a danger for other passengers in the car and your pet. If your pet is loose in the car and survives an accident they may escape from the car and become lost. Be sure to find pet friendly hotels along your route in advance; more and more hotels will allow animals to stay but they will each have their own regulations. This may be a weight/size restriction or something as simple as animals must be leashed in public areas. It is best to call ahead and be sure your pet will be welcome where you plan to stay.
If you are unable to bring your pet with you on vacation there are many options for your friend here at home. Boarding kennels are available where your pet will be cared for while you are away. Some boarding kennel can be considered “hands free” this means they have runs that can be open to an outdoor area without someone handling your pet. These kennels are very good for any dogs that are not good with strangers. Let the kennel know ahead of time if your dog is fearful or likely to bite. This will keep everyone safe. If your pet will be staying in a kennel, confirm they have all the vaccines they need. Most kennels require dogs to be vaccinated against Bordetella (Kennel cough) this is an upper respiratory disease that can be easily passed dog to dog while they cough. There is also the option of a pet sitter. Some pet sitters will care for your animal in your home. This way your friend will be in the comfort of their own home and will be less stressed with you away. Veterinary Hospitals will usually keep a list of local kennels and pet sitters who are known to be trusted professionals.
Whatever you will be doing for your Vacation this year may all the members of you family be happy and safe.