By Dr. Laura Hady
Since many of us developed even closer bonds with our pets during the pandemic, we may want to take them with us when we travel. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when exploring the country with your pet, whether by car or plane, any time of year:
- Consider motion sickness medication if you will l be traveling along winding roads or think there may be turbulence on a plane. Your family veterinarian can help you decide which medication is the “best fit” for your pet.
- Some states and airlines require proof of certain vaccinations and health certificates. Contact your veterinarian for the requirements well in advance. Keep your pet’s medical records on your phone, or keep paper copies with you just in case there is an emergency health situation. I always suggest clients conduct an internet search of veterinary emergency clinics located along the route they will be traveling. While you may not personally know the doctors and staff at these clinics, they are often very understanding of stressful situations and can provide the most complete care for your pet.
- Take something your pet loves to cuddle with on your trips. This may help your animal to feel more comfortable and relaxed while in unfamiliar locations and situations. (I have learned not to take their favorite item, as I don’t want their most precious possession to get lost.)
- Please never leave a pet in the car unattended, even during cooler months where you live. Always double check to see if your pet is getting the proper air flow in the car, as some air conditioning units do not provide adequate ventilation to all areas. Of course, different areas of the country have different levels of heat, humidity, and vehicle theft. Please be aware that pets can die from heat in a car or get stolen from a vehicle even when the owner leaves the car to go inside a building for just a few minutes.
Should you leave your pet at home when you travel, hire a responsible family member, friend, or licensed pet sitter. Place a sign in a highly-visible front window alerting first responders that animals are inside and outlining what to do with your pets if an emergency such as a fire should occur while you are gone. Commercial and private boarding facilities are always an option for pets, too. Most importantly, have fun, and enjoy the preparation and the journey of an amazing adventure.