Family vacations are great. Everyone loaded in the car off to the cottage, camping or other adventures is exciting and allows us all to see new things. When the whole family piles into the car the pets need to find room too. Dogs and cats are the usual companions and we leave the fish, birds, hamsters at home. Travelling with pets takes some planning and some special considerations and that is the purpose of today’s blog.
When travelling with pets the driver must realize that ‘pushing through’ to the destination 10 hours away without a break is not suitable for man nor beast. Bathroom breaks at least every 2 hours are needed for dogs. Cats can use the litter box in the car but it will need to be emptied to allow travel to be bearable by everyone else.
When stopping it is important to have a well-fitting collar and a strong leash to prevent escape of the canine companion in unfamiliar surroundings. Identification such as collar tags and microchips help recover that lost pet without too much heartache if the unthinkable does happen.
Motion sickness does happen in some pets which can make travel for them and you challenging, especially if a long road trip is planned. Medications are available to prevent the car sickness and one in particular, maropitant, does not cause drowsiness so your dog can enjoy the scenery and not just sleep the trip away.
Depending on the length of the trip, overnight stays may be needed along the way. Researching pet friendly hotels before the trip is a must. Websites like http://www.petfriendly.ca/ can help plan overnight stays and sometimes the route you take.
When travelling with pets it is important to remember any medications they may need, any special food they may need as well as beds, toys and the contact information for a veterinarian close to your destination in case injury or illness darkens the trip.
Planning and foresight can help make vacation with the family more enjoyable. Have a great trip and I hope your family vacation is relaxing and enjoyable.
Written by: Dr. David Kerr, DVM