Every now and then we hit the roads and fly the skies to visit our family and friends. Because pets are often considered members of the family as well, more and more animals are traveling too. To make the trip easy, safe, and enjoyable, make sure you consider a few things and prepare in advance.
Traveling and new places are often stressful for pets. It’s during these times that your pet is most likely to run away. Always restrain your pet with a leash or crate and identify them to prevent your trip from becoming “The Incredible Journey” for your pet! Make sure your pet has a tag that has your name and preferably mobile phone number on it. Consider an alternative “reunite” contact at your destination and remember that microchips with appropriate registration are a very good way of doing this.
The summer heat can be overwhelming for pets in cars in just a few minutes. A quick trip into a shop can be all it takes to cause heat stroke and death in pets locked in cars, even if the windows are down. Consider a tie-out or carry box that can be left outside the vehicle. Remember to restrain pets in a shaded area and provide plenty of fresh water.
Motion sickness and sedation
Personally, I’m not a big fan of sedating animals for travel, especially air travel. It’s much better to kennel train your pet in advance of the trip to avoid the need for sedation. Kennel training and acquainting your pet with car travel are keys. Although untrained pets can become distressed in shipping containers, some sedatives can have cardiovascular side effects. If the pet is bundled up in the cargo hold of a plane, no one will be there to monitor their respirations and raise the alert if they are having trouble. Some airlines will not ship your pet if they believe it has been sedated due to liability issues, so check first.
Sedatives are not meant for long-term use. It is neither practical nor safe to sedate your pet for a cross-country drive to Perth. If sedation is necessary for a car trip, it’s much easier to monitor them as you are right there next to them. Some pets become nauseous during car travel. Some drugs have sedative actions without depressing the cardiovascular system and can help cut down on motion sickness.
Speak to your veterinarian regarding your needs. NEVER medicate your pet on your own without seeking advice from a veterinarian. Pets will likely require examination prior to dispensing any medications.
Accommodation for everyone
If you are planning to be stopping overnight (or longer) along the way, be sure to call in advance to see if your accommodation center allows pets, and what their requirements are. Consider a kennel or travel crate for your pet in order to make your stay at a hotel or relative’s house stress-free. It’s nice to not worry about coming home to find the cat has used the drapes as a climbing jungle or the dog has eaten half the box springs! Avoiding destruction of your accommodation by your pet will likely keep your travel costs down and keep the relatives happier!
“Holidaying with Dogs” and “Holidaying with Cats” are nice little handbooks to take on the road. They have listings for pet-friendly accommodation across the country. These can be purchased online at www.lifebeinit.com. The RACQ and other traveling organizations also have similar handbooks for sale.
Kennel /crate training
Kennels are a great way for your pet to feel secure and stay safe while traveling. Many styles exist to suit your needs. Kennels are also useful to have at home to deal with post-operative care and other problems. Kennels mimic the den-like environment that pets use in the wild. If introduced properly, a kennel becomes a pet’s favorite place to stay.
If you are not kenneling your dog while in the car, restraint belts are available that attach to seat belts. Cats really must be crated as they can get under your feet and block views through windows, thus endangering everyone’s safety. Kennels are a must-have for air travel. They make car travel safer. As discussed above, they can help in smoothing things over when you show up at the non-pet-loving in-laws with Fluffy under your arm! Consult your veterinarian for tips on kennel selection and making training a hit.
If you can’t take your pet with you, Townsville has plenty of boarding kennels from which to choose but tou will need to ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. There’s nothing worse than trying to fit in vaccination appointments during the day before a big trip! Make sure the kennel requires proof of vaccination because if they don’t require it from you, they may not be requiring it from others, either. This increases risk of transmission of diseases, especially Bordatella and Parainfluenza (canine or kennel cough).
Likewise, make sure you are required to treat your pet with some sort of flea and tick preventative treatment. It is very easy for pets to bring home fleas and ticks after a stay so be aware. Make sure veterinary attention is available as needed, and leave your own details as well as your vet’s details with the attendants.
Please do NOT board puppies and kittens that have not yet completed their vaccination cycles because these pets are at especially high risk for contracting disease in these high-pet-density situations. Consider alternative arrangements such as leaving them with friends while you are away.
It is a really good move to inspect the kennels for cleanliness, feeding practices, and animal containment before you make that booking. You will worry all the time you are away if you have left your pet in a situation that gave you bad vibes when you left it there.