Warm weather is finally upon us, and many of us include our furry family members in our summer travel plans. We make sure that we have everything that we need for our vacations but sometimes forget that our pets will have needs on the road.
Before traveling, you should check with your veterinarian's office to see if any additional vaccines would be recommended for your destination area. Lyme disease is transmitted by certain kinds of ticks, and Leptosporosis is contracted from infected urine or soil. Both can result in kidney failure, which could be avoided with proper vaccinations. If your plans include an extended trip, it might be a good idea to take your pet in to your vet for a wellness exam prior to traveling.
Road trips should include these pet essentials: vaccine certificate, plenty of water, a minimum of a three-day supply of food, medication (always keep in the bottle in which it was dispensed), poop bags, and an extra leash with a collar or harness. Bedding, treats, and toys might be great to pack if room allows. If possible, have your veterinarian email a copy of your pet's records to you. Most of us travel with laptops or cell phones with email access and immediate access to medical records — a great asset to a local veterinarian in case of an emergency. Just as we do for ourselves, a basic pet emergency kit should be added to your preparations. The kit should include bandage material, antibiotic cream, eyewash, and possible antihistamine for an allergic reaction. You should check with your veterinarian if over-the-counter medication is okay to give to your pet and what the correct dosage is for your pet.
Restrain your pet! As much as we love our pets and they love to be close to us, pets in the front section of a moving vehicle are not recommended. Your pets should be restrained by a car safety harness or in a pet carrier. Besides being a distraction to the driver, pets in the front seat can be a safety hazard. In the event of an accident, your pet could be thrown about, or even out of, the vehicle. If your pet is in a new and unfamiliar area, they could become confused or afraid and run away, even if injured. This is a good example of why a collar or harness with an identification tag or a microchip is recommended. Many people have their pets microchipped but then never register the microchip with the company. If your pet becomes lost in an unfamiliar area, it would take much longer to reunite you and your pet if there is not a registered phone number to contact you.
“If staying at a hotel, motel, or a campground, you should check the pet policies prior to traveling.”
When stopping at rest areas, use caution when opening your vehicle's door. Your pet is probably just as anxious as you are to get out and stretch their legs. You want to make sure that they are on a leash to avoid having them run off and potentially getting lost or injured. If you plan on stopping to eat on the way to your destination, keep your pets in mind. Do not leave your pets alone in your vehicle, even with the window cracked. Your pet can overheat easily, which could cause an unnecessary medical emergency. Perhaps a preplanned picnic in a shaded area might be the perfect solution.
If staying at a hotel, motel, or a campground, you should check the pet policies prior to traveling. Some facilities require a pet deposit and may have size or breed restrictions.
Is boating in the picture for your family fun in the sun? Seasickness can affect some dogs, so it is recommended to let them get adjusted to the movement while docked. Just as we practice boat safety by wearing life vests, it is recommended for your pet to wear a life vest with a handle so that your can lift them from the water. Not all dogs are, or remain, strong swimmers. Remember that your dog will require shore stops to relieve themselves, so make sure that you have a collar and leash on the boat. A shaded area should be available on the boat for your pet, as they are prone to heatstroke in hotter weather. A cool, wet towel over your pet's body will help on hot days. Most importantly, make sure that water is always available for your furry friend when they accompany you on your day on the water. Warm weather is for outside fun for all of us...so enjoy!