Traveling with your pet? Nothing can ruin a trip like having to deal with accidents or unanticipated health issues. I asked Laci Schaible, DVM, to suggest five key thing travelers can do to prepare for situations they might encounter and to head off problems.
Here are her answers:
1. Buckle up for safety
The classic American tradition of road trips can easily be shared with your four-legged children. However, they can be dangerous if you don’t prepare appropriately. While it is tempting to let your dog sit in your lap and/or look out the window, both are dangerous. A sudden stop or turn can send your pet flying. There are special doggy seat belts; cat carriers should be used as well and secured to the back seat with the seat belt. (See this car safety for your pet video for more detail.)
2. Prepare a pet first aid kit
There are some great ones available for purchase, or you can assemble one yourself. Things to not forget: gauze, milk of magnesia (in case of toxin ingestion), hydrogen peroxide, nonstick bandages, adhesive tape for bandages, digital thermometer, eye dropper (or large syringe without needle), muzzle, and ear cleaner (which should always be applied after swimming to prevent ear infections).
3. Ask about diseases in Your Destination
Consider where you are going and ask your vet about the diseases that are unique to that area that your pet might contract. For instance, the northeast U.S. is notorious for Lyme disease, and if your dog isn’t on flea/tick prevention, she would be susceptible to this terrible disease. A simple talk with your veterinarian can let you know if you need to do anything extra to prepare your pet for travel.
4. Test Sedatives in Advance
If your vet recommends a medicine to help calm your pet, make sure you try it out in advance when you can keep a close eye on him. The dose may need to be adjusted, as any sedative can have adverse effects. I would also stay away from the drug called acepromazine, especially for air travel since it can be dangerous. Less than five years ago, it was routinely prescribed to make travel easier on pets, but there have been many deaths caused from it.
5. Put a Vet Contact on Speed Dial
Do your homework and make sure you have a local emergency clinic’s number in your phone. Unsure if your situation is an emergency? Professional ask a vet services, such as VetLIVE.com or the Pet Poison Helpline are immediate and can help you know if your vacation schedule—and budget–should be interrupted.
Bio: Married veterinarians Drs. Laci and Jed Schaible are the co-founders of VetLIVE.com, a business that provides pet owners the inside info they need to effectively navigate the consumer side of the vet industry at an affordable price. They offer a 24/7 service with second opinions and LIVE chat with a vet. Check out their blog at VetLive.com/blog.