Summer traveling is something many of us look forward to each year, and it’s even more fun when you can bring your entire family – pets included! Preparation is key to having a seamless, stressless vacation.
Carefully planning your vacation with your pets can make the experience fun and comfortable for everyone. For starters, create your Pet Travel Checklist long before your travel dates (whenever possible). The first step to any traveling with pets – either domestically or internationally – is a visit with your vet.
Below, you’ll find our standard list of evaluation items:
1. Physical and psychological evaluation
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the excitement of traveling that we forget to make sure our pet’s physical and psychological state are in check beforehand. We recommend scheduling your pre-travel visit with us 6 weeks prior to your travel date, whenever possible.
During your visit with us, we’ll gage things like anxiety or behavior concerns that may take away from the enjoyment of traveling with your dog or cat. We’ll also look at any physical conditions or chronic disease that may make traveling more difficult and offer suggestions to make for a more comfortable ride. For example you may notice that your dog has anxiety in unfamiliar situations. Pet anxiety when traveling is particularly common, and where appropriately, our team can offer anti-anxiety prescriptions to ease any discomfort, or anti-inflammatory or pain relievers for chronic pain.
Pro-tip: Planning a road trip with your pet, but they’re not used to long car rides? Start with short trips around town to start getting your furry family member comfortable with the car ride.
Start with shorter distances and gradually increase them. Most companion animals adapt well as long as you keep the atmosphere calm and pleasant. A month before taking off is enough for most animals to get used to it.
2. Lifestyle (aka Travel) vaccination for your pets
Lifestyle vaccines are also referred to as non-core vaccines. Because it usually takes 2-4 weeks for them to reach complete protection you need to plan accordingly for the vaccination.
It’s recommended that dogs are vaccinated for Leptospirosis if they travel to places with water surfaces. The vaccine is given in two shots 2 to 4 weeks apart.
You never know in which area the dog flu (canine influenza) is going to hit. Wherever you travel your dog needs to be protected for two reasons:
· Not to get sick and ruin your trip
· Not to bring the disease back to your neighborhood
Get your info on which places are at high-risk states for Lyme disease. It’s best to get the dog protected even for short trips especially if they include hikes or hunts.
The general recommendation for cats is to get vaccinated for Feline Leukemia Virus. The latter is especially dangerous for all cats.
3. Parasite prevention when traveling with your pet
Parasite prevention when traveling applies to external and internal parasites alike. Some forms of intestinal worms can be transmitted to humans and many countries require that the pet is up to date on internal parasite prevention/treatment.
The health certificate and the pet passport often require statements that guarantee the dog or cat is on active parasite meds. (p.s. we can help you with that – schedule your appointment here)
Even though external parasite (ticks, fleas, lice, sand flies, mosquitoes) isn’t legally mandatory, any pet should be constantly protected. Tick-borne diseases have a worldwide distribution and can cause severe illness. Some of them include:
· Lyme disease
· Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Traveling to warmer regions like South and Central America, the Mediterranean and West Asia carries the risk of Leishmaniasis. Sandflies transmit the disease so a high-quality protective collar is the best protection.
Heartworms are especially prevalent in the southern and northeastern regions. If your pet is not already on heartworm prevention, please visit us to get started on a preventive medication.
4. Anxiety meds
Most pets don’t require medications for travel anxiety. However, we’ll let you know about the best option for your pet during your visit. Trazodone, , and gabapentin are usually prescribed to reduce anxiety in dogs.
Before you go, test the efficiency a few days earlier to adjust the dosage and make the trip as smooth as possible.
So that’s it! All that’s left on the checklist is to have an amazing summer vacation with the entire family, pets included!