Traveling With Your Pet? Plan Well!

by Dr. Doug Pernikoff, DVM


School ended and many of us are interested in a summer family vacation. Certainly, we want to share that with our entire family, including our beloved Fido! But, in order to have a pleasant and care free trip, pet owners need to do their homework in order to make best preparations for your success.

First step is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Make sure your vaccines are up to date. Discuss the intended trip activities and game plan. Your pet’s doctor may have valuable input. Questions to address may include: “Do I have my pet micro-chipped, or identified in any other permanent manner?” If driving, rest and potty stops are critical, but also present scenarios where your pet may break away from their lead, and you want to be sure you can prove ownership to retrieve him/her. “What sort of emergency supplies and medicines should we take along?”

Many vets will put a list together, or even create a packet of essential goodies for the road. I always encourage my clients to carry along an informational card of critical information regarding your pet, like microchip number, pertinent medical history, name, address and other contact info.

Take advantage of the veterinary visit to discuss feeding methods on the trip, as you want to avoid overfeeding to minimize tummy upset and what follows! Many pets require dramamine or other mild sedatives throughout the trip. Again, concerns like these are best handled by your veterinarian.

Secondly, as you plan your route of travel, be sure you carry along a list of motels, hotels and more, that are PET FRIENDLY! They are much more frequent in today’s world, than in our past. Some may even have daycare facilities so your family can break away to some activity that simply will not be possible with your dog in hand. Again, be sure you understand the requirements of any given facility where you might stay, so you can avoid calamity.

Remember that dogs are very heat sensitive. Statistics have shown that a dog left in the car, even with the windows cracked a bit, at 75 degrees farenheit, for as little as 10 minutes, can suffer heat stroke. This syndrome may present as simply excessive panting, but in short order can lead to immediate shock and even death. Keep your pet cool and always have access to water.

Traveling with your pets can be a great adventure. Just be sure to do your homework and be aware of those scenarios where problems can arise. Drive carefully, and have fun!


Dr. Doug Pernikoff and Staff

Clarkson-Wilson Veterinary Clinic

& Veterinary Pet Rescue(VPR)



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