Travel Options For Pets

By Dr. Doug Pernikoff, DVM

Many families rush away for a final summer vacation prior to the onset of the school season. In many cases, people enjoy bringing their pets along, if they are traveling by car. There are a number of issues to address to be sure you have a safe trip, free of safety issues and concerns. Let’s get started with actions suggested and/or required.

I would suggest that you carry an information packet that includes a summary of current vaccinations, any medical history of particular concern, and a health certificate from your veterinarian. Technically, pet owners may need to contact that destination state for an entry permit. Your veterinarian may help you resolve this issue. Traveling through multiple states should not pose any given problems as long as you carry the health certificate along.

Be sure you have your pet microchipped, in the rare occasion that there may be an escape and your pet is lost. Check to see that a collar, and appropriate, up to date tags are present. Some pet owners prefer a tatoo as a means of identification as well.

I always suggest fasting dogs and cats for travel. Obviously, you can feed very small amounts along an extended trip plan, but the idea is to avoid an overloaded tummy that may encourage nausea in travel, and thereby, vomiting. In fact, if you are unsure of your pet’s travel comfort, I would encourage you to do some test drives. First, sit in the car, with engine running and just sit for 20 minutes or so (not in a closed garage, of course), and then follow with some short drives. This action may prove very useful.

Many folks appreciate the use of a doggy seat belt apparatus. In other cases, the use of a crate might be important. I always concern myself with the image of pets flying around the car in the event of an abrupt braking event, or worse, in the event of an accident. Stop every 2 hours or so to walk and to water your pets as well.

Another suggestion for pet owners, is to plan ahead, pre-identifying hotels, motels and more, that will allow pets. This is a very important point, as trying to sneak in critters can create undue duress and difficulty for you. Planning is the name of the game.

And most importantly, do not leave animals in cars unattended, especially on very hot days. Even 70 degrees Fahrenheit, over 10-15 minutes, can induce heat exhaustion or heat stroke, both very serious conditions that may lead to death.
Have a great trip. Be safe. Plan well, and enjoy your adventure.

Fondly, Dr. Doug Pernikoff
Clarkson-Wilson Veternary Clinic
636-530-1808 • clarksonwilsonvet.com