Hooray, Holiday Time!

July 21, 2012 - 11:06am Updated: July 22, 2012 - 11:45am

Taking pets on vacation requires a lot of planning. According to Petland, preparation is key.

Pet birds, cats, dogs, and other small animals can enjoy family getaways as much as anyone else if behavioral, environmental, nutritional, and maintenance needs are met. Petland recommends vacationers take along an ample supply of their pet’s regular food, treats, water from home, favorite toys, exercisers including tie-out stakes, roosting perches and runabout wheels, traveling crate or cage, litter, collar, leashes, comb, brush, shampoo, nail clippers, vitamins or mineral licks, prescribed medications, and litter box or pooper-scooper. And if your pet has a favorite blanket or pillow on which it sleeps, then be sure to throw it in.

Preparations for taking a pet on vacation will vary slightly depending on the mode of transportation. However, all modes require pets to be confined in well-ventilated, pet-approved traveling crates: one in which a pet can stand up and turn around. Strapping the crate to the back seat of the car with a seat belt will keep the pet in place and safe during sudden stops. Pet owners need to call ahead to find out which airlines allow pets and what the shipping regulations are. Most airlines and border crossings require a veterinarian-approved health certificate.

Experimentation with travel should not be done at the expense of any pet’s health or well-being. Therefore, Petland asks pet owners to heed the following information before engaging in a vacation with a pet:

  • Trial run: Your pet may be a wonderful traveler, but just as likely motion may make your pet ill. You should take your pet on a few short practice trips in the car to see how he responds. Your veterinarian may want to prescribe some medication to help your pet with motion sickness. If sickness is severe, you may decide it’s best to keep your pet at home.
  • No vacancy for pets: You may be surprised to find that many, but not all hotels, welcome pets. You need to make reservations before you leave home and be prepared to pay a fee and sign a contract.
  • Drinking water: Pets, like people, often have intestinal problems when adapting to drinking water different from home. To help pets make the transition, you should bring a couple of litres of water from home. Then you can gradually add small amounts of the “new” water to the water from home.
  • Right on time: Keeping to your pet’s regular feeding, exercise, and sleeping schedule while on vacation will make the trip less stressful for your pet. Fresh water should be offered at all times, and breaks for elimination should be frequent.
  • Proper identification: Occasionally a pet will get lost on vacation. At the very minimum, collar tags should bear your pet’s name, your address, and telephone number.
  • Veterinarian on call: Ensure a veterinarian is available at your intended vacation destination. This is especially important with birds and small pets that may require specialized veterinary care.

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