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Traveling with your pet

Dr. Nadine Lober/Special to the Daily

Many of us travel with our pets (dogs and cats and other), via various means of transportation.- Some pets require special attention and others are very easy going.- It is important to assess the health of you pet before taking any extended trips.- Evaluate the accommodations for your pet at your destination town:- will it be too warm, too humid, will there be fleas, is heartworm prevalent in that state, are there other parasites to consider.- Cats may need to be caged while traveling in cars if they are not used to the situation.- Exotic pets and birds need to be caged for the safety of the pas sengersŠcommon sense would indicate that.- Sometimes it is better for the well-being of you pet to be left at home in a safe, familiar environment.- If you have an older pet or a sick pet, he might be better off with a care taker or boarding at a kennel, during your absence.- These are all considerations to evaluate before taking your pet on a longer trip.- I’m not talking about a short Denver ride here, but more of a longer car trip or plane ride to a different state or country.-

Let’s discuss the long distance travel via airplanes, going from either state to state or to a different country.- State to state requires a health certificate signed by a veterinarian and a current rabies vaccine.- Some states have a 3 year rabies vaccine and some have a 1 year so find out which one you are dealing with. If you are traveling to a different country or Hawaii then there might be a quarantine and more involved testing and bloodwork.- Some states are more prevalent for heartworm and fleas.- In this case it is important to protect your pet and give them heartworm medication and flea preventatives (such as frontline or revolution applied topically).- Some states might recommend that your pet be immunized for lymes disease.- These preventative measures need to be addressed a little before your departure to insure proper protection.

Should you tranquilize your pet?- This is always a major question.- I usually advise to use common sense with your particular pet.- Some pets get so nervous while traveling that they can give themselves a stress induced colitis (diarrhea, sometimes even bloodyŠnot good).- Some cats also get very stressed.- These animals may benefit from some tranquilizers.- I usually like to start with a smaller dose a while before traveling and then you might give a little more only if necessary.- Realize that these pills last in your pet’s system for over 8 hours and makes them quite groggy.- If you have an easy going pet that doesn’t stress with travel and different situations then I would avoid the tranquilizers.

Even though we have heard of some tragic airline situations with pets, overall the major airlines take good care of the pets.- It is advisable not to travel with your pet in extreme temperature conditions.- And as I mentioned before, take into consideration any pre-existing conditions that your pet has.- For example: heart patients or older pets might not be the best candidates for flying.- Try to familiarize your pet with the kennel, before traveling- if he has never been in one before.- Give him treats inside the kennel or even feed him in it until it is comfortable for him.

Long distance travel by car is more lenient as far as health certificates.- You don’t usually see controllers at the state border stopping cars to check on your pet’s documents.- Make sure that you give your pet adequate amounts of water and stop as often as necessary let him out of the car.- If your pet gets carsick then avoid feeding 8 hours before travel, or try to feed very small amounts instead.- There are anti-nausea pills that you can give your pet before the trip.- If your dog likes to stick his head out the window or if he is secured in the back of a pick up, realize that they can get foreign material in their eyes.- I also had a patient riding in the back of a pick up and this smart black lab hit his head on a lamppost and broke his jaw.- So be careful if your dog is hanging out of the vehicle too much!-

Pets can be great travel companions, so enjoy your trips with them.


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