Traveling With Your Pet
It’s summer time in Michigan, and, as the “Pure Michigan” commercials will tell you, that means time to travel our beautiful state. For many of us, that means traveling with our four-legged friends as well. So, here are some helpful tips for traveling with your furry friends this summer.
Talk to your veterinarian about your plans ahead of time
Different places can mean different diseases. Your veterinarian may recommend additional vaccines if you’re traveling somewhere other diseases are prevalent. Some diseases, such as Lyme’s Disease, are more regional and your veterinarian might not recommend it for where you live but travel can change that recommendation. Plan ahead as some of these vaccines need to be done up to a month before travel to allow time for a booster vaccine. Remember to mention any travel plans to your veterinarian at your annual visit or call to discuss any planned travel. It’s also a good idea to consider getting the Bordetella vaccine, even if you don’t plan on boarding your dog. In case plans change, your pet will be able to stay at a boarding facility if needed. Some facilities require this be given at least a week in advance, which may leave you in a lurch if a last minute trip to the boarding facility is needed.
Bring your pet’s records and medications
While you’re on the phone with your veterinarian, remember to make sure you have an updated copy of any vaccine or health records. This is especially important if your dog is on any medications. Make sure you have the name of the medications and doses written down as well as enough medication to last the entire trip plus a few extra days. Things can change quickly and if your pet ends up needing to be boarded or hospitalized due to unforeseen circumstances, having a copy of their records can save you a lot of stress and headaches. Also, make sure your pet is microchipped and the contact information is updated.
Things for your pet’s suitcase
Most people remember the basics, like pet food and their dog’s favorite toy, but there may be some things you’ve never considered bringing along. Does your dog have a sensitive stomach and you’re traveling somewhere with well water? Bring a jug of water from home so that the change in water doesn’t cause any belly issues. Consider a first aid kit including Benadryl for allergic reactions, bandage material for cuts and scrapes, even hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting if they eat something they should have left alone. Make sure your pet is up to date on their heartworm preventative and flea and tick protection. Bring an extra towel for when your dog finds that huge puddle out back you didn’t know was there.
The car ride
Chances are you and/or your pet will need a pit-stop along the way. Make sure you have a leash (and a back-up just in case) so your dog can get out of the car at busy rest-stops or gas stations and still be safe. Don’t forget dog poop bags to take care of any presents your pet leaves at the rest-stop. A bottle of water and a bowl for water breaks help your pet from getting dehydrated or overheated. If you plan on making a longer stop for longer than a few minutes, remember to bring an extra car key so you can leave your pet in a running, air-conditioned car and still lock the door to keep them and your belongings safe.
Plan for the unexpected
Check the area where you’re going for an emergency vet hospital and keep the number handy as well as the phone number for your regular vet. Pets often think you’re perfect, relaxing vacation is the perfect time to get sick, make friends with that porcupine they’ve never seen before or eat the ashes from the campfire because one marshmallow may have fallen in there. Knowing that there is a place near-by you can take them relieves a lot of the panic of having a sick pet while out of town.
Have a back-up plan
The camp ground flooded and now you’re heading for a hotel. Any pet friendly hotels in the area? There are some great on-line resources to find pet friends services and even activities near you. Check ahead of time or bookmark webpages so you can easily find what you need.