For those of you hitting the highways with your pets, evaluate your vehicle. Pets should never be allowed to roam freely in a moving vehicle. Similar to securing ourselves in the car, pets should be placed in a carrier or secured with a pet-friendly seat belt. If you are travelling by air, consider a pet-friendly airline. Avoid placing your pet underneath the plane. Poor ventilation, extreme temperatures and loud engine noise can have devastating, sometimes deadly consequences.
If you know that your pet becomes anxious while travelling, consult your veterinarian about administering anti-anxiety medication during the trip to make the experience less stressful for both you and you pet. Always bring your pet’s regular food with you to avoid digestive upset. It is also a good idea to carry an extra supply of your pet’s medication and a copy of your pet’s medical records. Lastly, for all interstate and international travel, whether by land or air, a health certificate, provided by your veterinarian, is required. This certificate serves as your pet’s vaccination record and states that your pet is free of all contagious diseases.
If you choose to travel without your furry family members, consider whether it is best for them to stay at home with a pet sitter or to stay at a local boarding facility. Young, active pets may benefit from staying at a kennel that offers playtime with other pets that are boarding. Anxious pets may be most content if left at home with a pet sitter, where their daily routine can be closely adhered to. Elderly pets or those with serious medical needs may be safest if they board at their veterinarian’s clinic/hospital. Ask your veterinarian for reliable pet sitters or kennels in your area.
Wherever you choose to board your pet, make sure that they are fully up-to-date on their vaccinations. As many of you may already know, respiratory infections, such as infectious tracheobronchitis (a.k.a. kennel cough) and canine influenza, have been widespread among our canine population this season. Upper respiratory viruses, such as herpesvirus and calicivirus, have also been particularly virulent amongst felines this year. In order to provide maximum protection against these respiratory diseases, have your pets vaccinated by your veterinarian 1-2 months prior to boarding. This will allow your pet’s immune system to mount an adequate protective response against these diseases. Vaccines administered immediately prior to your pet’s stay at a kennel provide little protection.
Lastly, always provide your pet sitter or kennel staff with a permission letter should they need to seek medical care for your pet while you are away. Alert your veterinarian of your wishes for your pet’s medical care should they need to provide medical assistance/advice in your absence.
Regardless of where you may roam during this festive season, may you and your family, be they four-legged, furry, scaly or feathered have a wonderful, safe, and healthy holiday season! Seasons Greetings to you and your precious ones!
When she’s not busy with her duties at the hospital, Dr. Downing enjoys running, hiking, gardening, personal fitness and going for walks with her two French Bulldogs, Koa and Dakota.