If you are planning a vacation you may be wondering if it is possible to bring your furry friend along. After all, they are part of the family, right? Our Kingman vets some tips to help make traveling with a dog or cat go smoothly and how pet boarding can help take the stress off the trip.
Should I Take My Dog or Cat On Vacation With Me?
The idea of taking a trip with your pet is something that many pet owners know can either be a joyous experience filled with adventure for you and your furry companion, but could also become a complete disaster without the appropriate planning and research.
That being said if your pet is well-socialized, confident with new experiences, and loves car rides, a well-planned road trip could be the highlight of their life.
One essential point to consider is whether your cat is up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite prevention. Different states have different regulations regarding vaccines for pets but in most states keeping your pet's rabies vaccine current is the law.
So be sure to schedule a visit to your veterinarian before you leave so that your cat's core vaccines can be brought up to date, your kitty can be vaccinated against any lifestyle diseases that are common in the place you are headed to, and any parasites can be treated or prevented. If you are having a difficult time getting your pet sorted for the vacation then you could also consider dog or cat boarding in Kingman.
Be Prepared For All Forms of Travel
Depending on your method of transportation and the length of the journey there are different things you will need to consider and prepare for. Below we offer advice on how to travel with your pet by car, plane, train or ship.
Tips For Traveling With Dogs In A Car
There are so many things to consider when planning a trip with your canine companion. Here is an easy list for owners to follow to help make the vacation go as smoothly as possible for both you and your pup.
Try to plan a route that is safe for pets
Your dog will need to stretch their legs and have potty breaks so make sure the route you take has plenty of safe places to stop, such as rest stops. How often to stop on a road trip with your dog will depend on many factors including age, size, and health. Very young and very old dogs will have to stop more frequently, along with those with some types of medical conditions. Smaller dogs will also need to take more potty breaks as their bladders are so small.
Take smaller trips leading up to the big one
Even if your dog is excellent in the car for routine trips, a long road trip may still be challenging for them. Make sure to take some longer practice trips so they become comfortable with spending a long time in the car before you embark on a cross-country road trip with your dog.
Plan your pet's meals appropriately
Feed your pet a light meal three to four hours before you leave. While you're on the road, always stop when your dog needs food. Don't feed them in a moving vehicle to help avoid pet car sickness.
Never leave your pet in the vehicle unattended
Never leave your dog alone in a parked car. It is a safety concern at temperatures higher than 70°F or lower than 35°F. However, passersby may decide to break your window to free your dog if they think they are trapped inside at any temperature.
Pack all your pet's essential items
Packing your dog's food and water, treats, medicine, toys, feeding bowls, poop bags, extra leashes, first aid kit, stain and odor removers, and other supplies will help keep you out of stores so you have more time for adventures. Make sure to include your pet's health records, including recent immunizations.
Pet Identification is a must
While your pet must be microchipped in case they go missing, it is also important to have dog tags on their collar with at least your name and current phone number for easy identification.
Wear them out ahead of time
A tired dog is often a well-behaved dog, so right before you leave for your trip, take your pet for a long run or a visit to the dog park. This will help ease travel anxiety and allow them to relax in the car.
Give your dog something to distract them from the long car ride. Whether it be a chew toy or a kong filled with peanut butter, your dog will be happy.
Don't ignore signs of anxiety
If you notice your dog is stressed or anxious while riding in the car, we suggest using natural stress-reducing remedies. Pressure wraps like a Thundershirt or calming supplements can all help reduce stress in dogs.
Bringing Your Cat on Vacation By Car
Make sure to use a suitable cat carrier at all times
Cats are generally uncomfortable traveling in cars and should be kept in a carrier for their safety and yours. It is important to secure the carrier with a seat belt to keep it from bouncing around and hurting your cat.
Do not put your cat in the front seat
Even when in a carrier, the deployment of airbags in the front seat can be dangerous for your pet - for this reason, it is best to always keep your cat's carrier restrained in the back seat(s) of your vehicle.
Keep your cat's head inside the vehicle
If your cat's head is sticking outside the window, they're at risk of debris striking them or the cold air harming their lungs. Never transport your cat in the back of an open pick-up truck.
Bring a friend or family member who can help with cat care
If possible, it is best to have a human who is there to monitor and comfort your cat riding with them in the back seat. This will help your cat feel comfortable during the journey.
Longer journeys will require cat litter
If your journey by car is shorter than 6 hours, then your cat will most likely be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat will need to be in their carrier longer than that, you will need a larger accommodation that gives them space for a small litter box. It's a good idea to consult your vet before traveling for advice on the kind of kennel or carrier best suited to your cat's needs and the journey ahead.
Don't leave the cat in the car for any amount of time
Leaving a cat alone in a car is a serious health hazard. Heat is a risk to pets and a short time for you could be an eternity for your feline companion. when it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Irreversible organ damage or death is possible after only 30 minutes alone in a vehicle - even if you don't expect it to take that long to return, it is not worth the risk.
Traveling With Dogs and Cats Using Other Methods
Travel by plane
Flying with dogs poses a risk to animals with short nasal passages such as bulldogs and pugs. They are more likely to have problems with breathing and can suffer from heat stroke quickly. If you must fly with your dog, ask about them traveling in the cabin with you. Depending on the airline's rules, this may be an option for smaller pets, but it will require advanced planning. Don't wait until the last minute.
You will also need to visit your vet and get a health certificate that is dated no more than 10 days before your trip. Check with the airline to make sure you have the right type of carrier.
Travel by train
Amtrak trains only allow dogs who weigh under 25 pounds, so traveling with a dog may not be an option. Smaller train companies may allow pets, and many European railways allow pets. Check with the train company you want to travel with to make sure you have all of the required documentation.
Travel by boat
Some cruise lines allow pets to travel with you, but usually only on ocean crossings. Research the cruise you intend to take for any information regarding the allowance of pets or the use of on-site kennels.
Is It worth it to vacation with my pet?
Your pet is without a doubt an important member of your family. It is important as pet owners that we realize that their lives can be far more fulfilling and enjoyable if we take them farther than just a walk around the block. If you have a happy, calm and social dog or cat then it may be worth the extra preparation to have your pet join you on your vacation.
Even so, bringing a pet on vacation can be extremely stressful for both of you. In some cases, it may provide more relief and comfort for both of you if you have your pet looked after at a reputable boarding facility.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.