Source: TV Hebdo, March 8, 2019 by Dr. Lucie Hénault, dedicated veterinarian from the Passionimo network
Hitting the road with your furry friend
Family getaways, staying with friends… There are many reasons to go on a trip! Want to bring Fido or Fluffy along? The trick for doing so with complete peace of mind comes down to one word: planning.
EVERY TRIP IN ITS OWN TIME!
Don’t start off by planning a car trip from Montreal to Gaspé! The key is to introduce your pet to road travel progressively. The car should be associated with something pleasant. For instance, you could first take your dog to the local park by car, have a fun playtime, and then come back, or you could simply take your doggo with you to hit the neighbourhood gas station. From there, you can take progressively longer trips.
AVOIDING CAR SICKNESS
Be careful not to overload your dog’s stomach with food right before a car trip. Pay attention to signs of nausea… Is your pet drooling more than usual, overly excited, or vomiting? If so, see your veterinarian quickly. The last thing we want is for your dog to develop an aversion to car rides. The quicker pets get used to the car, the better. Your veterinarian can also prescribe anti-nausea medication, which is very safe and will make the trip more pleasant for everyone.
AN IDEAL ENVIRONMENT…
In the event of an accident, you’ll be grateful to have remembered to buckle in your dog! You simply need to obtain a harness and connect it to the seatbelt. Your dog’s movements won’t be hampered and you’ll both be protected.
Additionally, please remember that it’s not a good idea to travel at high speeds with Fido’s head hanging from the window. Sadly, a few of my patients suffered an eye rupture, probably from getting hit in the eye by a small rock.
Depending on your travel time, consider bringing a water bowl or feeding your dog a meal or snack. Also plan for breaks every 2-3 hours to let your dog out to run around and take care of business. Don’t forget to bring along poop bags to clean after your pup!
Obtain a comfortable carrier that will not move around in the car during the trip. The carrier must also be buckled in to stay put. Depending on your travel time, plan breaks for your cat to visit the litter box, drink water, and eat a snack. Keep in mind that cats are escape artists: if a door is open, they will sneak out faster than you can say gone!
THINGS TO CHECK BEFORE STAYING WITH SOMEONE
Not everyone will share our deep affection for our furry companions! Never impose your pets on others: someone could be allergic, scared of pets, or already living with a very fearful cat or a dog who doesn’t like to be in the company of other dogs. This means asking in advance if your hosts don’t mind if you bring your pet along. If they accept, make sure to also bring all the necessities for your pet’s stay, including a favourite blanket or bed: the familiar scent will be comforting for your companion.
Another good rule of thumb is to check the location of the veterinary clinic nearest to your destination. In the event of an emergency, you will be very proud of yourself for getting this information ahead of time. Also, if your pet is ill or has special needs, renewing all prescription drugs before your departure will save you some headaches!
NOT TAKING YOUR PET WITH YOU?
Owning pets doesn’t have to mean foregoing vacations: it just means finding the right place to take care of them in your absence.
• Maybe a friend would agree to petsitting in exchange for another service you can do in return?
• You could also ask someone you trust to come live in your place during your time away. It’s not rare for grandparents to ask for that kind of favour from younger family members. It’s an arrangement that works for everyone!
• There are also kennels who offer quality boarding services. Make sure to visit the kennel beforehand and check how many times dogs are taken outside. Get all the information on the boarding procedures: Are pets kept in cages? Are exercise periods planned? Will the staff administer the medication your pet requires, if applicable?
• If you’re only leaving for a short trip, you could leave your cat at home and ask a person you trust to swing by once or twice a day to serve food and fresh water, clean the litter box, and spend a little time with your furry friend. Boarding services are also available in some veterinary clinics.