DE-STRESSING YOUR PET'S VACATION
Dr. Christina Frick
Many people are hitting the road for the holidays or planning for company during this holiday season. But have you considered your pet's needs prior to traveling or all these new people in their house. These tips will save time and frustration later.
Prior to taking your pet on holiday travels, contact your relatives to find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitement during this season, it might be best for you and your pet to board your pet. Frick Veterinary Services offers boarding for small and large animals with indoor cages and outdoor runs available.
If you do decide to take your pets, here are some helpful tips for traveling with pets. Once a scared pet is actually in the car, the signs of sickness typically start during the first few minutes of the ride. Compounding the problem is the fact that some pets prefer to "hide and ride", so they end up not only sick but stuck under one of the seats. Some animal might need medication to minimize the stressful car ride.
To avoid these problems, consider making "practice runs" in your car with your pet. Start out with short rides at first, then let them become gradually longer. At the end of the ride, offer lots of praise and treats, and before long your pet may be begging for the ride in the car more!!
Before the trip, take your animal for a veterinary check-up and obtain a health certificate if going across the state line. Keep records of vaccinations with you and pet identification tags on in case they get lost. Your animal's travel crate must be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably. Also line the bottom of the crate with towels to absorb urine. Have the pet get acquainted with the crate prior to traveling to minimize stress.
Try to avoid traveling in extreme weather conditions. If you must, bring blankets, extra water and food if the car should break down. Never leave your pet in the trunk or unattended. They could have heat stroke in hot weather or catch a chill in cold weather. Dogs should be given water and exercise during rest stops, but they should not be allowed to run loose at rest area. No matter how well trained an animal is, this is a new experience and an accident could happen. Cats, birds and all other pets should remain in their carriers until safely indoors once your destination for the day is reached.
If you will be flying, remember that most airlines have a limit on the number of pets allowed per cabin, so be sure to inform your airline when you make your reservation that you'll be boarding with your animal. Also ask for the allowable dimensions of your pet's carrier. If your pet is flying in the cargo section, provide frozen water so that it will not fall out during loading, but will melt by the time the animal is thirsty. Let the person sitting next to you know that you have a pet carried on with you. They may be allergic and want to switch seats with someone else.
If you are planning to stay in a hotel, make arrangements prior to starting your trip. Your pet should be a welcome guest. When you arrive at your destination, keep your pet in a calm, quiet area and give them plenty of time to adjust to the new environment.
Cats stress easily. If you are only going to be away a night or two, leave the cat home. All you have to do is leave enough of its regular dry cat food and water, and make sure the litter box is clean. If planning a longer trip board your cat or have a friend come to the house daily to check the cat.
If your family is having the holiday festivities at your home, consider your pet. They may not be used to all the people and become very nervous or even mean. If the house full of people is a problem for your pet, the best option may be boarding your pet during the busy days.
Maintain your pet's normal diet and do not allow guest to feed table scraps or potential toxic items including: Alcoholic beverages, avocados, chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, garlic or garlic powder, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onions and onion powder, salt or yeast dough.
Dr. Christina Frick is available during the holidays if your pet becomes sick, needs boarding or general appointments. Dr. Frick can be reached for emergencies 24 hours a day at 620-285-3496. Have a happy and hazard-free Holiday Season.