Tomorrow is Pet Travel Safety Day! Are you planning to travel this year? Many people like to take their animal companions with them when they go out of town. This is one area where you’ll need to take some precautions. Pets are homebodies, and they tend to get very stressed when taken out of their environments. As your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I offer some advice on traveling with your animal companion below.
Pets should always travel crated. If you have a reptile, ferret, or pocket pet, you may be able to use a plastic storage bin. Be sure to add ventilation holes! You’ll want to make your pet comfortable in their carrier. That means bedding and toys for furry animals. Don’t add anything that could fall over on your pet and injure them.
Take time to confirm your pet’s accommodations. You may want to save a list of animal clinics and pet-friendly hotels in the area you’re visiting.
Always bring copies of your pet’s registration and vaccines with you. You may want to store digital copies online, in a spot you can access from anywhere.
You’ll need to pack a bag for your animal companion. This should include food, treats, towels, medicine, dishes, and a pet-first aid kit. Dogs, cats, and pockets pets need bedding or blankets, while smaller pets will require substrate.
For reptiles, temperature is a big issue, especially when it’s cold. Always have your car warmed up before bringing your pet out to the car. You may also need a portable heat source to keep them warm on the trip. One option is to fill socks with rice, microwave them, and put them outside the tank. (I suggest outside so there isn’t a chance of them rolling onto your pet during transit.) Secure the carrier in a way so your pet won’t get jostled.
Many pets will be safer and more comfortable being boarded. Pet sitters can be an option in some cases. However, with exotics, it’s important to find someone who is familiar with the type of animals you have. Keep in mind that some people may be squeamish about feeding a reptile, or not know how to recognize signs of illness in a ferret.
As your local Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I want to wish you all a wonderful new year. Contact me anytime!