Man’s best friend is hitting the road

Published 3:30 pm Monday, June 20, 2011

By DR. FRED SELF / Veterinarian

Now more than ever people are taking their pets with them on vacation. As campsites become more user-friendly, motor homes more spacious and hotels more willing to cater to four-legged friends, people are enjoying the chance to travel with pets instead of leaving them behind.

This presents a new set of requirements to be added to the vacation checklist. Proper planning before the trip is vital.

It is important when traveling with a pet that their basic needs are provided. Have their usual food on hand. In fact, carry a little extra along in case the trip lasts longer than planned. Bring some water from home as well. Not all pets will be willing to drink water from a strange place.

Cats should have a litter box and frequent stops should be made for dogs. Make sure to have baggies and a scoop so you can clean up after your dog.

Consult the place you intend to stay and find out what health guarantees you have to make about your pet. Some vacation destinations require health certificates for each pet. Other locales will allow pets to stay with just a basic proof of vaccination. Either way, it is important to find out in advance so that the proper information can be collected.

Just like it is a good idea to take a first aid kit for the people traveling, it is also a good idea to have a pet first aid kit. It should contain any medications they take regularly and any others they have been prescribed in the last six months. Also included should be items like Benadryl in case of insect bites and topical antibiotic ointments to be used for scrapes and cuts. Another good thing to put in the kit is your regular veterinarian’s phone number.

It is a good idea to have a collar and name tag on all your pets for the entire trip. If they are not used to wearing collars or can escape from them then other methods of identification may be necessary. Microchipping your pet before traveling is a good idea. The microchip will remain in place for the pet’s lifetime. Most if not all shelters and veterinary clinics have a scanner to check for microchips in lost pets.

If you travel with your pet this summer, have a great time and consider sending your veterinarian a post card!

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach him at 669-7717.