Travel safely with your pets this Memorial Day weekend


TAMPA, Fla. – More than 37 million Americans are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, and doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are offering tips for keeping your furry friends safe if they are hitting the road with you.

“Travel can be stressful for both pets and people,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer for BluePearl. “We hope these tips will make your trip a more enjoyable experience for everyone, whether they have two legs or four.”

  • Never leave your pet unattended in a car, even with the windows cracked. If it’s 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can rocket to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
  • Always make sure you have plenty of your pet’s medication packed. Take extra to be on the safe side.
  • Pack a first aid kit for your pet: tweezers to remove ticks, bandaging material for any cuts, hydrogen peroxide, etc. Click here for a list of items to include in your pet first aid kit.
  • If your pets have any ongoing medical conditions, take a copy of their medical records with you.
  • Identify the nearest animal emergency hospital to where you are staying and have the phone number handy.
  • Make sure your pet’s heartworm and flea prevention medications are current.
  • Don’t feed a large meal before leaving; simply allow periodic snacking.
  • Carry collapsible bowls for food and water.
  • Make sure that dog tags are clearly visible because people are more likely to catch pets if they can return them to the owner. Having your pet get a microchip for identification is a good step, too.
  • If your pet has implants (e.g. plates or screws from orthopedic surgery), and he or she will be flying, you should bring a note from your veterinarian.
  • When flying, be sure to have wheels for your carrier. Even a 10-pound animal can get heavy when carried in a shoulder carrier walking through a long airport terminal.
  • If your dog is one of the 17 percent who get sick when traveling, ask your veterinarian about an anti-vomiting medication called Cerenia. Dogs get motion sickness either because they are anxious while traveling or because their balance is affected by movement. In either case, Cerenia blocks vomiting signals, which prevents dogs from getting sick.

Special considerations for kitty Cats can be particularly sensitive to traveling. Here are tips for keeping your cat calm:

  • Try spraying “Feliway,” a synthetic feline facial pheromone, in the carrier about 30 minutes before leaving to help calm the feline traveler. Placing some catnip in the carrier may also serve the same purpose.
  • Don’t use tranquilizers or sedatives in cats for travel due to potential complications such as hypotension or paradoxical hyper-excitability.
  • Always keep your cat confined in a carrier while traveling. A frightened feline can easily escape through an open car window or door without anyone noticing.
  • Be sure to carry some moistened and dry paper towels and plastic bags for potential carrier accidents.

“We hope that both people and pets have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend,” said Welser. “If you have additional questions, be sure to contact your family veterinarian for guidance.”