TAMPA, Fla. – More than 38 million Americans are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, and many will bring their pets along with them. If you’re planning to hit the road with your furry friend, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are offering tips for keeping your pet safe during the journey.
One of the most important things to remember is to never leave pets 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.
“We’re asking people to use their common sense,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer for BluePearl. “Heatstroke is one of the deadliest – and most preventable – conditions we see during the summer months. Take the time to ensure your pet doesn’t get overheated.”
Here are some other tips for holiday travelers:
- 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 alist of items to include in your pet first aid kit.
- Don’t forget your documents! It’s a good idea to keep your pet’s medical records handy in case of an emergency. Here’s a list of the documents you’re most likely to need.
- 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. Getting your pet a microchip for identification is an important step, too.
- 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 without checking with your family veterinarian 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 everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, whether you have two legs or four,” Welser added. “If you have additional questions, we encourage you to contact your family veterinarian.”