23 July 2008

Tips for Stress-Free Travel with Dogs

During the height of summer, many people take advantage of the warm weather to embark on family vacations — and cats and dogs are important members of those families. Making plans ahead of time and paying attention to your pet’s needs can make the trip a success for everyone, according to Central Life Sciences, the distributors of ComfortZone pheromone-based products.

Any changes in a pet’s environment can cause stress and lead to inappropriate behaviors, said Debra Nickelson, DVM, of Central Life Sciences. “By taking the appropriate measures to prepare pets for travel and anticipating their needs during a trip, many potential issues can be avoided,” she said. Nickelson offered these tips for traveling with dogs and cats:

- Help your dog or cat get used to traveling in the car before you begin a long road trip. You’ll be able to determine if your pet suffers from motion sickness or becomes overly excited in the car, and can seek treatment from your vet before you leave for your vacation.

- Make sure you have the proper carrier or seatbelt harness for your pet, to keep both the animal and the humans safe during the trip.

- Keep your dog on its normal feeding schedule as much as possible. Feed him one hour before you depart, and immediately after you stop traveling for the day.

- Never leave your pet alone in the car. Extreme temperatures in a closed car can be fatal.

- Obtain proof of vaccinations from your veterinarian prior to departing. Many hotels require these documents when checking in with pets.

- Pack some of your pet’s favorite items from home, such as bedding, toys, and food dish. Bring a crate if you must leave your pet unattended in the hotel room.

- Put the “do not disturb” sign on the door to keep out hotel staff. Leave a TV or radio on at a low level to drown out unfamiliar noises and voices.

[Source: Dog Channel]