It is that time of year again when many of us start to feel the cold temperatures getting us down and we need to get away for a holiday. Maybe you even have a time-share or condo, and are one of the many thousands of Canadians who head south to avoid the long Canadian winters. Many travelers also have four-legged family members to think of when planning a vacation. Here are a few tips to consider when making your own travel plans in order to make sure your pet is well cared for while you’re away.
- Plan ahead. If your pet is traveling with you, make sure to contact the airline ahead of time to confirm sizing of crates or carriers, as well as determine if there is enough room on a particular flight for your size of pet. If your pet has to stay behind, make sure you have made arrangements with a boarding kennel well in advance of your trip, and confirm immunization requirements of that kennel. This will give you time to see your veterinarian for the immunizations, and have them take effect prior to the boarding period. Ask your veterinarian about external parasite protection recommended in a kennel setting that you may not regularly need when your pet is at home. Additionally, make sure you have a sufficient supply of any medications your pet receives, or have a plan to obtain these in another country if traveling.
- Check the requirements for the country you are traveling to. Many countries will have specific non-import requirements for shorter-term stays for pets. However, these requirements can extend beyond what your veterinarian regularly gives for immunizations and parasite prevention here in Canada. Some vaccinations are not carried at all veterinary clinics and can take time to obtain, so it is important to check with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) before booking your trip. Some countries may even require a scheduled pre-travel examination with a CFIA Veterinarian. Always look into these requirements early to avoid unnecessary stress when making travel arrangements.
- Factor in your pet’s feelings. Decide if your pet may be best served staying home/kenneling versus enduring a long flight that may be too upsetting for them. If you are kenneling for the first time, or even if you are having a house-sitter stay, this can be disruptive to your pet’s usual routine. There are many ways to help combat stress in your pet. Your veterinarian can tailor options for your particular situation and can recommend many natural supplements and pheromone therapies which can be used to calm your pet safely for short periods of time.
- Avoid unnecessary hazards. In a new place, there may be different hazards that we do not have in Canada. For example, scorpion and rattlesnake bites pose a real risk to pets in other parts of the world. Have a strategy to avoid these risks, or consider finding a veterinarian locally when you arrive to arrange things like anti-venom injections if your pet is in an at-risk area.
The doctors and staff at Erin Ridge Veterinary Centre are here to help you and your family plan for your pet’s care during travel, in order to keep them safe and healthy, so everyone can have fun in the sun!