Commentary – Proper care of pets needed while traveling in hot weather

Callie Hermanson

If you are planning to travel this summer with your pet, here are some tips to make your trip go as smoothly and safely as possible.

I recommend that your pet is kept in a secured travel crate or harness while riding in your vehicle. Just as it is the law for humans to wear their seat belts, animals are at risk, too, when it comes to sudden stops and collisions if they are not restrained or confined securely. Not to mention, free-roaming animals in vehicles are a distraction to drivers and could result in an accident.

Keeping your animal safely on a leash is required in many parks and around the lake. Also, as you travel, pitstops are required so your dog can have a bathroom break; it is important to have your pet secured on a leash to avoid escape or potentially running out onto the street or highway where they could be injured.

When traveling long distances with your cat, it is recommended to have a kennel large enough to hold a litter box to allow them some relief if needed as well.

Tying into the point above, try to plan in advance for pit-stops and bathroom break areas. In the summer it is too hot to leave your pet in the car while you run in to eat at a restaurant. Consider going through a drive-through or packing your own picnic lunch so both you and your pet can enjoy the outdoors while you snack and take a break.

Some parks and campgrounds do not allow pets because wildlife is more likely to attack or venture into campsites when pets are present as they may see them as possible meals.

Consider, also, if you are going to be with your pet at all times, or if you will need to, sometimes leave them behind at your hotel or campsite. If they are left outdoors, be sure they have access to shade and lots of fresh water to avoid heat stroke.

If your pet is on a prescription diet, you want to be sure to bring some extra days’ worth in case your travel plans are delayed, and you do not have easy access to your veterinary clinic. Certain parks and campgrounds do not have potable water which means your pet could potentially experience gastrointestinal upset or parasitic infection from drinking the water from the taps, lake or contaminated puddles. For this reason, you may want to bring your own water from home.

You never want to think about your pet going missing, but – sadly – it’s a reality that happens daily. Especially when you are far from home, ID is important in helping reunite you with your pet should they become lost. I recommend that all pets be microchipped and consider pet tags that have a contact name and phone number in case your pet happens to wander away around the corner, someone can quickly call or text you.

Depending on where you may be traveling, tick and heartworm preventatives may be indicated to avoid infection while your pet is enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to let your veterinarian know what time of year and where you may be traveling to make sure your pet is protected.

Antihistamines can be helpful if your pet has a mild allergic reaction to an insect bite or exposure to plants in the environment. Your veterinarian can advise you on what type and dose of antihistamine are recommended for your pet.

 

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