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Traveling With Your Pet

Pets are now regarded by many people as family members and are often brought along on trips and transported from home to home. That raises the question how best to accommodate the "jet set" pet. Whether a weekend road trip to grandma's across state or a transcontinental air trip, our pets' comfort and safety should be addressed. Things that can go wrong are - the pet has a terrifying experience, gets travel sick, soils its container, or becomes physically harmed. All of these issues can be addressed:

  • Desensitize the pet to travel. Take it on very short trips and invest time and energy in making sure each trip is a pleasant experience. Slowly increase distance and time away.
  • Make best use of anti-anxiety and anti-motion sickness medication when necessary (under veterinary supervision). The anxiety-reducing drug buspirone (Buspar®) achieves both of these ends.
  • Do not feed a full meal within 3 hours of traveling to ensure a relatively empty stomach. Feed small quantities of easily digestible food periodically on really long trips. Water should be provided at intervals throughout the trip.
  • Start dogs out with an empty bladder and make frequent pit stops. For cats, access to a little box is a must.
  • Crates for small dogs and cats (and all animals being transported by air) are helpful, if tolerated. Harnesses are helpful safety devices for dogs in cars.
  • All pets should travel in the back seat of the car for their and your safety (think airbags).
  • When possible, have someone close to the pet at all times to keep it occupied and happy. If this is impossible (air freight) make sure the pet has toys to keep it busy.
Traveling with your pet should be stress-free for all parties concerned and, with a little forethought and planning, that's how it can be.

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