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Travel with your pet or choose a kennel?

August 31, 2017

Using a kennelAbyssinVoyage

When going on vacation, many pet owners choose to leave their companion animals in the care of a family member, friend, in a kennel or veterinary hospital. All these choices are good ones, and are often the best solution for a care-free and worry-free holiday.

If boarding in a kennel is the option chosen, it is important to verify the pet’s vaccination records to make sure the necessary vaccines are up-to-date, including the vaccine for Kennel Cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica), and to check with the kennel if there are any other specific recommendations. If the dogs will have exercise time together as a group, it would be advised to use an anti-parasite/anti-flea prevention, particularly during mosquito season.

When boarding birds, testing for certain diseases is often required before being accepted for boarding. Birds are often carriers of viral or bacterial diseases while remaining asymptomatic. Make sure the same food offered at home is available while boarding, as it is often very difficult for birds to transition to a new food.

Always provide a contact number for the guardian of your pet. In the event of a medical emergency, an accident, or a medical problem during your absence, it will  be important to reach you right away. Providing the guardian with the name and contact information of your veterinarian would also be advised.

I will never leave my pet!

For those who are brave enough to make the voyage from Montreal to Florida by car with the beloved Labrador panting over your shoulder, or the persistant meowing of the Siamese which starts at the exit of the driveway, here are a few suggestions for making the trip more enjoyable. All jokes aside, most pets are excellent travelers.

Vaccinations and health certificates and requirements by the region you are visiting

Verify if your animal has the right vaccinations and requirements for the country you are going to visit. Certain countries require a general health certificate completed by a veterinarian no more than 10 days before the trip, a microchip or identification ring (in the case of birds), a specific anti-parasitic treatment, an up-to-date rabies vaccination for dogs and cats to leave the country, and occasionally a blood test to measure the level of rabies antibodies. Consult the website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more details.

If you travel by plane, verify the requirements of the airline company. These may differ from those of the country you will be visiting.

Always carry your pet’s health booklet with you.

Anti-parasitic treatments

Treat your pet with a parasite prevention that meets the requirements of the region you are visiting. Warm climates throughout the year mean more parasites in the environment.

Remember that if your pet is traveling South during the winter months, it is advised to protect your pet against heartworm since in most Southern Regions, heartworm is a year-round concern.  For example, dogs living in Florida require heartworm prevention 12 months a year.

And travelers to East Coast U.S. are advised to use tick prevention while there.

Consult us for more information on parasite prevention if you plan to travel with your pets.

Accommodations and transport

Always reserve your stay in advance for hotels or camp grounds which accept animals, since arriving without prior booking could be problematic. Plan everything you will need for the road. Some examples may be : bottles of water and an empty bowl for drinks, a litter box for cats, a leash and poop bags for frequent stops along the way, a carrier for small dogs and cats (must be approved by the airline company), a secure seat-belt for dogs for the car, a comfortable cushion to lie on, toys, a first-aid kit and any medications your pet may need.

Ventilation in a vehicle is important for the comfort of your pet. Ideally, it is best if the pet is able to lie down and see outside. A gentle, smooth drive also contributes to a nausea-free trip. Allow for frequent stops (every 2-3 hours) for the pet to exercise, have a drink, and relieve himself.

Travel-sickness and anxiety

Symptoms of travel sickness : hyper-salivation, vomiting, apathy.Berger Voyage

Symptoms of anxiety : panting, yawning, fear of cars, nervousness.

If your pet suffers from car sickness or anxiety during travel, speak to your veterinarian about prescribing a mild sedative, anti-anxiety, or anti-nausea medication for the road. It is recommended to test sedatives and anti-anxiety meds before the voyage, preferably on a day when you are home to observe your pet, in order to determine the correct and effective dosage.  If he seems too sedated, adjust the dose with the help of your veterinarian.

Ideally, it is best to wait until you have stopped for the day to feed your pet or wait two hours after feeding to continue traveling.  This may help to avoid nausea and vomiting during the trip.

For cases of severe anxiety or nausea, perhaps alternate plans should be made for your pet while you are on holiday.
Cerenia™ by Pfizer is an very good anti emetic that can be prescribed by your veterinarian to help alleviate motion sickness. However, mealtimes must be regulated as well as the administration of this medication to get the full effects.

Here is how to use Cerenia™:

  • Cerenia™ must be administered 2 hours before departure.
  • The antiemetic effect lasts at least 12 hours, to 24 hours.
  • The treatment can only be administered once every 24 hours for a maximum of 2 consecutive days.
  • It is recommended to give a small meal to your pet one hour before administering the Cerenia™ as it sometimes causes vomiting(!) if given on an empty stomach.
  • Since we are waiting 2 hours after administration before hitting the road, if you plan on leaving early in the morning, Cerenia™ can be given late the night before the departure instead.

Dogsinmotion.ca is a website own by the manufacturer of Cerenia™. It contains interesting infomations about travelling with your pet. 

Other events to plan for

If your pet eats a special diet, check for its availability at your destination or bring a reserve. Ideally, even if he/she does not eat a specialized diet, it would be best to avoid a sudden change in the diet during a trip in order to avoid digestive problems.
If your pet takes medication, bring a sufficient amount for the duration of the trip and administer at the same time as usual.
Try to carry with you the contact information of veterinarians in the area you will be visiting in case of an emergency. It is also prudent to carry the phone number of your regular veterinarian in the event that information needs to be accessed about your pet.
If your pet escapes : If your pet has a microchip keep that identification number with you as well as tattoo information, if relevant. Your pet should wear a collar with a cellphone number clearly identified on it. Carry a photo of your pet with you at all times.

Do not hesitate to contact our team if you would like further information.

Happy holidays!

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