Over the river and through the woods

posted: by: Nathan Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Winter is almost here so our attention shifts to visiting friends and family for the holidays. This usually means travel; here are somethings you may want to make sure you have ready for your pets before packing your suitcase.


Joining the festivities

            If your pet is coming along for the ride here are somethings you may want to do before packing the car with their favorite toys.


Anti-anxiety Medication

Some handle traveling better than others, whether you are taking planes, trains or automobiles sometimes the right medication can completely change the experience. Discuss with your vet about different options you have at least three weeks before traveling. I know some people are thinking, “I don’t want my pet to be a vegetable during vacation”, this is not the option your vet is going to be looking for. The goal of using these medications is to reduce the stress to a point where the animal is calm and relaxed not knocked out. The type of travel you will be using will also impact what options you have, if you are flying and your pet will be traveling in cargo these medications should not be used for their safety. The added stress of traveling in cargo can exacerbate side effects which pose serious health risks for your pet. For more information, check out this article and talk to your veterinarian.


 Motion sickness

            Nobody has a good time when someone is sick in the car, talk to your veterinarian about motion sickness medication or consider having your pet not join you on your trip. If getting in the car is like being sent to the electric chair for your pet, if it can’t be helped, they are better off staying at the kennel or having a friend babysit them.



            For those pets taking their own vacation to a boarding facility there are a few things you want to make sure you have for them first.

·        Flea Prevention- as hard as these places work to keep the little pests out of the facility they can’t catch every one that comes in on someone’s pet, best to make sure that your pet is safe when they head in.

·        CIV-Now that there have been a few confirmed cases in Toledo odds are this disease isn’t going anywhere so best have your dog vaccinated before they go. Keep in mind to have full protection your dog needs to have had their first shot and a booster 2-4 weeks after that to even be considered protected. Realistically they still are not fully protected until 2 weeks after their last booster. Check out this article for more information.  Most kennels are now requiring this vaccination.

·        Vaccinations-Many boarding facilities require certain vaccines for your pets before they can be boarded there. If they do not require vaccinations that’s even more reason to make sure your pet is protected. We talked about CIV briefly before and I bring it up here because many facilities are going to start requiring that vaccine now. Check at least a month before boarding to make sure your pet is protected.

·        Medications- If your pet takes any kinds of medications make sure you have enough, and that the facility is equipped with the staff to administer it.  If not there are some veterinary hospitals who will board with the trained staff to give the medications your pet needs.


Policy and Paperwork

 Depending on where and how you travel different paperwork, records, tests, and vaccinations may be required. Check with your airline, destination, and any stops in between to verify what exactly is needed. Especially when traveling outside the country, which can take a few months to have everything needed, signed, and sent to the right places before your trip. It is also good to have a copy of your pets vaccination records on hand in case they are needed at any point during your travels.



This is one that slips the mind more often than not, and can lead to some awful times during your trip. When traveling with your pet even as close as just outside the state, you will want to keep them on bottled water until your return to avoid intestinal distress, and the unwanted accidents that fallow.


Pet Sitter

 Sometimes it’s just easier on everyone for your pet to stay at home and have a friend or family member stay with them or check up on them. If that is the case here are some things to keep in mind.


Emergency Info

 Most people leave a number that they can be reached at during the vacation, but what about your veterinarian’s info, or a way to pay the bill if something happens. Here is a complete worksheet we at Lewis Animal Hospital made up to make sure all the information that is needed is left for your sitter.



 We trust the people watching our pet, but sometimes our pet doesn’t always trust them. Cats especially like to hide, which can be a problem if something is wrong with them. Make sure whoever is watching your pet sees them at least once a day, to verify that they are alright. Unfortunately we have had many cases where an animal was being watched by a friend while on vacation that had gotten sick or hurt, but because the sitter did not see it the problem progressed much further than it needed to.



 Like the segment in boarding about medication, make sure you have enough and your sitter is comfortable and able to give the medication to your pet while away. If they are not you may want to consider having them boarded at a facility that can.


Your Vet

Let your Vet know you are going on vacation and having a sitter watch them, let us know who they are and if you have authorized them for any decisions or financial limits. It is much easier to have this already set then to play phone tag while your pet isn’t feeling well. 


               Make sure your pet-sitter knows who and where your veterinarians’ office is.  Leave the veterinarians info posted for them and also discuss payment for vet care should something come up.  Make sure to include the nearby Emergency Vet info for evenings and weekends.



            Sometimes you are the destination and that means many people who your pet may or may not know will be coming and going in your house. Here is our article about stress to help your pet have as much fun as you plan to have this holiday season.