Asha, the mascot of The Laker News. (Healey photo)

Fido on the go

ELMSDALE: Summertime is the best! Going on day trips, camping, or vacations are all excellent ways to get out and enjoy our few months of nice weather. With our pets being such an important part of our families these days, most people like to include them in the fun!

​We know that travelling can be stressful for us, but to our pets it can be a terrifying and possibly life-threatening experience.  The good news is that there are things we can do to help keep them safe and to make the experience a better one.Picture

Short Trips

​Day trips in the car to the lake or campground can be lots of fun for both humans and pets (mostly dogs)! When travelling in the car with your pets, you want to make sure they are secured either in a kennel or with a seat belt. Its not easy to drive with a 70 lb dog in your lap! You also want to make sure you pack plenty of water for the trip. 

It is also important to avoid unnecessary stops along the way. The interior of a car can become very hot in no time during warm summer months. Make sure that there is someone to stay in the car with your pet if you have to stop so that the windows can be kept all the way down or the air conditioning can be left on. ​

Finally, while the destination may be fun, your pet may not enjoy the journey. Some dogs and cats can experience motion sickness or even anxiety during car rides. There are medications your veterinarian can recommend to help with these issues. You can also try pheromones like Feliway or Adaptil to help with stress, and Thundershirts have been known to make car rides more enjoyable as well! 

Long Trips

​Many factors influence the method of travel…cost, length of the journey, regulations, etc.  As veterinarians we often hear about some of these “adventures”. When your pet needs to travel long distances (plane, ferry or car), there are different things to keep in mind. Here are some of the things to take into consideration which are often missed.

Check list

​- Airlines and ferries have their own regulations so I would strongly advise reading them before you travel.  No two airlines (or ferries) are the same and I would check again just before leaving in case there are any last-minute changes.
When picking a flight try to get a direct flight-it may be worth the extra money to avoid prolonging the trip.
– Keep in mind that many companies do not allow the use of sedatives for travelling animals because the sedative may wear off long before the journey is complete. In this case, the pet may suddenly panic and injure themselves. 
– Make sure to check the size requirements for kennels so that yours will fit under your seat in the plane. If you are putting it in the car, make sure you have it strapped securely. If you have a larger pet, then a seat belt attachment that clicks onto a harness is a good idea. ​
– Identification-ie. a tag or a microchip. If using an ID tag, make sure the harness or collar it is attached to fits well; not too tight or too loose. (When the collar is too loose these guys are quick to “scooch out” and escape.)
– Make sure to carry a recent health certificate, or if your clinic has Petly you can access your vaccine history on demand and print off a copy of the certificate.
– It is also a good idea to use a flea/tick/worm treatment to avoid bringing home any unwanted guests. Also, keep in mind Nova Scotia currently does not have a Heartworm problem but other places do so a preventative is very important to protect them. 

No matter what your travel plans include, making sure everyone is safe and happy is top priority. Taking our pets along with us on our summertime adventures is an excellent way to bond with them and make sure they live their best life, so long as we make sure their needs are met.