Sarah Hilario, DVM
For many animal lovers, including myself, vacation is not the same without bringing along our four legged family members. On a recent trip with my family, I was reminded of several situations that could have been stressful for our dog without proper planning. Pets need essential supplies such as their regular diet, medications, and vaccinations for a safe and fun trip.
First, don’t forget your pups collar, tags and leash. Better yet, a harness provides more security and comfort than a collar, keeping pressure from being placed directly over the windpipe if your pet pulls too hard on the leash. Make sure the harness fits correctly to prevent chafing around the armpit areas. If this occurs a thin film of triple antibiotic ointment may be applied being careful not to allow your pet to ingest it. It is also a good idea to have a microchip implanted in your pet in case of an emergency.
Second, it is important not to feed your pet human food. Try to keep your pet’s normal routine as similar as possible to what it is at home. Bring their regular dog food and feed the same amounts at the same time of day as you normally would. Both diarrhea and constipation can occur while traveling. Mixing a spoonful of canned pumpkin in with your dog’s food daily can help. The high fiber content of this food helps regulate their gastrointestinal tract. However, don’t feed raw pumpkin or the sugary, spicy pumpkin pie filling.
Lastly, ensure that your dog is protected from the most common parasites and preventable diseases. Keep them on a monthly heartworm, flea, and tick medication. Pack bottled water for them as many parasites and bacterial infections can be transmitted through water from unknown sources like streams or ponds. Also, double check with your veterinarian that all vaccines are up to date according to the area of the country you may be traveling too. Planning ahead can ensure vacationing with your dog is a great bonding experience and a lot of fun.