They’re meant to be relaxing, but vacations can also be a source of stress: Who will pick up your mail? What if airport security lines are too long and you miss your flight? What if the hotel reservation fell through and you have no place to stay?
Just as people can feel uneasy when traveling, your pets may experience stress and discomfort on trips. Being away from familiar surroundings, eating different foods, moving for extended periods of time—Fido may become disoriented, anxious or even physically ill.
• Keep your pet safe in a secure and well-ventilated crate or carrier. Make sure it’s big enough for them to sit, stand, lie down and turn around in. (Let them get used to it at home before you go!)
• Serve a light meal three to four hours before departure. Do not feed them while in motion.
• Don’t leave your pet alone in a locked vehicle. Even with windows open, car interiors can become dangerously hot.
• Bring the following items to give your pet a sense of security: his usual food, food bowls, leash, favorite toy or pillow. Also bring a waste scoop, plastic bags, medication, grooming supplies and travel papers.
• Bring bottled water; drinking water from an area he’s not used to may upset his stomach.
• Make sure your pet wears a collar with identification tags or has an identification microchip implanted.
• Bring your pet’s rabies vaccination records, especially if driving across state lines, as some states require proof at interstate crossings.
• To help your pet stay calm, stay calm yourself. Speak in a calm and nurturting voice and provide plenty of reassuring pats.
If you have a particularly anxious dog, or one that suffers from motion sickness, try an all-natural supplement with herbs such as valerian, chamomile, kava kava and St. John’s wort which are naturally soothing and may help ease some of your pet’s tension.