As the holidays approach, people's thoughts turn to family gatherings and vacation time.
The Travel Industry Association reports that 29.1 million Americans have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more in the past 3 years. One study notes that nearly 40% of U.S. dog owners state they travel with their dogs. It is difficult to tell how many of these owners discuss travel plans with their veterinarians, yet there are many important aspects of pet travel that owners should know about and may not.
Anxious pet travelers will need special consideration. For pets traveling by car, very gradual acclimation (started simply with sitting in a parked car, then around the block, and so on) will sometimes help. FOr those it does not help, medication may be considered. Travel by air is somewhat more complicated - the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Humane Association do not recommend sedating anxious pets for air travel and caution veterinarians and owners against it. Veterinarians will need to consult individual owners in these cases. Sometmes, leaving the pet home with a pet sitter or in a boarding facility is the best option for these pets. Cats, in particular, are notoriously poor travelers and are generally better off left out of travel plans, unless the owner is moving. ANother potential problem for traveling pets is motion sickness. One study cites that 17% of dogs suffer from motion sickness as reported by owners. When acclimation does not help, medication for these pets may be considered. Antihistamines, such as the over-the-counter drugs diphenhydramine and dimenhydrinate, have ofter been used in such cases but have variable efficacy and can be sedating. We carry a drug called Cerenia, a nonsedating medication for the prevention of motion sickness in dogs., has been recently approved and is another alternative.
If you feel your pet would benefit from this medication or you have more questions about traveling with your furry friend call our office or email us today!