When asked about the most important thing to do when you are traveling, experts always recommend staying hydrated. Low humidity levels in airline cabins and cargo holds can quickly drain the fluids in any warm-blooded mammal including your pet. The heightened stress of travel simply adds to the problem. Lack of fluids in an animal is a serious condition, and that is why you always need to keep your pet hydrated when traveling.
Many pet owners are not aware of the importance of keeping their pet hydrated when traveling. Just bringing a water bowl may not be enough. Nonetheless, traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful if you are prepared. But, without proper planning, there’s always the risk of your pet getting dehydrated.
What is pet dehydration?
Simply put, dehydration occurs when your pet is losing more fluids that it is taking in.
Pets normally release fluids in their body through panting or breathing, evaporation through their paws and urination. When at home, pets can replenish the fluids they lose through eating and drinking. Although pet owners should restrict food intake when traveling, they should always provide ample opportunities for their pet’s hydration.
What are the symptoms of pet dehydration?
There are many signs of dehydration to look out. A dehydrated pet may exhibit symptoms such as:
- dry and/or sticky gums,
- excessive panting,
- sunken eyes
- loss of appetite
- loss of skin elasticity
- too much or reduced urination
If any of these conditions are noticeable, then you need to encourage your pet to drink water as soon as possible and get them to a veterinarian if they persist.
What are the dangers of pet dehydration?
Now you know why it’s crucial to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. When your pet is dehydrated, it loses precious body fluids and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride. All these electrolytes for dogs help in stabilizing the body’s PH, transporting nutrients to body cells, promoting and regulating muscle and nerve function. Therefore, when your dog is dehydrated, it can easily suffer organ failure and even death.
How can you keep your pet hydrated while traveling?
Keeping pets hydrated when traveling, especially in the summer heat, helps to avoid many problems. There are many ways to keep your pet hydrated. Here are some suggestions:
1. Travel in the Spring or the Fall
Summertime is the most popular time for families to travel; however, excessive temperatures can pose a significant risk of dehydration for your pet.
When traveling in the car, always keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on. This will lessen the amount of fluids that are lost through your pet’s mouth.
If flying, many airlines will not allow your pet to fly in the cargo hold if temperatures exceed 85 degrees F (30 degrees C) as exposure to high temperatures in the holding area, during loading and taxiing can be deadly for a pet.
It is far safer to travel when the temperatures are mild, and your pet does not need to breathe as much to release heat.
2. Carry enough clean water
You don’t move in hot weather without packing your favorite snacks or drinks, and your cat or dog also needs the same when traveling. Water is essential to dogs and cats, just like it is to humans.
Pets can survive with water for days, but without it, they will die very fast. For this reason alone, it is important to keep your pet hydrated when traveling.
Therefore, be keen on the type of water that you give to your pet. Some pets have no problem with faucet water, while others hate the smell of chemicals in it.
To ensure that your pet drinks more and doesn’t suffer from dehydration as you travel, check out this Reverse Osmosis Guide it will help you to consider the best water filter for your pet.
A water filter alters the taste of the water and eliminates pollutants, bacteria, viruses, cysts, and toxic chemicals, ensuring high-quality water for your pet. This way, your pet won’t be put off by the smell, hence it will drink more. You can also acquire a doggy water dish that comes with a reservoir appended to a pool or tap for a continuous supply.
3. Offer wet food before traveling
If your dog is accustomed to dining on kibble, add some water to it. This is an excellent way to keep your pet hydrated when traveling.
Wet dog food is a bit more costly and smellier than dried food, but most dogs love it. This kind of food not only ensures that your pet stays hydrated but also provides the essential nutrients your dog or cat requires to remain healthy during your trip. More so, wet food is canned and can last for a long time, making it ideal when traveling with your pet. If you are traveling internationally, then confirm that the import of pet food will be permitted in your destination country.
4. Offer some ice cube treats before traveling
Traveling cats love treats, and ice cube treats are great for hot weather. Add some ice cubes into your pet’s water to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. You can also freeze some peas and blueberries and offer them to your pet to calm them. Add fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet as they contain large amounts of water.
5. Place a large water bowl in the crate
Unlimited access to clean water is essential for all pets. If your pet doesn’t drink enough, they risk suffering from dehydration, and we are all aware of the dangers associated with that.
As such, when traveling with your pet, a pet travel water bowl or water bottle comes in handy. Place it in your pet’s crate, and this will encourage your pet to drink more. Freeze the water in the bowl prior to travel to minimize spillage. Although your pet may sip little by little, you will be surprised how much they end up drinking.
6. Use cooling pads or vests
Traveling with a puppy can be risky, especially in hot weather. So, consider a cooling mat from online or pet retail stores near you and ensure that your pet fits perfectly into their keep cool jacket. It should also be made from the right self-cooling fabrics. Note that the airlines will object to mats made with gel substances if your dog or cat is flying in the cargo hold.
7. Book a pet-friendly jet charter
Traveling by air with pets is quite a challenge, and keeping your pet hydrated while in the cargo hold on long flights is a challenge. For this reason, consider booking a pet-friendly jet charter, since, keeping pets hydrated when traveling in the cabin with you will be easier. Moreover, the chances of overheating are very minimal. The temperature is regulated, and you’re allowed to travel with your desired number of pets in the cabin regardless of their size.
8. Opt for a pet-friendly hotel
Keeping your pet hydrated in a pet-friendly hotel is easier. Many hotels understand how vital our dogs and cats are to us. They offer different exceptional services to ensure that your pet stays hydrated and healthy such as water bowls, spas, doggie treats, grooming, local dog walking services, training, and pet sitters. When you stay in a pet friendly hotel, it becomes easier for both of you to enjoy your vacation.
These are just some of the ways to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. Planning in advance is key. Taking some simple steps ahead of time and being aware of the signs of dehydration are most important to keep your pet safe and your trip happy for you both.
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