Are you planning to travel with your pet? Do you want to make sure that you have everything packed and ready? Before the trip, you carefully monitor your health and your children’s health, but don’t forget about your pet’s health! Traveling, indeed, is such a fun and exciting thing to do; however, it does involve many preparations and things to be taken care of. This whole process becomes more challenging when you have a pet as a travel companion. Traveling is stressful for animals, and healthy pets can handle the stress better than unhealthy ones. That is why you should address your pet’s health for travel.
Aside from all the essential must-haves, you should also not forget about the health of your pets. Health issues can be vital and require immediate attention which can be hard to get when traveling. As an example, you should not travel knowing your dog has an ear infection.
Here are some steps that you should take to address your pet’s health before traveling.
Visit your vet’s office
There are many things you want to make sure are set before you get on the road with your pet. Visiting the vet’s office is the first and most important step to take. Before you travel you must know that your pet’s health is good and your pet will be able to handle the stress of travel. In order to know whether or not your pet is healthy enough to travel, make sure to have your vet administer many of the fundamental tests and treatments required for pets. Here is a sample:
- Rabies and other healthy pet vaccinations
- Blood tests (required for entering some countries)
- Check for parasites (fleas, ticks and worms)
Essential documents, such as health certificates, are must-haves when traveling internationally and also require a trip to your veterinarian. Also, it is a good opportunity for you to stock up on any medications that your dog or cat is currently taking.
Implanting microchips is a must! Not only are microchips required to enter most countries, they are essential for pet identification. Should you be separated from your pet, neither you nor your pet have any understanding of the roads, the neighborhoods or the local animal enforcement, and this will limit the possibility of finding each other. Dogs and cats can be very high strung in a new environment, hence, the probability of losing your pet is pretty high, and you cannot be very attentive to them 24/7. For instance, if your pet is a dog it might follow some animal or even bolt out the door when opened and get lost. Situations can be different; the best way is to be sure that, no matter what, you will be able to find your furry friend. Make sure to register the microchip with your current contact information. Once everything is set, you can be sure that you will be safe during the trip with your pet.
First of all, even without traveling, pets must get their vaccinations. Proof of current rabies vaccination is essential for dogs and cats entering any country worldwide and a part of addressing your pet’s health for travel. As to other vaccinations like distemper, parvo virus and kennel cough, you need to talk to your pet’s veterinarian in order to discuss how long you will be absent and whether or not you should have these vaccinations administered before traveling if your destination country does not require them. Vaccinations are essential for the health and protection of your pet, especially when they may be exposed to diseases that are not active their home country.
Secondly, the blood tests are vital for knowing everything is good with your pet’s health and they are healthy enough to travel. Some countries will require Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) blood tests to measure the level of rabies antibodies in your pet’s blood before allowing pets to enter the country. In many cases, this test must be done as much as 3 months in advance and, to enter Australia, 6 months in advance!
Check for Parasites
There are two types of common parasites: internal and external. Some internal parasites that can affect your pet’s health are hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and Giardia. All kinds of worms may affect your dog in their own way and some of them can be passed to humans. Dogs infected by worms might have symptoms like weight loss, vomiting and more. There might even be cases when you do not recognize any obvious symptoms. That is why it is best to have your veterinarian take a test and make sure it should not be treated for these parasites.
External parasites include fleas, which are bloodsucking bugs. The existence of these bugs results in itching, biting, scratching and even hair loss. Other types of external parasites are ticks, which are arachnids and also bloodsucking. The dangerous thing about this is that they can be carriers of serious diseases. Thus, it would be best to treat your dog against such things as fleas and ticks with either natural methods or products such as Advantage, Frontline. NexGard before travel.
Time to Diet?
An overweight pet is not a healthy pet. Not only does excess weight affect a pet’s mobility, it can also affect lead to diabetes, osteoarthritis and even your pet’s breathing. And the effects of obesity can also affect your pet emotionally. If you are planning to travel, and your pet’s weight is not what it should be, then plan to cut back on food intake slowly and supplement with vegetables like green beans and small bits of carrots. You can discuss a dietary plan with your veterinarian. Consider an exercise routine. In the end, your pet will be more prepared to weather the stress of traveling after losing those excess pounds.
A Trip to the Groomer
A clean pet is a better traveler. If you take your pet to the groomer, schedule a visit before traveling. Get them a bath, haircut and get their nails clipped. If you do not have a groomer, get out in the backyard, shower or bathtub with your pet shampoo and brush and have fun. Look out for any ticks or fleas or wounds that your pet may have and get them attended to.
Have all the essential backups
It is very important for you to do your research and be sure that nothing will affect the health of your pet during the trip. No matter all the preparations you do, there are very many external factors that can affect your pet’s health. Obviously, you want to escape from things like that, which is why there are a few things you should do.
It is very common that pets get sick because of the water they drink. Let’s face it. They have been used to drinking one type of water, and now suddenly you give them something else. This can result in health issues. This is a very common issue that pet owners face while travelling which is why you should be careful for your pet not to suffer for pain during the trip. You can take water from home with you so as not to face digestive issues like this. The water can be tap water or bottled water, whichever you prefer.
It is also a good idea to bring an ample supply of your pet’s food with you. You will not have to shop for their food when you get to your destination, and it will also prevent the introduction of a new food which can also cause digestive upset. This is especially important if your pet is on a special diet. If you are traveling internationally, be sure your destination country will permit the import of dog or cat food. It will need to be sealed in the original packaging at a minimum and, with many countries, it depends on the ingredients.
The rest of the things that you can do highly depends on the country you are planning to visit. You can find pet import regulations for over 200 countries here.
Traveling itself can be fun, but it becomes even more enjoyable when you have such wonderful travel companions as pets you own. Once you decide to take them on a trip with you, you start realizing the problems you might face. Dealing with veterinary paperwork is very essential, hence, pet health is the most important thing to deal with before you travel. You want to make sure that nothing goes wrong during your vacation, as your greatest focus should be to relax and not worry about anything and prepare for everything.
Besides all the above-mentioned steps needed to take before you leave on a trip, part of addressing your pet’s health for travel is to take a health certificate with you just in case if something goes wrong and you need to visit the vet. Also, make sure that you do your research and find the closest veterinarian offices available in the country you are planning to visit in case of an emergency.
If you follow all the above-mentioned steps, you should be able to enjoy your trip. If there are any doubts connected with your pet’s health it would be better to leave them with a trusted friend or family member. Otherwise, if your pet turns out to be fully healthy, then you will be able to enjoy a very exciting trip with your travel companion!
Contributing to this article is Maria Harutyunian, the PR team lead at Vet Organics. She writes about dogs and pets in general to help pet owners like her take better care furry family members.