Pets are part of the family; it’s not easy to leave them while we go away for a holiday or even a weekend away.  The good news is there is a rapidly expanding market for pet friendly holiday rentals so it is becoming easier to go travelling and take our pets with us.  There are a few things that you need to do however before you leave so everyone has a great holiday.

Make sure your pet is microchipped

Microchipping is compulsory in all states and territories (whilst not compulsory in the NT, it is highly recommended). Please ensure the microchip details including mobile phone numbers and emails are up to date in case your pet wanders off.

Research your destination

Look into your destination and accommodation. Relevant information that you should look out for includes secure fencing at your accommodation, access to dog-friendly spots such as beaches, parks, walking tracks, local council regulations and contact details of the local vet clinic and closest after hours emergency centre. Find the closest Greencross Vets or Emergency Centre here. Your local Petbarn or Greencross Vets  in the area is also a good source of information regarding parasite control (for example paralysis ticks, fleas, worming) and hazards to pets such as poisonous snakes or poisonous sea life in the region.

Stock up on medicine and food

Take enough medication or specific diet to last all holiday and a little extra – don’t assume the local vet clinic will stock it.

Stay up to date with parasite prevention

Heartworm and tick paralysis prevention should be kept current.  If vaccinations or health checks are due these should be done at least 2 weeks prior to departure.   If you’re unsure what is required or if your pet is up to date, your vet will be able to help.

How to prevent car sickness in pets

Familiarise your pet with car travel well in advance.  Anxious pets are more likely to become nauseous in the car.  Signs your pet is anxious about travel include drooling, panting, yawning & trembling.  To get them used to travel start with very short trips, praising them when they show calm, relaxed behaviour. As they improve progress to longer trips.  If you have a pet that refuses even to get in the car, get them used to the car by feeding them in there – make it fun and slowly but surely build them up to the travel experience.  Again praise them when they show calm, relaxed behaviour. As well as this, follow the tips below for ALL pets.

  • Don’t feed for approximately 4-6hrs prior to travel (water is fine of course)
  • Allow for short breaks to get out and stretch legs and ensure they have fresh water
  • Ensure there is plenty of fresh air (such as a rolled down window or an air vent)
  • Limit the loud music – what’s loud to them is not necessarily loud to us.

If these suggestions don’t work or you need a faster solution please contact your local Greencross vet for advice. There are homeopathic remedies and other medications for anxiety which are generally available at your vet after a consultation.  For those pets that are just very sensitive to motion sickness, effective anti-nausea medication is available, again with consultation via your local vet.

Keep your pet restrained while in the car

Unrestrained pets are distracting to the driver and are potential dangerous projectile if the car suddenly swerves, stops, or worse, becomes involved in an accident.  Travel carriers should be used for cats and small dogs and seat belt harnesses for medium and large breed dogs.  Place animals on the back seat or cargo area if you have a wagon, never the front passenger’s seat.  Pets shouldn’t be allowed to stick their head out of the window due to the risk of injury especially to the eye. Remember, many states have introduced hefty fines for pets who are not secured safely in the car.

We hope with this advice all two- and four-legged friends arrive safe and sound feeling cool, calm & collected. Are we there yet?

Written by: Dr. Helen Harvey BVSc (Hons), Greencross Vets