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Pet Owner Tips for Holiday Travel
Planning for holiday travel is no picnic. And let’s not forget the added stress of being sure our pets are being taken care of while we are out of town. Planning is essential for making holiday travel as easy as possible. Here are some pet owner tips for holiday travel whether you are taking your pet along or are leaving your pet at home.
Traveling With Your Pet
- Bring a Health Certificate. Are you flying or driving to another state for the holidays? Pets traveling with you will require a health certificate. Even if you are driving, it is a good idea to have one on hand. A health certificate is a document verifying that your pet is current on his vaccines and is healthy enough for travel.
- Secure Your Pet for Safety. Do you have a safe system to secure your pet when traveling in the car? If you are driving it is important that you have a seat-belt, crate, or carrier for your pet to ride in. Pets can sometimes be a distraction while driving. Pets are also at risk for injury if involved in a car accident.
- Remember Food and Medications. Bring everything your pet will need while you are out of town. Be sure you have enough food (and bring some extra) for as long as you are away from home. Diet changes can be difficult on a pet’s digestive system, so avoid switching your pet’s food in the middle of your trip. Also, bring medications that your pet is on. This can be their heartworm prevention (if they will be due for it), arthritis medication, flea medication, allergy medication, etc. Check your supply now to be sure you have enough to last until you are home from your travels. If you don’t, call us right away for a refill so that you don’t have to worry about making a last minute trip to the veterinarian’s office.
- Bring ID Tags and Update Microchip Information. Be sure your pet is wearing ID tags and you have updated your pet’s microchip information. If your pet has a medical condition that requires special care, consider putting that on his ID tag.
Leaving Your Pet at Home
Maybe you have decided to leave your pet with a pet sitter, friend, family member, or boarding facility. Here are some tips for you!
- Book Early. If you’re using a boarding facility, kennel, or professional pet sitter reserve your pet’s spot as early as possible. The holiday season becomes quite busy and their spaces fill up quickly.
- Check Vaccination Requirements. Check with your kennel or boarding facility to know what vaccines are required for their stay. Boarding facilities will vary on what is required. Recently, we have had more kennels starting to require the influenza vaccine in addition to other vaccines. So even if you have used a specific kennel in the past it is important to check to see if they have implemented any changes. Once you know what the kennel requires, call our office to be sure your pet is up to date on what he needs or to schedule an appointment for booster vaccines.
- Complete Your Vacation Authorization. This is a form we provide and will keep on file while you are out of town indicating who can make medical decisions for your pet while you are away. It is important that we know whom you have authorized to bring your pet in for medical care. Call us at (925) 934-8042 to get the process started.
- Inform Your Caregiver About Your Pet. Educate your pet sitter, friend, or family member on your pet’s routine. It is also important to highlight your pet’s major medical history and things to look out for. For example, if your pet has an allergy to chicken it is important to stress to keep chicken away from your pet. Or perhaps your pet has had knee or back surgery and he is not allowed to jump on and off the bed.
- Provide Enough Food and Medicine. Be sure your pet will have enough food and medication while you are gone. That way your pet sitter will not have to worry about picking up a refill or accidentally buying the wrong food while you are away.
- Write it Down! Lastly, be sure to write everything down for your pet sitter. If they have any questions, they can reference what you have written down for them. It’s also helpful to list important phone numbers for your pet sitter in case of an emergency. Good numbers to include are phone numbers to your regular veterinarian and the emergency veterinary hospital of your preference. And of course leave phone numbers to where you can be reached in case of an emergency or if there are any questions.
Traveling over the holidays with or without your pet doesn’t have to be stressful. Plan ahead and use the pet owner tips above as a checklist to ensure everyone stays happy and healthy.