One of our friends spends lots of time on airplanes traveling across the country for her work. She recently remarked on how the frequency of people taking pets along on trips seems to have increased significantly. She is correct. People travel with pets all the time. Our dogs certainly enjoy our vacations at the beach, and we wouldn’t have half the fun if they weren’t along. But all this travel can have pet health risks of which you may not be aware.
The first and most common is anxiety. Many pets suffer anxiety when experiencing a new place with strange smells and sounds. Typically, they acclimate but if your pet has this problem a visit to Caring Hearts for some helpful ideas and tools such as pheromone sprays can make that trip more relaxing. Also, make sure your pet is microchipped and that your information is current with the microchip company. Many times, pet owners change addresses and forget this important detail.
Second, plan ahead. If you are taking your pet to another country, there are lots of different rules and regulations to be navigated. To get an international health certificate can take weeks to months depending on the health requirements of the country you plan to visit. If flying a pet, you will also need to connect with the airlines and discover their rules for shipping animals or having them in the cabin. Airlines have become much more strict about “emotional support” animals and require documentation.
Third, be aware of different diseases and health risks in the geographic location you are visiting. For example, when traveling to the West Coast a common problem for pets is foxtails. This weed has a barbed seed that looks similar to wheat. The barbs will embed themselves into the paws, in the ears, up the nose and even the genital area of animals and migrate further and further into the body. Many have to be surgically removed. In the northern states, veterinarians commonly see dogs with a face full of porcupine quills, and in Arizona, a fungus that lives in the soil called Valley Fever can be deadly to pets and to humans. Florida hosts a large toad called the Buffo toad which secrets a slimy layer of venom over its body which curious pets will on occasion ingest. Veterinarians in states where marijuana is legal are seeing a significate increase in animals eating pot-laced foodstuffs which is very dangerous.
So, when you vacation with your pet have fun but prepare well.
Make sure your pet is up to date on all their vaccinations. Keep them on their monthly heartworm and parasite preventive as heartworms, intestinal parasites, and fleas and ticks are everywhere- even Alaska! Double-check the microchip and that your contact information is current. If your pet gets sick on the road, make sure you tell the veterinarian where you have traveled outside of your immediate area as this will make a difference in what they may consider in their diagnosis.