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Vacationing with Pets…Pets On-The-Go – Dr. Sharon Johnston

Happy Summer Everybody!

I wouldn’t call myself the most qualified to blather on this topic, but here goes…

Just back from my vacation, and I will remind you that vacation takes work, to prepare for and return from, whether or not the smaller furry family members go along or not. Mine stayed with a trusted pet sitter aka Auntie Wendy, who loves to have small furry interlopers in her home and life, and that is the most convenient vacation for me and them. But at the resort I visited, on the east side of the Sierras, many folks had brought along their dog companions. Gratefully, I noted that these were the most considerate dog lovers around! With a little aforethought, hopefully we can all be so kind to other travelers. Not once did I run across leavings that escaped pick-up, dogs off leash inappropriately, or bad behavior. The pets I came in contact with were well-groomed, leashed and harnessed or collared, with tags a jinglin’, appeared to be fit and healthy, and glad to be on vacation.

May we all be so considerate when we travel with our pets! A few general things to keep in mind before taking your pets along for the ride: preparation, safety, and citizenship. Make sure they are up to date on vaccines and parasite prevention, and check into what may need to be added depending on where you are visiting [ticks are the most annoying example]. Keep safety in mind: harness, collar, leash, back-ups in case of loss or breakage, tags, microchip, photos in case of escape, water availability, first aid kit, grooming aids, and some containment for car or RV rides as needed. Hopefully also the traveling pet will be excited about vacation and prepared to enjoy new places and experiences. Consider that not every dog would opt for the stress of travel to stay with Mom and Dad versus the alternative stressor of a pet sitter or being boarded. And consider doing your best to be a good pet-owning citizen, clean up after your pet wherever you may go. Take along what may be needed for your pet to stay in a motel room, should some vacation activity not encourage them to come along. And consider finding a local doggie day care or day boarding facility if you must leave the pooch behind for a special day activity. Those “tender of tummy” may appreciate staying with a family member more than going on vacation, or a probiotic may ease the guts for the journey [this applies to people too].

AAA publishes a helpful book, Traveling with Your Pet, that has many helpful reminders for preparation, lists emergency clinics by state, and pet friendly motels, for all of you without smart phones!

Stay safe out there and happy travels! Dr. J.