Safe Travel with Pets

Many families travel with their pets for the holidays. Here are some holiday travel safety tips from Dr. Katie Cox, DVM.

The summer holidays are coming and that means many families will be traveling with their pets. This can be a stressful time for both pets and their families because of the change in day-to-day routine and new environments for the animal. Stress can manifest as many forms, such as fear and apprehension, which could make your pet hide, become nauseous, or show signs of aggression that are not normal for your pet. There are many ways to help decrease stress for our furry friends, whether it be for car or air travel.

Thundershirts can help decrease your pet’s travel anxiety.

Many over-the-counter options are available to help decrease anxiety in dogs and cats. The Thunder shirt is an effective tool that can help comfort your pet and decrease reactions to loud noises. This works by adding mild pressure to your animal’s body, like a hug, to decrease reaction to stimulus. Check your favorite pet store for Thunder shirts or look online at thundershirt.com.

There are a variety of supplements and medications on the market to help with fear and stress, so be sure to talk with your veterinarian about your method of travel. Medications used for sedation are not recommended for plane travel because they can upset the pressure in the brain and affect your animal’s balance.

When traveling by car, supplements or medications can be an effective way to decrease angst for our animals. Natural supplements such as Zylkene, Composure, and Solliquin can be prescribed by your veterinarian to help animals keep their relaxed dispositions.

Each pet is different, and when supplements do not work, medications for anxiety can be prescribed. Benadryl is an over-the-counter medication that may be recommended to help with mild sedation, though it is best to ask your vet for a specific dose for your furry friend. Other medications, like Trazodone or Acepromazine can be prescribed for short or long-term anxiety.

Be sure to try any supplements or sedatives before the actual travel date to make sure they work and to make sure your pet does not have any adverse reactions. Also, if traveling out of the country or out of your state, be sure to look at requirements for health certificates in the state or country you are traveling to. You can look up the requirements on this website: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel. Ask your veterinarian today about the options to help promote a calm and stress-free environment this holiday season and Happy Holidays!