Summer is flying by with just a few more weeks left before school starts, it's time for the last vacations of summer. Traveling with pets has its benefits, they are a part of your family and make outdoor activities like hiking, camping and fishing just a little more fun, but it’s important to remember it adds a few extra challenges.
Plan ahead: Many hotels, Air B&B’s and campgrounds allow pets, but may require advance knowledge, proof of vaccines, pet fees, or deposits. Ask at booking or call the business if you are booking online to make sure you aren’t surprised during the vacation. Make sure your pet is updated on their vaccines and flea and tick medication before travel. A current Rabies vaccine is required to cross state lines and you may be asked to show proof of that vaccine. We recommend taking a photo of your pets rabies certificate and vaccine history and keeping it on your phone or in your digital cloud so you can access it while traveling if needed.
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Be responsible and respectful of other visitors: Poop bags and leashes make for better neighbors. No one likes stepping in fresh smelly poop while walking in the dark, so clean up after your pet and dispose of the bags in an appropriate trash receptacle. Do not allow your dog approach other pets unless you have approval from their owners. Not all dogs enjoy meeting other dogs in all the same ways. Even if your pup is friendly, a bad interaction may result, and depending on where you are vacationing, emergency veterinary services may be expensive or too far away. Keep your pet on leash unless you are in an area where off leash access is approved. This is for your pet’s safety, but also for the safety of critters who inhabit the area including squirrels, small birds, rabbits, opossum, raccoons. Some may even be endangered species and result in fines and citations if your pet were to injure or chase them.
Plan to bring food and water from home: Some dogs won’t drink water from the tap while travelling because it tastes different and since they can’t sip on a soda or sweet tea instead, it is of the highest importance that we make sure they have safe, clean, cool drinking water throughout your travels. Switching diets can also cause GI upset so bringing their food from home will help the trip go smoothly!
Pay attention to the temperature: Heat can be life threatening in many ways, do not leave your pet unattended in an enclosed vehicle or trailer, even a “dog box” or kennel in the back of a pickup truck can become life threatening in the extreme heat and humidity we see in Nebraska. These temperatures and heat indices can be even worse depending on where you are travelling. Have a plan for your pet during the hottest times of the day, plan activities in the shade, if there is water available for splashing near the shade then definitely choose that!
Put together a small first aid kit to travel with you for your pet: Much like a human first aid kit, a few minutes of preparation can be a real life saver while travelling. We recommend having a kit with the following supplies.
1. A slip leash- many vet offices offer these to their customers as free marketing!
2. Gauze, non-stick bandages, ace wrap, coban and adhesive tape.
3. A travel bottle of hydrogen peroxide, soap, and antibiotic ointment
4. Plain Benedryl, diphenhydramine with no additives, before travel check with your vet for dosing based on your pet's weight and write it on the bottle. This may be needed for allergic reactions or run-ins with stinging insects.
5. Saline eye wash, bottled water
6. Tweezers, nail clippers and a towel or blanket large enough to place under your pet and carry them
7. If your pet is on medication, you should also carry an additional one week worth in this first aid kit and ask your veterinarian if there are any other additions you should have based on your pets specific health problems. For example, diabetic pets should also travel with honey, nutrical, or a high calorie treat of some kind.