This time of year a lot of people will be travelling to a cottage, and many are bringing their pets with them; particularly dogs. This article will outline some reminders to ensure you have a safe and organized family vacation!
Be Veterinary Ready
Time flies by quickly when packing and getting ready for a trip, so don’t forget to call several days in advance to refill any of your pet’s medications so that you do not run out while you are away. Even if your pet is not on medication, it might be a good idea to call ahead and ask for appropriate dosages for over the counter drugs such as Benadryl in case your pet suffers from any allergic reactions to bug bites. If your pet is on special food, don’t forget to order ahead for that as well, and pack extra food in case you end up spending extra time away.
Research where the nearest veterinary clinic will be to your location and print off a small map with their contact information and phone number. Sometimes cell signals are not as strong, and you can’t always rely on being able to ‘google’ the information during an emergency.
Some dogs love jumping in the car to join the family for a fun road trip – others get carsick and do not enjoy travelling at all. If you have never taken your dog on a long car ride before, start practicing in the weeks leading up to your long journey. Increase the amount of time your dog is in the car to see how they will handle things. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet does get carsick as there are excellent drugs to prevent nausea. If your dog gets anxious on car rides, there are calming pheromone sprays and anti-anxiety drugs that can make the car ride smoother.
Always plan for bathroom and water breaks for your pet, and a safe location to sit in during the ride itself. The safest means of travel is to purchase a harness with an attachment that buckles into your car’s seatbelt, so your pet is buckled in the back seat just like the other passengers. Travelling in a carrier (especially if your dog is used to its carrier) will also keep them safe in the event of an accident. Remember to NEVER drive with your pet in your lap. Not only is a pet in your lap a distraction while you are driving, if an accident were to occur the force of an airbag going off could severely injure or kill your pet, and injure yourself as well.
Safety at the Cottage
Cottages bring busy families the peace of mind they are craving during our beautiful summer weather but do be aware of safety hazards that exist for your pet. If your dog is not a strong swimmer, consider buying them a dog lifejacket (available at most pet stores). Making sure your pet is on medication to prevent them from getting bitten by fleas and ticks will keep them comfortable (and stop them bringing them into your cottage!) Wildlife abounds in cottage country, and depending on your location (and size of your pet) be aware of snakes, hawks, coyotes, and bears that could harm your pet.
Planning and being prepared ensures that you and your pet will be able to have a relaxing and happy vacation.
Written by Stephanie, RVT