Guest Column: 8 summer travel tips for your pets

Published 2:35 pm Monday, August 8, 2016

Guest Column by Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson is the owner of Ranch & Pet Supply in Albert Lea.

Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson

For some pet owners, a vacation without your four-legged family members just wouldn’t be a vacation. But traveling with your pet can be stressful for both you and your pet. Here are a few travel tips to make the ride more enjoyable for the entire family.

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1. Keep your pets safe in a well-ventilated carrier. Make sure the carrier is fastened in tightly and does not shift when you apply quick pressure to the brakes. You may also choose to use a car-rated harness that is tethered to the seatbelt.

2. If you are planning a long trip, make sure you start with several short trips and gradually increase them each time. Just like people, pets also get motion sickness and often anxiety while traveling. If you discover that your pet does not travel well, try using products like Travel Anxiety by HomeoPet, Composure by VetriScience or a Thundershirt. All of these products naturally provide relief from motion sickness and fear of travel. You will want to experiment prior to your big trip to see how large or frequent of a dose your pet will need.

3. Your pet travel kit should include food, bottled water, a leash, poop bags, vaccination papers, pet first aid kit, treats and their favorite toy.

4. Make sure you feed your pet two to three hours before you plan on leaving. Immediate travel after eating may upset your pet’s stomach and make for a very long, uncomfortable trip for everyone.

5. Bring your own water from home or buy bottled water while on the road. Tap water can vary greatly from one place to the next and can result in tummy upset for your pet.

6. Plan on more frequent stops during your trip. Pets will need to get out and get plenty of exercise. Most rest areas have a specified area just for pets; otherwise, look for a dog park. This will allow your pet to run off leash and burn some excess energy. Don’t forget the ball if your pet likes to play fetch. This is a great energy burner for the kids, too.

7. Never leave your pet in the vehicle unattended. Even with the windows cracked, on a sunny day, your vehicle can heat up enough to cause heat stroke in your pet. For example, on an 85-degree day with the windows slightly cracked, the vehicle temperature will heat up to over 100 degrees in 10 minutes and in 30 minutes will heat up to over 120 degrees.

8. Don’t forget the flea and tick/Heartguard treatment. Make sure you take every precaution to protect your pets from parasites and other pests. If you are using a monthly treatment like K9Advantix or Nexguard, you can always use natural repellents so not to overdose your pets.

Happy and safe travels this summer!