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Taking your pets on the road

Taking your pets on the road

With spring break and summer vacation right around the corner, there are plenty of good reasons to plan a family vacation. With nine in ten Canadians planning to travel in the next 24 months, lots of families will be packing up and hitting the road soon, and for many, that includes taking a pet along.

As pet owners know, furry friends are part of the family and there are steps you can take to ensure your pet enjoys the trip as much as you do.

Here are a few tips to make sure your vacation is a success for everyone:

  • Just as you make sure your human passengers are fed, hydrated, and given appropriate bathroom breaks, be aware that your pet also requires care and planning. Make sure your pet is fed and stays hydrated throughout the day.
  • Ease your pet into traveling. Give them a chance to get comfortable in their carrier, crate or animal seatbelt before your trip to reduce crying or discomfort when it comes time for the long journey. If you are unsure about what is right for your pet or how to ensure their comfort, consult with your veterinarian.
  • If you’re traveling to the US, and plan to bring along Fido, you’ll be asked to provide up-to-date rabies paperwork when you cross the border. Schedule an appointment with your vet prior to your trip to confirm that your pet has all of the required vaccines and is protected from any diseases that may be common at your travel destination.
  • Consider having your pet microchipped in the unfortunate event that they get lost. Microchip databases are international, and make tracking down your lost animal easier across provinces and borders.
  • Plan ahead. Map out your stops and call ahead to ensure your lodging, whether it’s a hotel or a campground is animal-friendly.
  • Insurance providers like Petsecure offer coverage in the event your pet requires medical attention across the border. The Petsecure Vet Locator can also help you to track down a nearby veterinarian when you’re on the go.

While you may not be able to imagine time away from your furry friend, the last thing any pet owner wants is to take them along on a trip that is uncomfortable, anxiety-inducing, or dangerous to their health. Particularly with older pets or pocket pets, such as birds or hamsters, travel simply may not be a good option for them. Your veterinarian can help you decide what the right decision is for your animals, and recommend alternative arrangements if you leave your pet behind.

By Dr. Bernhard Pukay

Dr. Berney Pukay is the current Chairman of the Petsecure Veterinary Advisory Board with Western Financial Group (Western). Dr. Pukay is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and advises Petsecure – Western’s Pet Insurance division. He was appointed Chairman in 2013 and began his role on January 1, 2014. As the Chairman of the PetSecure Veterinary Advisory Board, Dr. Pukay advises Petsecure on the best way to present pet health insurance and educates people and industry about the benefits of health insurance for pets.