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August 2014: Vacation Checklist for Pets

Before you head out the door for summer vacation with your bags packed and fur-friend in tow, remember that taking your pet along for the ride requires preparation.  Just like you have to plan ahead and pack clothes and necessities appropriate for weather, location and duration of your trip, you must do the same for your pet.  To help you get started, here are 5 of the most common pet travel and safety items to consider carrying along.

Food

Pack enough food to last you a few days after arriving at your destination.  Pack the same food brands that you have always used as changing brands can cause stomach distress, diarrhoea and even a refusal to eat.  Vacation is not the time to try new foods!  Pack food in zip lock bags to stop spillage and to keep it clean and fresh. 

Water

Access to fresh water is essential to maintaining your pet’s health during travel.  To prevent dehydration, cats and dogs should always have fresh water available but just how much should they drink?  As much as they usually drink when they’re at home.  Just like food, pack enough bottled water to last you for at least a few days after arriving at your destination.

Collar and ID Tag

One of the most fundamental basics of pet ownership; make sure that your cat or dog is always wearing a collar with a tag on it that includes your mobile phone number.  Look at collars and detailed pet identification tags as a form of pet travel insurance.  Even though microchips will help if you become separated from your pet, all lost pets don’t always end up in a shelter.  This is when the dog collar and tag could save the day; for you and your fur-friend!

Pet Medications / Prescriptions

Pack your pet’s routine medications such as Heartworm preventatives and Flea and Tick control products.  If you anticipate staying in a wooded area, tick prevention is really important.  And if you will be walking in open fields and green spaces, your pets may pick up fleas left behind by previous visitors; so flea treatment is a must have.  Also, check in with your vet prior to departure if your pet is a nervous traveller; they may be able to advise a supplement to make the trip more bearable for all concerned.

First Aid Kit

Things can go wrong when you're on the road so it’s best to be prepared!  Here is a list of must-have items for your pet’s first aid kit (as recommended by the American Red Cross):

  • Gauze pads
  • Gauze rolls and bandages
  • Cotton swabs
  • Instant cold pack
  • Tweezers
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Scissors
  • Eye dropper

If your pet becomes seriously ill or hurt, or sustains major injuries, locate the nearest vet.