Tag Archives: travel

Kitties Can Travel Too

Los Angeles Times  7 Jun 2017
by Julie Pendray

Image result for kittie in car

I knew Michelle was up for adventure when I spotted her.  As her brothers snored nearby, she reached out to me.

And purred.

It was a match.  After I adopted her, she began climbing into my backpack — a sign, perhaps, that she was hoping to join me on work assignments.

I bought a crate, buckled it into my car’s back seat and off we went around town. Gradually, we took longer trips, including the California coast.

Last summer, Michelle and I traveled in my fully packed Prius from Southern California to British Columbia and back, a journey of about 6,000 miles.

Dogs get most of the ink when it comes to car trips, but I can attest that cats also can be great company as you head down the highway.

Michelle’s curiosity and independence made me laugh; she also occasionally kept me warm (or at least kept my feet warm), whether in a tent, a motel or a lodge.  She also won hearts and admiration by being sociable with people she trusted.

Here are tips to help Kitty become a first-class travel companion:

A strong cat-owner bond is key.  After she took up residence with me, Michelle would run to the door when I left for work, and I could hear her crying as I drove away.  Clearly, she wanted to be with me, in the house on the road.

Train your kitten early.  Take your furry friend on short trips.  This not only introduces the car idea but also may predict (or help avoid) car sickness.

Don’t force the issue.  If your pet doesn’t want to go, make other arrangements.  If you start assessing your pet’s willingness to travel early, any reluctance to go won’t come as a surprise and you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to find a caregiver, said Dr. Liz Stelow, a faculty member at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Keep the number of human car riders in check.  Traveling in a car with a lot of people or especially young children isn’t the best for a cat’s mental health, and it increases the risk of escape, Stelow said.

Make sure your plans are locked in.  Scope out pet-friendly lodgings and make reservations, especially for the busy summer season, so you don’t end up car camping when you didn’t intend to.

Visit the vet.  Discuss vaccinations and travel requirements, especially if you’re planning foreign travel.  A rabies shot is a given, but other requirements may surprise you.  Mexico, for instance, requires treatment for ticks before entry and treatment for parasites within six months of entry, Stelow said.

Discuss anti-nausea medications as well as calmatives.  Prescription products may be more effective than some over-the-counter drugs, Stelow said.  If you’ll be away a long time, take enough regular medications to cover your time away.

Get documentation.  Ask the vet for a current health certificate, which usually is required to cross state lines and national borders.  This should be done no sooner than a week before departure.  Also, carry copies of all health records.

Check with border agencies and airlines well ahead of time to learn about international travel regulations, which may take months of preparation, said Dr. Brian Collins of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Seek advice from vets on prevention of fleas, ticks and worms.  “A trial of chosen medications at home can’t prove that it will help on the trip, but you can avoid having a medication that will cause a reaction” while you’re on the road, Stelow said. “The first day of the trip is not the time to find out.”

Make sure you can get your cat back if it goes astray.  Kitty should wear a collar and tag with your phone number.  Microchip information should be up to date.  Carry a current photo for posters or to inquire with strangers about whether they’ve seen your cat.

If you’re camping, ask park rangers or camp-bound managers about predators, such as bears, mountain lions or coyotes and take precautions.

Secure Kitty in a crate when you’re driving.  Buckle the container into the middle of the back seat so your cat sees you (and some scenery) but is away from the loudest engine noise.  Or you can pack around the crate to hold it in place, but make sure the vents are clear.

A hard-shell case that offers room for your pet to sit up and turn around works best, and don’t forget a cozy blanket and small toy.

Stop for breaks so your cat can stretch its legs and be reassured, if necessary, with some affection and attention.

Feed at the right times.  Some cats do suffer motion sickness.  I fed Michelle after we arrived at the lodging or an hour or two before we left for the day.

Use an enclosed litter box.  (A file folder box with a lid is an inexpensive option.)

Take toys.  Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean Kitty doesn’t need to be amused or entertained.

Besides breaks while driving, consider breaks in your journey to give yourself and your cat days off.  It’s good for both of you.


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Canine Car Care

Los Angeles Times 11 Jun 2017

Image result for pics of dogs in convertibles

My dog, Piper, is a white fluff ball, a 20-pound rescue pup who prances around like a pint-sized princess and greets me with a play bow and kisses when I come home.  Imagine my surprise when my fair-haired girl locked me out of the car in the middle of the desert one recent night.  She had the cellphone, my purse and the car keys.  I had a disbelieving look on my face.

We had gotten off Interstate 8 at a rest stop outside El Centro, near the Mexican border. I walked Piper, put her back in the car and was walking to my door when I heard the electronic locks snap.  I grabbed the door handle and pulled, but it wouldn’t budge.

Piper was standing on the car key fob.  I had apparently dropped it when I lifted her into the car.

The story ends happily, thanks to a CalTrans worker who lent me his phone to call a roadside service with a locksmith.

But it scares me to think what would have happened if it had been daytime — and hot — or if someone hadn’t helped me.

The experience offers a lesson in what not to do on a road trip with your pet.

Thankfully, snafus such as this aren’t common.

You’re more likely to confront stress and carsickness when you take your pup on a road trip, said Dr. William Ridgeway, a vet at Long Beach Animal Hospital.

“Those winding roads to Big Bear can be tough on dogs that aren’t used to traveling by car,” he said.

His advice: “Take them around the block in the car.  Get them used to it.  If you take several small trips and build up, you’ll find out if your dog’s ready to go on a longer trip.  If motion sickness is a problem, there are medications similar to Dramamine for pets.” Other tips: Don’t feed your dog for a few hours before you leave, Ridgeway said, and walk your pet before you depart.

Many experts, including Ridgeway, recommend using a harness for your dog (or crating it) while traveling in the car.

“A dog is more comfortable if it’s restrained because it doesn’t get slammed into corners every time you go around a curve,” he said.

Don’t let your dog sit in the passenger seat or on your lap.  In a collision, the air bag can injure or kill your pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Assn.

Other possible problems: Small dogs may jump into the driver’s footwell, interfering with braking and acceleration; big dogs may lean across the driver, blocking the view of the highway.

Take regular breaks on the road, stopping for 15 to 30 minutes every three to four hours. Allow enough time for your pet to explore the unfamiliar territory. If possible, find a dog park or other pet-friendly attraction.

Remember your dog is wearing a fur coat. Don’t ever leave it in a parked car in the heat for even a few minutes.  Hundreds of dogs die each year in parked cars despite open windows.  Temperatures can climb 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes. Your dog could suffer heatstroke and die.

When you pack for your trip, don’t forget to pack for your fourlegged pal.  Take rabies vaccination records, if you’re crossing state lines, and other vaccination records if you plan to board it along the route (while you visit a no-dogs attraction for a day, for instance).

Carry your vet’s contact information.

Other doggy necessities: ID tags with your mobile number, pet food (you may not be able to buy the type his digestive system is familiar with), a bowl, leash, doggy pickup poop bags, medications, a favorite toy and bed or blanket for sleeping.

Apply flea medications before leaving home.

Consider the climate where you’re traveling. Some dogs don’t cope well with heat, especially short-nosed breeds.  Others can get sunburned.

Check ahead to make sure you can find good accommodations that will accept a dog.  Also consider whether you’ll have time to spend with your dog.  If not, it might be better to leave him or her at home.

Remember, most hotels won’t allow you to leave a dog in your room while you’re gone. You’ll need to take him with you or arrange for a pet sitter, whether that’s someone you hire or a family member.

Camping trips may seem ideal, but keep in mind that some national park sites don’t allow dogs; many don’t allow them on trails.  Call or check national parks websites.

Once you arrive, try to maintain a similar schedule to the one you have at home, feeding and walking your dog at consistent times.

Most of all, have a good time.  And keep track of your key fob.

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Pet Travel Made Easy

When it comes to pet travel, GoPetFriendly.com is heads and tails above the rest. We’ve got it all … from pet friendly hotels and campgrounds, to beaches and off-leash parks where your dog can run, to veterinarians and pet supply stores – even restaurants and wineries where your pooch is welcome to join you!  Everything you’ll want or need while you’re traveling across the US and Canada is here, all in one place.

But, sniffing out more than 60,000 pet friendly locations wasn’t good enough – we had to make them easy for you to find, so we created the Road Trip Planner that will map your trip and locate all the pet friendly places along the way.

And that still wasn’t enough!  We know how important it is to have all the information at your fingertips, so we collected nearly 30,000 consistent, detailed pet polices from the hotels and campgrounds on our site.  Find out about additional pet fees, weight or breed restrictions, and available pet amenities before you book!  Read More

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Canine Car Sickness


For some dogs, the car feels like a second home.  Not only do they delight in going for rides, they love just hanging out in their car any chance they get.  This is not the case for dogs who experience motion sickness.  These poor pups dread car travel regardless of the destination.

Vomiting is, of course, the tell-tale sign of motion sickness.  More subtle evidence that your best buddy is feeling queasy may include lip licking, heavy drooling, anxiety, and/or subdued behavior.

Car sickness or motion sickness is super common amongst puppies, and may be associated with immaturity of the inner ear apparatus that regulates equilibrium and balance.  While many dogs outgrow this problem, others continue to experience motion sickness throughout their lives.  For some, this may become a conditioned response- the dog learns to associate car travel with nausea.

Although motion sickness does not have any long-lasting health consequences, it is certainly a major drag for the poor dog and the poor human who must clean up the mess. If your dog experiences motion sickness I encourage you to take advantage of the following suggestions with hopes that your car rides together will become far more peaceful and enjoyable.

Tips for decreasing your dog’s motion sickness

– Allow your dog to spend good quality time in your car with the engine turned off.  Spend these driveway moments with a peaceful, calm mindset and provide lots of positive reinforcement.

– Graduate from the step above to sitting in a parked car with the engine running and lots of positive reinforcement.  Next comes very short road trips- no more than a trip around the block.  Gradually build up car travel time, ideally winding up at destinations your dog considers desirable.

– Travel when your dog has an empty stomach (no food for 4-6 hours). This means skipping a meal or timing your travel according to your dog’s feeding schedule.

– While driving, confine your dog using a crate or a seat belt setup designed specifically for dogs.  Less movement will lessen the likelihood of nausea.  It is thought that facing forward may help prevent motion sickness.  If using a crate, cover it in a fashion that prevents your dog from looking out other than in a forward direction.

– Try a different car.  Here I am giving you a reason to go out and buy that new car you’ve had your eye on!  Can you imagine the auto dealer’s reaction to taking your car sick dog going along on test rides?  In all seriousness, if you do have access to more than one vehicle, see if one produces a more favorable response for your dog than the other.  I can attest to the fact that I am much more prone to motion sickness in some cars than in others.

– Keep the car cool by cracking windows and/or using air conditioning.  I am not an advocate of allowing your dog to travel with head hanging out the window.  There is too much potential for bodily harm, particularly those precious corneas.

– Ask your veterinarian for a prescription for Cerenia (maropitant citrate), a drug that was developed specifically for the prevention of motion sickness in dogs.  It is safe and effective and doesn’t cause drowsiness.  Cerenia comes in a tablet form that is administered orally once daily.  It works best when given two hours prior to travel.

– Over the counter medications developed for people with motion sickness are not as effective for dogs as is Cerenia.  Additionally, most cause significant drowsiness.  Do not use these products without first checking in with your veterinarian.

– Ginger may reduce motion sickness for some dogs.  Some people believe that feeding a ginger snap or two to their dog before travel does the trick.

 Aromatherapy with lavender has been shown to significantly reduce car ride-induced anxiety in dogs.  While not proven to lessen canine motion sickness (to my knowledge, this has not been studied), the reduction in anxiety may prove beneficial.  Unless you detest the smell of lavender, this is certainly worth a try.

Source:  Dr. Nancy Kay

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Taking time to stop and sniff the roses is what travel’s all about—regardless of our age.

two dogs standing in field of flowers

Guest blog by Paris Permenter and John Bigley of DogTipper

Is Adopt a Senior Pet Month inspiring you to adopt a senior dog?  If so—or if your dog is reaching senior status—you’ll find that many dogs enjoy spending their retirement years just like we humans do: on the road!

We enjoy traveling with our rescue dogs, Irie and Tiki, now six years old, and intend to continue traveling with them as they mature.  Healthy senior dogs can enjoy an active lifestyle that includes exploring new destinations.

Regardless of your dog’s age, you’ll want to do plenty of planning to keep your dog comfortable and safe.  Preparations we always take include:

  • Bringing the comforts of home.  A cushioned dog bed is especially important for older dogs to keep pressure off of joints as they ride.
  • Packing for success.  Tummy troubles are no fun on the road.  We help avoid stomach stress by packing our dogs’ usual food and treats.
  • Planning, not over-planning.  We plan hotel stays and attraction stops, but we don’t try to stick too closely to a timetable.  It’s important to leave plenty of time for frequent bathroom breaks, especially for seniors, and for walks to just sniff around and enjoy the new destination.
  • Preparing for problems.  We pack a list of veterinarians along our route and at our destination.  We plan for more routine issues including potty accidents.  Along with paper towels and waste bags, we carry a urine remover like Rug Doctor Urine Eliminator™.  Thanks to quick cleanups, we’ve never lost a pet deposit on a hotel stay.

Perhaps the best preparation we make is to slow down and anticipate the pleasures of traveling with our canines.  After all, taking time to stop and sniff the roses is what travel’s all about—regardless of our age.

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the publishers of the award-winning DogTipper.com.  The authors of 32 pet and travel books explored the Lone Star State with their dogs Irie and Tiki to fetch dog-friendly destinations for their latest book: DogTipper’s Texas with Dogs.  Follow Paris and John on Twitter.

Couple hanging out on the beach with their two dogs

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