“With many people now choosing to take their pets on holiday, it is important to remember to prepare your pet so that the travel component is stress-free and a pleasant experience for them,” says Dr Gollan.
“Most importantly, your pet must have a clean bill of health before travelling. This includes ensuring their vaccinations, worming, flea and tick prevention is up to date and appropriate for the destination. It is also a good idea for elderly and very young pets to have a vet check before leaving, to ensure they can cope with the journey. If your pet is on any medications make sure you stock up and have enough for the holiday.
I’m often asked about sedation for the trip but it is usually contraindicated as it can increase the risks associated with travel. There are, however, some natural and pheromone based products that can help anxious pets and this can be discussed with your vet. Motion sickness tablets are also a good idea if your pet gets car sick.
In terms of the travel itself, the best thing to do is to get your pet acquainted with their travel quarters prior to departure. If flying buy an airline approved crate a couple of weeks before and get your pet to eat and sleep in it. If you are going on a long car journey, take your pet on a few short rides in the weeks leading up to it. This is called conditioning and helps to reduce stress on the day of travel.
On the day, it is a good idea not to feed your pet for a few hours before travelling to reduce the risk of motion sickness. They must however have access to plenty of fresh water. Try and take them for a walk before leaving to expel some energy and pack their favourite toys for them. Finally, if you’re driving with a dog remember to make regular stops to let them stretch their legs and have a toilet break!”