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Tips to Make Traveling with Your Pet a Joy

Aug 17, 2007
There seems to be plenty of reasons not to travel with your pet. However, with an understanding of the potential hazards you can both have a great time.

Pets that spend the majority of their lives indoors do not respond well to changes in their routine, or environment. Travel presents the owner with the dilemma of leaving their beloved pet behind vs. dealing with the inevitable stress that traveling is sure to put their pet through. Dogs present the biggest dilemma.

People seldom realize that their pets often sense when it is time to travel (with or without them). They often work themselves into an intestinal frenzy days in advance. Hunting dogs, show dogs, working dogs can all experience pre-travel, travel, and performance stress.

Unfamiliar surroundings mean a wide variety of new smells and noises to be processed. These are all forms of stress and often result in diarrhea or vomiting, and sometimes both.

FOOD AND WATER: If you are unable to locate the exact same food your pet eats at home, the new food is likely to upset their GI tract. Depending on the water quality, municipalities may use different chemicals to treat it. Best to give your pet bottled water, and change it daily.

LODGINGS AND RENTAL CARS: Not everyone who travels takes great care of their pets; neither are all traveling pets healthy. Dealing with the after math of flea ridden and sickly pets is a major reason why car rental companies and hotels are reluctant to accept them.

Time lost cleaning up and deodorizing means lost rental revenue. Out of necessity, animal friendly hotels and car rental agencies could be using strong pesticides, insecticides, deodorants, and disinfectants that are also toxic to your pet. This exposure often results in diarrhea and vomiting.

PET WALK AREAS: How safe is that walk area or nearby park? Even if other pet walkers are careful to pick up after their pets, some fecal residue remains. Your pet is likely to smell it, possibly taste it and will likely step in it, getting some between its pads. Later your dog or cat will lick his paws, and could be ingesting pathogens, viruses, heartworm eggs

These areas may be over sprayed with pesticides, or not sprayed enough.

EXPOSURE: Air quality, unfamiliar noises, dramatic temperature changes, food, water, rental cars, the lodging, and the walk areas your cat or dog is breathing and walking in can all cause stress- some physical, some emotional- all are potential causes of GI upset.

PREPARATION IS THE KEY: It is almost inevitable that if you travel with your pets that their GI tracts will become upset. What is in your pet travel first aid kit?You do have one, right?

If SBOs are not yet a part of your pets daily diet, there is no time like the present to introduce them. SBOs are the missing link to optimizing GI health. Given several days in advance of travel, SBOs will prevent problems that could make your trip less enjoyable for both of you.

The good news is that if you take the proper precautions, both you, and your pet, can have a great time.
About the Author
The author of this article is Stephen Becker, a principal in Vitality Science, a company dedicated to natural alternatives to restore and maintain pet health.
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