VANCOUVER — With British Columbia now in Phase 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan, many people are planning summer trips with their pets in tow.
In an interview with CTV Morning Live Wednesday, veterinarian Karley Seagrist from the Yaletown Pet Hospital says it’s important to make travel feel as much like home as possible. Bringing dog beds, ample amounts of food and any medications they might need are important things to remember when packing, she says.
“Make sure they’re up to date on their vaccines and their flea prevention and just trying to bring some of those comfort things like favourite toys and treats to keep them entertained for the road trip,” she says.
If you haven’t travelled with your pet before, Seagrist says it can be a good idea to start off with shorter road trips before doing longer, more adventurous vacations together, to ensure your pet is comfortable.
“Getting them used to even going in to the car and coming out with lots of cookies on board before you even take off, and then when you’re ready to go, take lots of breaks,” she says.
“Let them have little walks and little water breaks, and even getting them tired before you hit the road can really help reduce anxiety if they’ve gone for a nice long walk.”
Seagrist adds that harnesses or seatbelts are a good way to keep animals safe and secure when inside a vehicle, especially if you need to brake quickly. Smaller pets can be kept in carriers, but it’s a good idea to condition them to those spaces ahead of time, she says.
Cats should be kept in carriers when travelling, and those carriers should also be safely secured.
“You don’t want to be…hitting the brakes then having that carrier take a tumble,” she says. “So making sure it’s either strapped in with the seatbelts or somewhere secure in the backseat.”
Pet owners should also be mindful that some animals can experience anxiety and nausea while travelling.
“There are some medications that your veterinarian can provide you that will help ease those things, so if in doubt, you can seek advice from your vet,” Seagrist says.
Vehicles can also get incredibly hot during the summer, she says, and it can be safer to leave pets at home when running errands, instead of bringing them with you.
To watch the full interview, click on the video at the top of this story.