The final part in our flying with your pet series
Traveling with your pet can be fun and exciting. However, it can also be stressful if not planned properly. Here is the final section to our series on veterinarian advice for traveling with a pet.
Pharmaceutical/nutraceutical intervention or assistance:
There are numerous anti-anxiety medications (anxiolytics) and nutraceuticals that can be considered to help mitigate the stress and anxiety that may be associated with pets who have difficulties tolerating new situations. These are especially useful in situations where your flight is booked last minute, your pet’s training has been difficult or unsuccessful, or you have a pet who is at risk of anxiety or whose medical condition can become seriously compromised during an anxious or stressful situation.
For a medical update on separation anxiety in dogs, check out this blog written by an experienced telemedicine online veterinarian:
SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS June 30, 2020 https://www.petprosupplyco.com/blogs/blog/separation-anxiety-in-dogs
Always consult with your in-person or online telemedicine veterinarian prior to administering such substances to your pet. Pharmaceuticals are typically licensed for a specific species for a specific use and require a prescription from a veterinarian. Plan on acquiring such a script well in advance for the flight. This allows you ample time to test the effects of the medication on your pet, conclude a consistent, dependable, effective, and safe dose, as well as identify any potential side effects.
If you are administering such a product to your pet for the first time, be prepared to be at home and available to monitor its effects, both good and bad. Document how long it takes for the medication to begin taking effect, how long it lasts, and what pros and cons you observe while the medication is in your pet’s system. This allows for time to tinker with the medication or replace it if the medication is ineffective or carries with it unwanted side effects.
There are effective nutraceuticals as well. Caution to using such products relates to the lack of available veterinary research (which are used to document and determine safe dose ranges, potential side effects, species differences, etc.) and possible legal regulations or lack therefore. Once again, always consult with your in-person or online telemedicine veterinarian prior to administering such substances to your pet. The same guidelines apply here as they do to pharmaceuticals; allow yourself enough time prior to your flight to tinker with the nutraceutical you and your veterinarian have elected to try on your pet for the purposes of minimizing anxiety and stress during air travel.
Homeopathic remedies that are becoming increasingly more available. Such products are merely anecdotal while others are supported by practicing veterinarians. If you have exhausted other options or seek to pursue this class of products to manage stress and anxiety in your pet during flight travel, consult with a homeopathic veterinarian in your area or online.
Lastly, the use of polypharmacy, which is the medical practice of utilizing multiple medical products simultaneously to synergistically or additively tackle one or more ailments in a patient, has become increasingly utilized in practice. Anxiety and stress are multifactorial, complex disorders. As such, these complex disorders require multimodal medical treatments to manage the patient. The above various treatment options may be used simultaneously in some cases, under the direction if your in-person or online veterinarian.
What to bring with you during flight travel:
Kennel, carrier, or crate
Items that are maintained in the enclosure during travel that are necessary or comforting to your pet
Enough medications to last the duration of the trip plus extra should travel plans change, doses be lost or spilled, changes to the dosing occur, etc.
Equipment used for your daily routines; walking outside, eliminations, sleeping, diet, parasitic preventatives (heartworm, fleas, ticks, etc.), nutraceutical supplements (joint supplements, fish oil supplements, multivitamins, etc.), and so forth
Pet identifications; collar, microchip, documentations, etc. Make sure all forms of identification are up-to-date
Required airline documentation
Required veterinary documentation and health records
Information on a veterinary telemedicine source that your trust (we recommend www.VetTriage.com)
Past human and pet medications; this may come in handy if an online televet service is utilized but pharmaceutical recommendations are not possible due to legal, temporal, geographic, financial, and other reasons. Such medications may be viable safe options to treat unexpected ailments during your traveling, as long as a veterinarian has instructed you to do so
The most common reason why flight plans with your pet become altered or cancelled is a lack of health certification. A health certificate, also known as a certificate of veterinary inspection, is to be issued within a speciifc number of days or even weeks of traveling, cannot be issued with the use of an online veterinarian at this time, and involves the following:
The signature of a federally accredited veterinarian
A pet who is determined to be free of infectious diseases by a veterinarian
Certification that a pet traveling into a different state, territory, or country satisfies all import requirements
The health certificate requires United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) endorsement
Some airlines may also require an acclimation certificate
Arriving at your destination:
Keep in mind that if you’re staying at a commercial destination, ensuring they are pet-friendly is mandatory. Not all accommodations are accepting of pets at all or restrict certain types, species, and sizes of pets. The kennel utilized during flight will come in handy to minimize any anxiety-related damage to your place of stay and minimize disruptions if others are staying in proximity to you. If there is a privacy sign that can be placed on the door or entrance, utilize it. Otherwise make sure the front desk staff make aware to any house keeping personnel that there is a pet in the room. This eliminates inadvertent animal attacks or animal escapes.
If you are staying at a personal location, make sure that the owner of that residence is also approving of your pet’s stay. If they have pets of their own, confirm that all the pets that will now be living together are going to get along.
Veterinary telemedicine from VetTriage is a fantastic source of advise if you run into an emergency with your pet from anywhere in the world. It is also a good idea to keep a few 24 hour emergency veterinary facilities in mind that are located nearby whom are able to evaluate your pet without an appointment in case of an emergency occurs.
Pets have become family. They now travel with their owners. Like any other excursion, being prepared for all possible scenarios as much as possible and as early as possible is key to minimizing or eliminating complications. We do not see 100% of the accidents we prevent.