Keep pets safe and comfortable with these travel tips


Make sure your veterinary clients keep these often-forgotten points in mind to ensure their next family road trip is a good one.

Whether it’s a long vacation or a weekend getaway, chances are your clients are going to take advantage of the warm weather to sneak away this summer. And if their pets are going with them, it’s important to make sure everyone’s prepared.

“People make the mistake of thinking pets love to go on trips,” says Dr. Marty Becker, a nationally known speaker, author and Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member. “But a lot of pets are just more comfortable in their territory.”

Dr. Becker reminds clients that most pets have motion sickness or get nauseated in the car, and it’s impossible to really gauge until the often irreversible first signs of nausea when they start licking their lips and salivating. “By putting pets on a preventive dose of a medication to reduce nausea before a trip, you’ll make them much better travelers,” Dr. Becker says.

But Dr. Becker isn’t just concerned about keeping pets motion-sickness-free when they travel. He also wants to ensure a safe ride-and an enjoyable one. Dr. Becker reminds clients to make sure pets are properly restrained in a pet safety harness or carrier before hitting the road. And if the pet is small enough to travel in a carrier, he advises clients to stabilize it so it lays flat on the seat. He also recommends covering the carrier with a breathable cloth to minimize sensory overload from road noise and passing traffic. To make the ride even sweeter, pet owners can play calming music specifically designed for pets’ enjoyment.

Dr. Becker reminds clients to stop frequently during the trip to let their dogs stretch their legs and relieve themselves. But consider bypassing the pet relief areas, he advises: “Don’t tempt fate and the strength of your pet’s immune system. Everything from everywhere-including parasites and disease-is deposited there.”

Instead, pull off the highway and find a clean, fresh patch of grass for pets near a school, church or park (please pick up after them). And since your clients’ pets will be stopping in unfamiliar territory along the way, make sure they keep a current picture of their pets on their cell phones and proper ID tags on the pets’ collars-just in case.

To download a handout with these travel tips and more, go to

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