Going on holidays is always fun and it is even more exciting if your small friend can come along with you. There are a few things you may need to consider before setting off with your small friend.
Does the area I am travelling to have specific risks to animals that my small friend is not prepared for?
Good examples of this issue are ticks and fleas. In Canberra, due to our cold winters and dry weather, we don’t have the same tick and flea burden that is experienced in Sydney, for instance. For more information, please see our Tick & Flea Information Page. Other considerations might be to watch out for snakes at your holiday destination or to ensure your small friend is adequately protected against heartworm.
Does the place where I am staying provide a secure boundary for my small friend?
When small friends go to a new place they are very inquisitive and love to have a good look around and explore their new environment. It is important to make sure that this exploration does not lead to your small friend getting lost.
Does my small friend have a microchip and is it registered?
Collars with tags are a good first step in helping any lost small friend find their way home, but they can be removed. A microchip stays in place and provides an easy way to match up lost pets with their owners. Your microchip must be registered on a national database. You may consider updating the registered microchip information to include a contact of a relative in the area you are staying, or your contact number while you are away. At the very least be sure the mobile phone number registered is current. For more information, please see our Microchip Information Page.
Do I have suitable bedding for my small friend to sleep on and/or in?
It is a good idea to take your small friend’s normal bedding with you on holiday. The familiar smell and feel will make it easier for your small friend to sleep in a strange environment. It will also give your small friend it’s own “territory” away from home. If you intend to use a special arrangement just while you are away (eg sleeping in a crate, or on a mat), you may want to practice that at home for a week or so, to help your small friend become familiar with this before leaving for your holiday. It is a good idea to take your food and water bowls and litter trays from home. This will also help your small friend feel at ease.
Does my small friend get ‘travel sick’?
Generally, it is good practice to feed your small friend only a light meal and short drink approximately 4 hours before travelling. This way they won’t be travelling on an empty stomach but their meal should be digested before any travel sickness can hit.
If your small friend suffers from travel sickness or gets overly anxious in the car, it may be possible to prescribe medication that will make your small friend’s journey more comfortable. Please call Small Friends Veterinary Hospital on 02 6262 2233 for further information.
Have I taken adequate measures to ensure my small friend can travel safely on the journey?
Small friends must be secured in the car for their own safety, the safety of the rest of the people in your vehicle, and other vehicles on the road. Travelling without your small friend restrained can result in a fine of up to $2000!
For dogs, a car harness is ideal as it clicks into the buckle of the seatbelt. These car harnesses can be purchased from Small Friends Veterinary Hospital. For large-breed dogs, it is possible to have guards fitted to the back of station wagons and 4WD’s which will provide adequate restraint for those small friends travelling up the back. Stop every couple of hours to let your dog out for a toilet-break and to give them a drink of fresh water, and be sure to secure your dog on a lead before letting him out of the car.
Cats should be kept in a cat box, which then may be strapped in by a seatbelt for added safety. You can make your cat comfortable by putting a towel or bedding inside the cat box, and remember to make sure there is a small bowl of fresh water available. If you are travelling over long distances, you might consider using a larger cat box that will accommodate your cat, a water bowl and a small litter tray. When you arrive at your destination, make sure your cat is settled and calm before letting them out of the cat box.
We also recommended giving your small friend some exercise before departure. Taking your small friend for a nice walk before sitting in the car for an extended time can help them to settle down nicely when you are travelling. Please never leave your small friend unattended in a car. Even on mild days cars can get very hot inside, and cats and dogs are prone to overheating, and can die as a result of heat stroke.
My small friend and I are travelling interstate by plane. Do I need any special medical preparation for this?
As a general rule there is no medical preparation required for flying, but it is highly recommended that you make an appointment for your small friend to see Dr Matt before jetting off, to check for any signs of ear, nose or throat infection. These may make the pressure changes involved with the plane taking off and landing very painful for your small friend.
We are taking our small friend overseas with us. Do we require any specific vaccinations before we go?
There is a lot involved with travelling with a small friend overseas. Please see our Export Page for more information.
Do we know of a vet where we are travelling?
We would strongly advise finding the contact details of a veterinary surgery at your destination, in case you need a vet while you are away. It is best to find this before you leave, then there is no time wasted looking for a number in the case of an emergency. The website www.yellowpages.com.au is an easy way to go about this.
Wherever you are travelling with your small friend be sure to allow time on arrival to spend with them and give them lots of love and attention while you both explore the new surroundings. Make this new destination a good thing for them, so they feel safe there. With just a little planning, travelling with your small friend is great fun! Have a great trip!
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