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Be a Responsible Tourist - Pet Travel by Car

Pet Travel by Car


Some tips to consider before traveling

If your pet is not accustomed to traveling in the car, take several short trips several weeks ahead of your travel. (Be sure and use the harness, carrier or crate at this time.) Go somewhere fun like a local dog park so that your pet will associate the car with a positive experience. Note that much of the mental suffering caused when traveling by car is associated with the destination. If your pet only gets into the car when going to the vet or being groomed (let's face it, to places they do not like) it is normal that they get anxious about the car. Therefore it is very important to take them to destinations they like!

Before leaving, take them for a good walk so they can drain energy. Schedule frequent stops during the trip to allow your pet to move about, drink water and relieve themselves.

Control the temperature of the interior of the car by putting on the air conditioning. Do not roll down the windows and let your dog hang their head out of the window, as this can cause ocular or auditive problems, apart from risking them to fly against the edge of the window when you have to come to a sudden stop.

Secure you pet

Your pet should not travel unsecured in the car or curled up on your lap. They can cause a distraction which can lead to an accident. Ideally, and if the model of your car allows it, is for your pet to travel in the trunk closing it off with a net or a screen so they cannot move to the front of the car.

There are a variety of these spacers that can be purchased at pet stores. Another option is for your dog to travel in a pet carrier or kennel (for big dogs) in accordance with their size.

You can also use a safety harness for dogs. It attaches to the rear seat belt, the animal travels sitting or lying on the back seat occupying the space of one passenger. This system is cheaper and has the same function as a seat belt.

For more information, check the website of Su Seguridad, Parte de Ti of the Real Automobil Club of Spain and Royal Canin. 

Vaccines, sedatives and first aid

Depending on the country of destination, you might be required to vaccinate your pet against some diseases. Inform yourself before traveling.

In Spain there is only the civil obligation to vaccinate your pet against rabies, the rest of vaccines are only a recommendation. Be aware that the vaccine can only be given if your pet is identified by a microchip or tattoo.

Make sure to bring your pet's vaccination card and a health certificate along on your trip that has been issued by your trusted veterinarian. Do not forget sedatives, anti vomiting medicine and a first aid kit for emergencies. Also bring an updated photo of your pet in case you get separated.

Your pet should not eat anything for at least 5 hours before departure.

If your pet gets dizzy you can ask your vet to prescribe a tranquilizer for the trip. Before the trip, it is advisable that you check out vet clinics close to your holiday destination. In case of an emergency, it will be easier for you to get to a veterinary center quickly.

Summer Hazards

Most people go on vacation in summer. And the closer we get to summer, the more the temperature rises ... reaching peaks of 40 degrees at different locations inside and outside Spain. Knowing this, it is very important to prevent our pets from possible thermal imbalances. It will be our responsibility to protect them from the sun and give them enough water so they are well hydrated.

The normal body temperature of a dog is approx. 39 º C and for hairless types 40 ° C.
They regulate their temperature by panting, expelling heat through the evaporation of the saliva. They can do this resting and do not have to move. If the panting is not sufficient for proper cooling, the temperature rises about 3 ° C which puts a hazard to their health. With this rise in temperature the panting is not enough to lower the temperature. At the same time, they will need more oxygen when they start to move and the body temperature continues to rise. This process could lead to serious organ disorder and even death.

Therefore, leaving your pet in the car is never a good choice! A vehicle in the shade on an extremely hot day is like an oven at maximum temperature ... just imagine in the sun??!!

Pets on the verge of a heat stroke show the following signs: agitation, rapid breathing, dry mouth and nose, red or gray mucous membranes, rapid heart rate, slow movements and being stunned. If your pet shows these symptoms, the first thing you have to do is take them to a cool place as quickly as possible and give them something to drink.

For the temperature to drop, you also need to soak their head and the area around their ears with cool water (not ice). Once they are stable, take them to the vet for a health check and for the best treatment possible.

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