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BB's Nine Lives List

896 W. Laketon Ave Muskegon Mi, 49441   
(231) 759-7387

BB's Nine Lives List

BB came to live with us in January 2011. She is one of our resident mascots and greeters.  Check back frequently for her Nine Lives List. She will be imparting her veterinary wisdom to help your pet live a longer, happier, healthier life.

9 Steps To Make Traveling With Your Pet Safer

Warm weather is finally here and you are likely scheduling weekends away and family vacations. It is becoming more regular for the family pets to be included on these adventures. Consider these steps below to help keep your pets safe and your time away from home as hassle free as possible!

1. Is taking your pet the best idea? First, consider carefully if it is the best idea to include Fido. If the answer is NO, there are many suitable arrangements locally. Boarding facilities often have day care and play time options, pet sitters can come into your home or a family member may be available. If the answer is YES, then you will want to plan, plan and plan! 

2.  Make sure your pet will be welcome. Unfortunately, not all places are pet friendly. Map out your route carefully to ensure all stops, parks and facilities will welcome your pet. Look into hotels and recreational areas for specific requirements. If staying with friends or family, inform them the dog or cat will be arriving as well so appropriate accommodations can be made ahead of time!

3.   Will you be crossing state lines?  It may be necessary to have proof of health and current vaccination for your dog or cat when entering into a new state. Schedule a complete health check by your veterinarian before traveling and make sure to bring a copy of your pet's vaccinations. If traveling outside the country find out what vaccinations and health certificates your pet will need.

4. Proper identification is necessary! It is very important to make certain your pet is properly identified! ID tags should be attached to both your pet's collar and travel crate if they have one. Microchipping your dog or cat is a must! None one ever expects to lose their pet, but it does happen. Please make sure your contact information is correct and up to date as well.

5. What items are best to bring? Don't forget to pack for the pet too! Consider their favorite blanket or toy to help keep them more comfortable. Include their heartworm, flea and tick prevention plus any medications they are on with a sufficient supply for the duration of the trip. Also bring your pet's food and dishes to keep their diet consistent. Extra bottled water is a good idea if driving. Lastly, print out a list of area veterinarians, since you never know when a vet visit will be  needed.

6. Proper restraint is a must.  A well fitted harness, collar or carrier is essential to make travel not only comfortable but safe for your companion. Make sure you get your pet accustomed to the new restraint or confinement before the trip! Seat belts designed for pets are ideal for those willing to lay quietly, while restraining them if there is a sudden stop or collision. Crates are helpful for the more rambunctious ones! Pets only need room enough to stand up and turn around. Refrain from allowing your dog to hang out the window or sit on your lap. This is too dangerous for everyone!

7. Calculate additional stops during your trip. Keep in mind additional stops will be necessary for your dog. Stretching their legs and sniffing will allow some mental stimulation. If they are anxious at all, they may have the need to relieve themselves more often or have an extra lap of water. Attempt to keep their feeding schedule as close to normal as possible. Avoid too many "extra" treats. Deviating from their typical diet can cause intestinal upset and possible diarrhea.

8. Flying with your pet.  Flying with your pet can be stressful for everyone involved because it is not a common occurrence. If possible schedule direct flights! Make certain your airline provides you with the flight requirements for animals well in advance. Review them carefully for specifications on health certificates, vaccines and approved carriers to name only a few. Discuss the need for sedatives and feeding schedule with your veterinarian prior to flying.

9. See your veterinarian before traveling. It is always wise to see your vet prior to leaving. They will help you consider what else you may need to do to provide adequately for your dog or cat. A health certificate may be indicated, vaccinations should be up to date and parasite preventatives should be applied. Fleas, ticks and heartworm disease are a threat in nearly all places. Discussing your pet's behavior for the trip is also recommended. Calming products and medications can be provided for a relaxing and comfortable flight or drive. Extended time traveling for any animal can be stressful!

Remember, the most important thing for your family vacation is to have a great time! Enjoy making lots of new memories this summer!