Healthy Holidays with your PetsDr. Katrina Warren

A family holiday can be great fun when your pets are invited too, but careful preparation is important to ensure the whole family has a safe and healthy time.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when travelling with their dog is not researching whether or not paralysis ticks are prevalent in the area they are going to. This often happens when people live in a tick-free area and travel to a coastal destinations for their holiday.

I recommend you phone the local vet at your holiday destination and ask if paralysis ticks are prevalent in the area. Paralysis ticks are deadly and you need to start long-lasting preventative treatment at least two weeks prior to departing for your holiday. Think about the activities your pet may be involved in while you are away, as that will help you work out the best treatment option with help from your vet. You should also make sure that you check your pet for ticks thoroughly every day while you are away. Nothing ruins a holiday quicker than a sick member of the family or worse still, the need to head home early!

Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations and worming are up to date before you leave home and always assume that your new environment may harbour fleas. Fleas can be a problem throughout Australia, so just because you have fleas under control in your own home, doesn’t mean they will not be a problem at your holiday destination.  Make sure you use a flea preventative treatment – your vet can provide the best advice on the most appropriate option, and take your dog or cat’s own clean bedding for them to sleep on.

Healthy Holidays With Your Pets

Pets often run away when they are taken to a new environment, so be careful! Make sure you have an ID tag with a contact number of where you are staying. Your home phone number is no good when you are not there and mobile reception can be poor in remote areas. When you arrive at your destination keep your pet confined indoors. With dogs, be sure to keep them on a leash for the first few days whenever outdoors.

Dr Katrina Holiday with Pets

For humans, trying new foods we don’t eat at home can be a highlight of the holiday experience, But, for our four-legged friends, a sudden change of diet can cause tummy upsets, so be sure to pack your pet’s regular food as you can never rely on being able to buy it at your holiday destination.

Finally, don’t attempt to travel with your dog if he or she is not well- socialised or does not have basic obedience training – you don’t want your dog to damage property or upset neighbours by barking all night!

Most cats do not enjoy travel and removing a cat form the security of its home may cause a lot of stress and anxiety. I have met a few outgoing cats over the years that are not phased by loud noises, car travel and change of environment – but these are the only cats I recommend taking on holidays, otherwise it will be one big upset for all concerned.

I don’t recommend you ever let a cat outside in a new environment unless on a lead. Cats can frighten very easily and run off in a panic and get lost.

Where’s your favourite place to take your pet on holidays?



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