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Packing paws

Posted: June 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Americans love their pets. So much so that many can’t bear leaving the family dog or cat at home when heading out to travel. Happy Pets Veterinary Center is located at 27550 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia. For more info, call (661) 295-9972 or visit

Americans love their pets. So much so that many can’t bear  leaving the family dog or cat at home when heading out to travel.

“Now that summer is coming, probably about 20 percent of my clients vacation with their pets. They consider pets a part of the family and want to share their vacation,” said Evelyn Vega, veterinarian and owner of Valencia’s Happy Pets Veterinary Center. “I just had a client come back from a three-week vacation to Europe. She took her papillon with her.”

Whether a dog will enjoy family vacations depends upon its personality, according to Vega.

“If you have a nervous, timid dog, he or she may not do well dealing with a lot of new experiences. But if you have a happy, easygoing dog that likes to do stuff and be outdoors with the family, then, yeah, it’s great,” Vega said.

Cats are another story. Most cats would rather be at home than hit the road, but some do adapt well, Vega said.

“Usually, a cat only travels when it has to, such as for a family move, but I have one family who regularly vacations with their cat. The cat has been to Europe and right now it’s in Thailand,” she said.

Road travel and plane travel require different preparations. Here are Vega’s tips to make sure your pet enjoys the family vacations as much as you do:

Road travel
1. Bring a supply of your pet’s regular food, and plenty of it. You don’t want to worry about your pet getting an upset stomach while traveling.

2. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times.

3. Make frequent stops to go potty and stretch. With cats, take out the litter pan when stopped, and put the cat on a leash to go to the bathroom.

4. Place a screen on a car window where your pet will sit to provide shade and reduce exposure to heat and sunlight.

5. Make sure there is plenty of space for your pet to get up and lay down. Cats should be crated in a carrier large enough to accomplish this.

6. If you absolutely have to leave your pet in the car during the day, park in the shade, leave windows cracked and hurry.

Pets should not be left in a car for more than a few minutes as cars heat up to unhealthy or even fatal temperatures very quickly in the summertime. If possible, have a family member sit with the pet with the air conditioning on and take turns using the restroom or taking a break.

7. If your pet is on medication, make sure you have plenty to last the trip, as prescriptions can be hard to fill while you’re away. If necessary, refills can be called in to a veterinarian in the city you’re in by your regular vet.

8. Make lodging plans in advance to guarantee the motel or campsite is pet-friendly. Some have size, breed or weight restrictions and may charge an extra fee.

9. Bring along a proof of rabies certificate and health records.

10. If traveling to the Midwest or the South, use flea and tick control and heartworm preventative medications.


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