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Summer Travel with Pets
Don't Be Goofy When Traveling To Disneyland With Your Pet
By Maria Pavlik
Imagine sitting in a car on a warm
summer's day. The window is rolled
down slightly and cool water is
within easy reach. You have been
waiting for your driver to return for
a mere five minutes. You believe
that all is well ... yet you feel
strangely more uncomfortable as
each second passes. It is as if a
thick blanket is about to cover your
face. It is becoming harder to breathe in the still and stagnant air.
People who travel with their pets usually are not aware of how
suffocating a vehicle can become after the engine is shut down ... even
on days that are not particularly warm. You most likely would be as
surprised as I was when I experienced these conditions for myself. I
found the situation unbearable in minutes, even without the added
burden of the fur coat that my pet wears.
It was not a lack of caring, but lack of knowledge, that led to the sad,
true story of a family that drove to Disneyland with their new pet. They
were confident that it would be safe to leave their adorable German
Shepherd puppy in the car with plenty of water and the windows
slightly rolled down. When they came back in over an hour, they were
horrified to find that the animal had died.
Each year, countless animals suffer or die from heatstroke. Sitting in a
hot car is the most common way pets experience heatstroke.
Temperatures in a parked car can quickly rise to above 100 degrees.
Unlike humans, dogs do not cool off through perspiration; their panting
mechanism does little to overcome excessive heat conditions.
Labored breathing, warm dry skin, anxious behavior and salivation are
early symptoms of heatstroke. In a progressive situation, the animal
has a glazed look and is unresponsive to stimulation. The tongue and
gums become bright red and the animal's heartbeat increases.
Should you discover an animal suffering from heatstroke, you can
provide immediate emergency care. If possible, place him (or her) in a
bathtub of cool, not cold, water. As an alternative, the animal can be
hosed down or wrapped in cool damp towels. If the pet is responsive,
water should be offered to drink. Once cooled down, he should be
taken to the nearest vet; intravenous fluid therapy is generally
It might be wise to leave your pet at home with a trusted friend or at a
kennel, particularly if your dog jumps on people, barks at strange
sounds or doesn't obey commands. However, if you do bring your pet
on your vacation, advance planning is necessary when traveling by
motor home or by car.
You pet must be current on all vaccinations, including Rabies. You can
get proof of vaccinations from your vet who can also give added
information about the requirements for traveling to your particular
A collar and leash with identification tags is necessary. Tags should
have addresses and phone numbers of a friend near home and your
veterinarian. A second collar with an additional set of information is a
good idea in case the original is lost. You should also carry a current
photo of your dog should he get lost.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of medication that your pet
may be taking and bring along a copy of the prescription. Keep in mind
it is probably easier to purchase your pet's food before you start
traveling, particularly if he is on a prescription diet.
A well-ventilated travel crate could also come in handy at some point in
the vacation. It's also important to keep your dog leashed when
outdoors. He will be tempted to explore new surroundings and,
depending on the area, he could be exposed to fleas and ticks, insect
stings or even snakebite.
You will find that some motels and campsites welcome pets; many
more do not. Those that do make room for pets have limited space and
are often booked. Make reservations early and c heck your local
Automobile Association for current listings of accommodations that
Most importantly, remember that it is never cool to travel with a hot
Maria Pavlik is a White Rock, BC, writer who is interested in animal
issues. You can read more of her articles at: