Planning a Dog Days Vacation? Buckle Up, Pooch

The veterinary specialists and doctors at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists believe in a simple formula for the best possible summer vacation: More fun. Less emergency vet services.

Those warm, lazy dog days of summer are simply the best time to take a vacation in New England. With endless opportunities for outdoor fun, many families opt to take their canine companions along with them. But as healthy as it is for dogs to get out and about, leaving the safe, familiar confines of their backyard or home opens up a world of potential problems.

The veterinarians at Ocean State are ready and waiting to provide specialty pet services and emergency pet services when they’re needed, but prevention is the best medicine. According to Ann Klocke, emergency clinician at OSVS, there are three primary areas where pet-owners can run into trouble:.

1. In the Car

Keep fresh water and a bowl available. Every time you stop, go ahead and fill it up. While you’re sipping on a drink throughout your drive, your dog is panting its way to dehydration.

Don’t leave pets in the car when it’s hot for more than a couple minutes — even with the windows cracked. Cars act as greenhouses, and can become dangerously hot for pets in a very short time. ‘Short-nosed’ breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and puggles are especially at risk of airway collapse.

2. On Airplanes

Most airlines make flying with pets fairly painless, but many require a health certificate filled out by a veterinarian to be submitted ahead of time. An easy way to ruin a vacation is to find out your pet can’t fly at the check-in desk.

Similarly, different states have different requirements for flying in with pets. And if you take your pet internationally, many countries require the animal to stay in quarantine for a period of time to avoid disease transmission. Check ahead of time.

3. In Their Heads

If the pets aren’t used to spending much time in the car, traveling can cause significant anxiety, which can lead to other dangerous situations (as well as make the pets difficult to handle).

“Practice” traveling with your pets before heading off on a long drive or flight. Make sure that they’re used to life on the road, and get a sense of whether or not they’re easily agitated or made nauseous by the movement.

Keeping your dogs in a crate is a great way to recreate a familiar environment for them, which both soothes their anxiety and provide an extra bit of attention in the event of an accident.

A range of medicines are available for both pet anxiety and car sickness, including Benadryl, Acepromazine, Xanax, Prozac, Clomicalm. Pet owners should plan ahead and consult with their veterinarian if they consider this route.

About Ocean State Veterinary Specialists

A leader in Southern New England specialty pet services, OSVS provides an unmatched range of emergency pet care service and other services, including internal medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, critical care, oncology, radiology, and exotic animal medicine. From its state-of-the-art headquarters in Rhode Island, the specialists care for pets from across the region, including Massachusetts and Connecticut.  For more information, please visit