Preparing Pets For Holiday Boarding
By Dr. Ian Kupkee
Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
As the holidays approach, many pet parents turn their attention to travel plans. While some
lucky pets are able to tag along, many others will find themselves at pet hotels and doggie
daycare centers. And like playdates intended for their human counterparts, fur kid sleepaway
camps can be ground zero for colds and coughs.
It’s important to note that even the most rigorously cleaned facilities cannot guarantee foolproof
protection against airborne pathogens. While most facilities require their charges to be
vaccinated against the more common upper respiratory ailments, not every virus comes with an
accompanying vaccine. By ensuring your pets are up to date on vaccines before a boarding
event, your vet can rule out the most likely culprits, such as Bordatella and Canine Influenza,
and more quickly diagnose what’s giving your pet the post-vacation sniffles. Additionally, pets
who routinely take preventatives against fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites are also less likely
to come home with the opportunistic “hitchhikers” that cause illness and discomfort.
Many pets find change stressful - and stress can manifest in the form of illness. Both traveling
and boarding can be upsetting for pets, so plan ahead and try to anticipate how your pet may
respond. If your pet experiences car sickness or separation anxiety, now is the time to ask your
veterinarian if a certain degree of “chemical courage” is appropriate. There are many safe and
effective options for pets who need help coping with the changes that accompany the holiday
season. A little forward planning can help make the season festive and fun for the four-legged
members of our families.
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