* Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine

May 22, 2007

Purdue veterinarian offers tips on getting pet into carrier, summer travel

Lorraine Corriveau
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Pets need to be in a carrier whenever they are in a car or plane, but some pets, especially cats, run at the sight of the carrier. A Purdue University veterinarian says there are tactics owners can try to make getting a pet into a carrier a bit easier.

"The pet carrier or pet car seat ensures the safety of the animal as well as the driver," says Lorraine Corriveau, wellness veterinarian at Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. "Owners can help their pets get comfortable with the idea by taking the carrier out of the closet a few days before departure.

"They can put the cat's food bowl in the carrier at home so that it's not just used for transport, or place some catnip in the carrier. Or they can tip the carrier on end and put in the kitty 'butt' first."

Some pets may get so worked up about getting in a carrier or traveling that they require sedative medications, but Corriveau says it's dependent on the pet. If the pet doesn't vocalize excessively, drool or salivate, vomit, defecate or urinate while traveling in the car, a sedative may not be needed.

"Sometimes a low-dose antihistamine can be enough to take the edge off many pets if the symptoms are mild, but as with any medication, owners should check with their veterinarian for advice," Corriveau says. "A physical examination and evaluation is important to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and to help choose the proper sedative."

Other tips that will make traveling with pets more fun for everyone involve a little work ahead of time. Corriveau suggests:

* Having a federally accredited veterinarian fill out a health certificate within 10 days of travel by air.

* Bringing medical/vaccination records.

* Researching pet-friendly hotels and parks.

* Bringing water and food that the pet is used to.

* Keeping on the same schedule to minimize stress.

* Updating the pet's collar with an identification tag and adding a temporary tag with a telephone number of your destination and/or a cell phone number.

* Considering a microchip implant as a means of permanent identification.

* Bringing an extra leash, preferably a slip-loop leash.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432,

Source: Lorraine Corriveau, (765) 494-1107,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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