Dr. Alfred J. Plechner • DrPlechner.com
Q. My family will be traveling over the holidays, and we would like to take our 4-year-old Boston Terrier, Delilah, with us. She is typically good in the car, but we are considering flying for the approximately 400-mile journey. Do you think flying would be quicker and less stressful for her than driving would be, and, if so, can you recommend any non-narcotic ways of calming her for the duration of the flight?
A. For me, a 400-mile trip during the holidays is a no-brainer—like the Marshall Tucker Band says, I’d “Take the Highway.” Flying can be more problematic for many reasons. Since most airlines require a certificate of health within 10 days of travel, if you will be gone longer than that, you may need a new one for the return trip.
While the actual travel time on a 400-mile plane trip is shorter than a car ride, you must take into account all the commotion and extra time in the airport. Sitting on the tarmac before take-off can be like the Twilight Zone, and during the holidays delays are almost guaranteed! The hustle and bustle of the airport are new experiences for most dogs and can change their normal behavior.
A car trip of that length should average around six to eight hours, pretty close to flying time when all is said and done. However, I believe Delilah will be happier riding in the family truckster, sharing holiday tunes with the family.
Either way, Delilah should receive half the amount of food and water at least an hour before travel. If she travels in the car, her potty breaks should easily coincide with the family‘s needs. Feed her a little dry food or biscuits when the family has something to eat.
As for sedation, if needed, natural is the way to go. Make sure you establish the proper dose with her vet before going on your trip. Many people do not do this ahead of time and the results can be traumatic for both the family and the pet. I recommend Rescue Remedy flower essence or antihistamines, rather than chemical or pharmaceutical tranquillizers.
And remember, if your pet has ADHD, is totally out of control, or hates leaving home, I’d find a reputable, licensed and bonded dog sitter to look after her while you’re away. Everyone will be happier!
ABOUT the Vet
In over forty years of practice and clinical research, Dr. Plechner’s greatest achievement is his discovery of hormonal imbalances, originating in the middle layer adrenal cortex, which initiate immune system irregularities that can cause a number of catastrophic diseases including; allergies, autoimmunity, cancer and AIDS, in both animals and humans. He also devised the Plechner Protocol, a hormonal replacement therapy used to correct these deadly imbalances. Dr. Plechner also formulated the recipes for Nature’s Recipes pet food, and was vitally instrumental in ending the use of vacuum chambers for euthanasia. Dr. Plechner also conceived and created Stonewood Meadows, a wildlife preserve in the Santa Monica Mountains, which offers governmental agencies an opportunity to heal and relocate captured and injured indigenous wildlife.