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Furry Friday: Labor Day Travel & Pets

7-16 seren & suitcase 2

Seren helps me pack--but prefers to stay home.

Welcome (almost) to Labor Day Weekend Travel, woo-woo! What do you have planned? Will you stay at home and catch up on (ew!) work? Or take a trip to celebrate the end of summer? Maybe you’ll shuffle across the state to spend time with family. Or perhaps it’s the perfect time to make that move to a new apartment or job.

What about the fur-kids? Will you take them with you for the trip to Grandma’s cookout? Or do you plan to take them along for that last summer fling to go to the lake? Do the cats enjoy rides in the cat carrier? Are the dogs eager to hop into the car? What about plane travel? Oooooh, so many questions!


My cat Seren isn’t a fan of carriers or cars. I can only imagine what all the hurled cat-curses would mean should she be asked to take a plane trip. I really cannot recommend taking any pet on board a plane as “baggage” these days. The scary stories abound of pets lost or injured at airlines when carriers are damaged or the cat or dog escapes. The most recent one chronicles Jack the cat lost at JFK baggage center just as the airport shut down for the hurricane last weekend. The owner has hired a pet-tracking canine to find her missing cat. But this wouldn’t have happened–or the risk would have been less–had she been allowed to take the cat in the cabin as carry-on luggage. Here’s an article with details to consider and tips for traveling with your cats by plane.


Luca rides in style! (Copr. KTJacobs via Flickr)


What about car travel? My first dog threw fits, cried, and even got sick on the drive home from the breeder. And that experience probably colored his entire future expectation of car rides. The first ride in the car takes him away from the only family he’s ever known. The next several car rides end up at the veterinarian for needle pokes for puppy vaccinations and rude cold thermometers inserted in uncomfortable places.

Cats are no different and actually may be worse because cats HATE CHANGE. Most dogs enjoy a bit of adventure so you can play up the fun aspect. How did you get your pets used to riding in cars? Here are some puppy car riding tips and they’ll work for adult dogs, too. The kitty version is here, including some crate training help.


I grew up in Northern Indiana, our house was on the river and I spent countless summer days in, on, and around the river and lakes including those in Michigan. In my new home state, North Texas boasts Lake Texoma–a man-made lake/reservoir that attracts swimmers, boaters, skiers, family vacationers–and their pets. Of course we want to ensure everyone has fun around (or in) the water but this summer a new warning made the rounds. Just in time for Labor Day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned people to HAVE NO SKIN CONTACT with the water in Lake Texoma. No swimming allowed. They also warned of water spray risk if inhaled while boating. And drinking the water (can you say PETS?) also poses a risk. That’s because the drought lowered water levels while the heat encouraged the growth and bloom of blue-green algae, which releases toxins into the water.

This particular kind of blue-green algae is called cylindrospermopsis and blooms beneath the surface of the water–you won’t see mats, scum or foam associated with other blooms. Boaters and swimmers won’t know they’re in the middle of the stuff. Dogs won’t care. And the CDC warns that skin contact can cause skin irritation, inhaling water droplets can cause runny eyes and nose, sore throat, asthma-like symptoms or allergic reactions; and swallowing it can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and damage the liver, kidney and neurological systems. So check water recreation areas in your neck of the woods and keep yourself–and your pets–safe!

magic water 10

What are you doing this weekend with your pets? Magic will be playing hose-tag, while Seren catches up on some lap-sitting time. Oh and fair warning…I’m taking a (rare) day off on Monday to work on my thriller WIP so check back on Tuesday for the next blog. Have a fun and SAFE weekend!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

10 responses »

  1. In the Hurricane Cone

    Happy Labor Day! I enjoy your blog. I’ll be toasting the guys & gals that gave us the holiday weekend and watching as I am near the cone of the tropical storm’s path so we’ll get rain. Also, I’ll be watching out for any poor outdoor kitties and children to see they are okay as some scum in my neighborhood let their two dogs loose when they have a nice fenced backyard. No, the dog catcher will not help. Says his boss doesn’t want him to do anything about loose dogs.

    • Oh wow, bummer! Can you appeal to the owner of the dogs–they’re in danger of being hurt. OR they’re in danger of a lawsuit if they hurt others? *eg* Be safe there in the storm’s path.

  2. In the Hurricane Cone

    Sorry to have been negative on a holiday weekend! Thanks for the warnings about flying with our pets. We have a beloved indoor furry one and it sounds like flying would terribly traumatize him so we definitely won’t do it.

    • Hey sometimes you just have to vent, not a problem. And maybe some other readers will have additional suggestions for you. Be safe!

      • In the Hurricane Cone

        The owners of the dogs in question — ah, a long story best snipped but there was nothing more that could have been done on a holiday weekend. Mysteriously, the dogs have vanished so their owners may have thought it through. Or moved. It is a house in which people come and people go and come and on and on and on.

        It WAS rather a vent and a bit of letting everyone know that in the places that don’t have any preparation for handling problem dogs on a holiday weekend something should be taken seriously. Things don’t happen just on week days. All that would was available to do in my city was call the police and they might have fined them. Later. I am not denigrating the police. I have seen them put themselves in harm’s way dealing with dogs but in the end I think more laws are needed that serve to protect the public, probably national ones.

        We did fine in the tropical storm. Sorry that wasn’t true of everyone.

  3. Love the pics of your babies. I never flew with my Hoshi Girl…I’d just get pet sitting for the weekend or take her with us. We’re home for the weekend with Baby Girl, getting ready for a weekend of sleep!

    • Hiya Jenny! We’re doing a “stay-cation” too. Just back from a trip to Sam’s for pistachios and margarita mix. *s* Oh, and I got TWO chapters done on the fiction today, yee-haw! Gonna go chill with hubby and fur-kids. Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Pingback: Striped Bass Create Legendary Lake Texoma | Bass Fishing Tips Today

  5. Pingback: Feline Friday: Ask Amy-Why Cats Hate Cars « Amy Shojai's Blog

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