Pet Meds for Traveling Guide

Pet Sedatives

­Sedatives work by putting the brain to sleep [source: Brown]. This type of medication, which includes anesthetics, is used to calm an animal or make it sleep for short periods of time (or sometimes permanently). Sedatives are used for everything from nail trimming to travel, but you should take caution when choosing one for your pet.

Testing has shown that an animal's respiration, heart rate and temperature all drop under sedation. Animals also become dehydrated [source: Amarpal], James Cargo]. This could have serious consequences: If your pet gets stuck in a hot cargo hold - or even under your seat -- without water, its health could be in jeopardy. Should your pet wake up confused and alone once the sedative wears off, the resulting panic and grogginess could be just as bad as the stress you'd hoped to avoid.

All told, traveling with your pet shouldn't be any different than traveling alone or with other family members. If you plan ahead and take necessary precautions, you should be able to share an enjoyable trip with your four-legged friend.

For more information, see the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • Amarpal, "Anesthiology." Journal of Veterinary Science. Wiley InterScience. (01/10/09)
  • Cohen, Billie. "Traveling with Charley." The New York Times. 03/21/08 (01/04/09)
  • "Companies cash in on pet travel boom." USA Today. 4/1/05 (01/03/09)
  • Donn, Jeff. "Like human meds, pet drugs spawn safety fears." USA Today. 3/10/07 (01/03/09)
  • Dunn, T.J. "Antibiotic Use and Misuse." The Pet Center. (01/10/09)
  • Guarr, Jean. "The Dog Housetraining Method that Really Works." Forrest City Area Humane Society. (01/03/09)
  • Herndon, Michael. "FDA approves Cerenia" FDA. (01/03/09)
  • "Moving: How to Move Your Pet Safely," The Humane Society of the United States. (01/03/09)
  • "Pros and Cons of Sedation for your Cat." PetPlace. (01/10/09).
  • "Puppy Prozac Promises to Ease Pet Separation Anxiety." ABC News. (01/04/09)
  • Robinson, Narda. "Feline Focus. Treating Cats Holistically." Veterinary Practice News. (01/10/09)
  • "Traveling with Your Cat." Foster and Smith. (01/10/09)
  • "Types of anesthesia, Sedatives and Tranquilizers in Animals." Pet Education. (01/10/09)
  • Vlahos, James. "Pill-Popping Pets." The New York Times. 07/13/09 (01/10/09)
  • "Travel." Dogtime. (01/10/09)
  • "Urinary Incontinence." Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. (01/03/09)
  • Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine.