Traveling by Car with your pet

Dog with car harness

Dog with car harness

Are you thinking of taking your dog or cat with you in the car on your next outing? Here are a few things to keep in mind. One of the first things to think about is keeping your pet safe and secure while driving. Your cat should be left inside their carrier. Your dog should either be crated or harnessed in the car. What you don’t want is your dog to become a projectile object. If you need to stop short by keeping them secure you are reducing the chance of injury to both yourself and your pet. Keeping your pet secure will prevent you from being distracted by your dog roaming around the car. What you might like to do is take your dog/cat on short “test drives” to get them (and you) use to traveling safely in the car.

We recommend that you do not feed your pets immediately prior to travel or while traveling. Even if it seems like a long time between meals. If you feed your pet 4-5 hours prior to travel they are less likely to vomit and get car sick.

We advise that your pet has a collar on with identification as well as a microchip just in case the unthinkable happens and your pet somehow gets away from you. It would also be a good idea to carry a copy of their vaccine status. If you don’t know where to find that information, please give us a call or go to your epethealth record.

Please do not forget frequent bathroom stops that allow your pet to get some exercise and stretch their legs. By releasing some energy at rest stops they will be more likely to be content resting in the car during travel. And lastly, NEVER, EVER leave your pet in the car unattended. On hot days even with a window open the car a parked car can turn into an oven.

Happy travels!

What to think about before you bring a new pet into your home

Have you been itching for a new addition to your family but not sure where to begin?  We have put together a few things you may want to consider before either adopting or purchasing a pet.  If you can adopt a pet it goes without saying that you making a difference in that animal’s life.  Keeping a pet from a shelter and unknown fate feels terrific.

However before you take home your new cute furry friend from the shelter please make sure that you are right for each other.  Is the pet that is up for adoption there because it has a behavior issues or because the previous owner is under financial distress?  If it is a behavior issue, it may require you to put in more time to “straighten things out”.  If this is something that you are unable to take the time to do, perhaps this particular pet might not be the right one for you.  The last thing we want is to take home a pet and then have to “return” him/her because it did not meet up to our expectations.  In addition if you are adopting a pet that is a bit older you may be in for some additional expenses that you were not expecting.  For example perhaps they have very bad periodontal disease that needs to be taken care of.  Easily rectifiable, but needs to be in your budget.

If you have a specific breed in mind (remember to double check breed specific genetic dispositions) then perhaps you need to think about going to a reputable breeder.  But before you do please take into consideration a few things.  Does the temperament of the pet fit in with your lifestyle.  If you have small children perhaps you may not want to get a “high strung” dog like some of the terrier breeds.  Or for instance a Border Collie was bred to herd cattle and sheep.  A Border Collie needs a huge amount of exercise/space.  Would you be able to meet their needs?  If not, then that is not the dog for you.

Do you live in a four story walkup?  Then you may want to think about what would happen if you have a larger size dog that can’t go up and down the stairs anymore?  Are you able to carry the dog up and down to do his business?

Last but not least, please do not take home a pet if you are allergy prone.  Perhaps you can spend the day with a friends’ pet prior to adopting to ascertain if you will have a reaction.  Children who are asthmatic may have a tendency to be more allergic.  Please discuss with your pediatrician prior to bringing a new pet into your home.

These are just a few of the things you need to consider beforehand.  If you have any questions please give us a call.

Dangerous Toys

Image

Just because you see a toy in your local pet supply store does not mean that it is safe for your dog! Many toys that can be dangerous for your pet yet most pet owners are unaware of the damage they can cause.

  • Sticks and chicken bones can splinter and cause choking or vomiting. They can perforate the mouth, throat or intestine. Hard bones can damage teeth; bone is harder than the enamel on the teeth. Instead, use hard, non-splintering chew toys to play fetch or to allow your pet to gnaw.
  • Soft, latex toys can be shredded by a chewing pet. If the toy includes a squeaking mechanism, the squeaker can be easily swallowed or cause choking.
  • Towels, socks, underwear and other similar clothing or materials can be swallowed by a rambunctious pet, causing intestinal obstruction.
  • Some dogs like to chew on or eat rocks-bad idea! Rocks can cause broken teeth and serious intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
  • Be careful if you offer your pet rawhide, as these can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, and some are preserved with arsenic, which is toxic to pets. Try using CET Enzymatic chews, great for chewing and keepstheir breath fresh and teeth clean.
  • String, yarn, thread, feathers and rubber bands often offer enticing play for cats, but these can be swallowed whole, possibly lodging in the intestinal tract and causing blockage. If only partially swallowed, this, too, can result in severe problems. If you ever see your kitty with string (or a similar object) caught in its mouth, NEVER try to pull it out. If the string is lodged internally, pulling it can cut the cat’s intestines, killing him. Instead, see your veterinarian immediately.
  • For birds, bells can be problematic. Most medium-sized or larger parrots can take apart a bell and choke on the clapper.

If you notice anything unusual about your pet’s behavior or health, call Steinway Court Vet right away. If a toy or part of a toy is swallowed, signs of problems (like intestinal upset or blockage) may occur within minutes or hours; other times, you may not notice anything unusual for days. The obstruction may pass through with no more signs than vomiting or diarrhea. Or it may cause blockage, in which case your pet may be constipated or not want to eat. If you even suspect that your pet has swallowed a foreign object, call us immediately. It’s also a good idea to bring with you any left over pieces of the swallowed/chewed up toy.

Used appropriately, many household and store-bought pet toys can provide hours of entertainment and exercise for your pet. It’s a good idea, however, to supervise your pet during play. Not only will this minimize the chance of accidents happening, but you’ll also be providing your pet with quality time spent with his or her favorite toy.

Fireworks and Thunder

Image

It is the Fourth of July- Fireworks abound, loud noises occurring perhaps for hours.  While we humans are oohing and aahing, too often our pets are frightened out of their wits. They’ll spend the holiday under the bed (or in the basement) cowering, shaking, drooling and seeking safety and comfort.

The best defense against Fourth of July problems is a good offense.  Please provide your pets with a safe hiding place inside your home during the holiday fireworks or a severe thunderstorm.  Dogs and cats who are comfortable in crates can find them a good place to ride out the noise, especially if the crate is put in a quiet, darkened part of the house.

The best thing would have been to have started “socializing” your pet to fireworks and thunderstorms ahead of time.  Of course, this may not be possible.  The optimal time to start would be when they are a puppy or kitten.  But don’t give up hope if your dog/cat is already an adult.  New behaviors can be learned.

One way to help your pet is to expose him or her to commercial recordings of thunderstorms or fireworks and play them at increasing volume. Play the recordings at a low volume initially while giving praise and treats.   As the volume and duration are increased during subsequent sessions, give them really tasty treats as well. Initially we suggest playing the recording for five minutes, eventually leaving it on during daily activities as “normal” background noise.

Another option for your dog is a “thunder jacket”.  It works the same way as swaddling a baby does, calming your dog.  The gentle pressure provides a calming effect.  Of course, some pets are so unhinged by noise that veterinary-prescribed tranquilizers from our office, Steinway Court Veterinarian are needed to keep them calm. Remember to call well in advance of the holiday, and give the medications as recommended — they usually work best before the rockets’ red glare begins.

How to avoid getting bitten by a dog

Believe it or not, dog bites do occur.  It  is easier than you think.  They are not necessarily from dogs that are vicious,  but rather can be from dogs that are approached when the dog is least expecting it. If your dog is frightened, not feeling well , or even in a strange situation it is possible for your dog to bite.    How can we prevent being bitten by a familiar dog?  Believe it or not the most frequent times a dog will bite is if the dogs is left with an  unattended infants or kids are playing with a dog without an adult supervision.  Both of those scenarios are easily avoided.  However, what do you do if you see a dog that you are not familiar with on the street.  Just because the dog “seems cute” do not immediately  go over and pet the dog.  The best advice is to WAIT.     WAIT is an acronym that can be used to teach children and others on how to approach a dog (from the American Academy of Pediatrics)  that is on a leash with their owner.    The W in wait stands for wait, A is for ask if you can pet dog, I is allow the  dog to sniff you.  T is for touch.  It is now OK to touch the dog.  These are great steps to teach your children to learn how to approach a dog.  It is not a good idea to assume that the dog is friendly and wants to be touched.  You need to WAIT first.  Getting bitten is easier than you think   If you see a strange dog, not on a leash do not go over to pet it.  Being cautious is prudent and safe.  The following if from the American Veterinary Medical Society brochure on dog bite prevention.

• If your own dog bit you, confine it immediately and call our veterinarian to check your dog’s vaccination records. Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s aggressive action. Your veterinarian can examine your dog to make sure it is healthy, and can help you with information or training that may prevent more bites.

• If someone else’s dog bit you, first seek medical treatment for your wound. Next, contact authorities and tell them everything you can about the dog: the owner’s name, if you know it; the color and size of the dog; where you encountered the dog; and if, where, and when you’ve seen it before. These details may help animal-control officers locate the dog. In addition, consider asking your physician if post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries, but also enhance the relationship they have with their dog.”

Steps to Prevent Dog Bites