Friday, June 28, 2013

What to Do if Your Pet Gets Sick on Vacation

Taking the entire family on vacation can be awesome but it also takes a lot of planning.
Planning and prepping can help a lot and keep rough or scary situations within a realm of being ok. As you check to make sure you have your AAA card, phone numbers of your doctors and kid’s doctors, don’t forget your pet. Accidents can happen anywhere and it’s good to know what to do to so you’re not freaking out… too much.

  1. Schedule a pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and is up to date on vaccines. If you are planning to fly with your pet, this is imperative, as most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of your flight. If your pet does not already have a microchip, this is the time to get one.
  2. Put together a folder of important information about your pet to bring with you in case you need to visit the vet on vacation. Even better, if you can, load the pdfs or documents onto your phone too. In case you can’t get back to the paperwork, you can email/fax it to the emergency vet.
  3. Check that the microchip information is updated with the current vaccine information, the name and phone number of your home veterinarian, your pet health insurance information, and any other important information.
  4. Research your veterinary options at your destination before you leave home. Look at vets who have daytime hours, night time, and the emergency vets. The last thing you want to do is end up lost and unsure.
  5. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit for your pet as well as for yourself. Small injuries can be bandaged and cleaned up if you can’t get to the vet immediately. It also cuts down on your pet’s pain and your anxiety.
Once you get to your destination, relax and have fun. If your pet is injured or becomes ill while on vacation, you’ll be prepared and able to handle the situation with a calmer mind. Having phone numbers and information about the local vets in the place you’re staying, paperwork of your pet’s health history, and a first aid kit will empower you. It’ll keep you level-headed and your pet will thank you for it.

Thanks Petswelcome!

For more info and events, visit Pet Friendly North America!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cat Travel Tips

Most cats are stay-at-home pets, preferring the creature comforts of familiar surroundings over the excitement of new adventures. But even if your cat prefers to avoid travel, you can’t always avoid putting him in the car. Cats need to go to the veterinarian, after all, and you don’t want to avoid essential health care for your pet.
And who knows? Someday you might retire, buy an RV and make your cat a snowbird. Anything’s possible if you know the tricks to making the car comfortable for your cat.

Talk With Your Vet

Though most cats can learn to tolerate riding in a moving vehicle — and a few may actually enjoy it! — most need help getting to that stage. Just like some people, some pets get motion sickness, while anxiety is a problem for others. Some cats vomit when experiencing motion sickness. Other pets may drool excessively, with copious amounts of saliva drenching the upholstery.
Talk to your veterinarian about medications that may help with either the anxiety of travel or the stomach upset and vomiting. For some anxious pets, medication may be helpful while he becomes more comfortable in the car. For other pets, especially those with queasy stomachs, antianxiety and antivomiting medication may be needed long-term. Your veterinarian can also advise you if medication is not the best option for your cat.

Get the Right Gear

Choosing the right products — and helping your cat get accustomed to them — is a key part of your travel preparation:
Cat Carrier. A carrier is the best way to travel with a cat, and they’re relatively inexpensive in feline sizes, so don’t scrimp and stuff your cat in a pillowcase or cardboard box. Many feline behaviorists now recommend a hard-sided carrier with openings on the front and top. These carriers provide a low-stress way for cats to be removed and returned to a secure environment.
Tip: Your cat’s carrier isn’t something she should see only when going to the veterinarian. Use treats and praise to teach your cat to go into the carrier and leave it out — and open — for her to use as a safe retreat. When your cat sees her carrier as a refuge, she’ll be more comfortable in it while on the road, especially if you cover it with a towel to hide the disconcerting sight of moving scenery (or D-O-G-S in the veterinary waiting room).
Pheromone Sprays. For scaredy cats, pheromone sprays are something to consider. Talk to your veterinarian about these products.
Harness and Leash. A frightened cat can get loose in a heartbeat. Though you may not have considered putting a harness and leash on your kitty, it can be a real lifesaver if your traveling cat decides to bolt. Get your cat accustomed to the new gear in advance of the trip and be sure to have an ID tag as well as a microchip to help you get your cat back if he does escape. (It’s always a good idea to confirm that your cat’s microchip is registered and the information is current.)
Other Critical Gear. If you’re going for more than a short trip, you’ll need food and water dishes and spill-proof containers for both. Litter boxes can be handled by disposables, as long as you use your cat’s regular litter. A basic pet first-aid kit is recommended as well, and travel will be easier if you have a book of pet-friendly hotels or a tablet or smartphone app with these listings. Make sure you take any medication your pet is on, along with what you need to give the pills, such as a pill gun or pill pockets.

 Finally, to spare yourself aggravation the morning of your departure, make sure you know where to find your cat when you are ready to leave. If your kitty is likely to hide out, put your cat in a spare bedroom with food, water, a scratching post, toys and a litter box the night before you leave so your cat can’t roam too far. Once in the car be extra vigilant that your cat doesn’t get too hot. Never leave your cat in the car alone on a hot day. Even on a warm day the temperature in a car can reach dangerous levels within minutes — well over 100 degrees — even if the windows are partially open.
Despite the challenges, cats can learn to travel. Work with your veterinarian to help keep your kitty calm and prepare for any other health issues. Make sure your cat’s always secure and you’ll be on your way to new adventures.

For more info and events, visit Pet Friendly North America!

Monday, June 24, 2013

6 Signs of Dog Health

Your dog may not always tell you when she feels a little bloated, has dry skin, or feels nauseasous. It’s not always easy to read your pet’s well-being. There are signs of illness such as lethargy, excessive drooling, appetite changes, or energy level differences but we see our pets everyday and a gradual decrease isn’t easy to detect.

But, today, while your pup is happy, healthy, and wagging the tail so hard it might knock over a lamp there are signs of health that you can observe and monitor.

The Six Signs of Dog Health

  1. Body Condition: Your dog should appear healthy and not show signs of obesity or muscle loss. Your dog should have a waistline and muscle tone that you can feel.
  2. Skin, Coat, Eyes: The skin should be smooth and clean, the coat should be shiny or soft depending on the breed. Grooming removes dead fur and helps the oil travel down the fur from the skin. Your dog’s eyes should be clear and bright without any discharge or cloudiness. Red eyes, weepy eyes, or yellow/green discharge can mean an infection or injury.
  3. Mouth: The teeth and gums should be free of tartar and plaque. Healthy gums should not be too pink or puffy and very pale gums can be a sign of illness.
  4. Immune System: The immune system works on the inside but shows on the outside in a healthy, vibrant dog that has a clean coat, good muscles and endurance, and is alert and lively.
  5. Bones and Joints: Your dog should be able to move easily without pain or stiffness. Good posture, a light gait (depends on the breed), and interest in playing and romping can be signs of a healthy bone structure.
  6. Digestion: Check your dog’s digestion by looking at the stool when you clean up. The size, quality, and color can indicate good health or a digestive problem.
Remember, yearly vet checks, high quality food, and preventatives that repel fleas, ticks, and other parasites all contribute to a healthy long life for your pup!

Image from HDWallPapersFan

Thanks Petswelcome!

For more info and events, visit Pet Friendly North America!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Travel Plans with Pets in Mind

You’ll find that Fido can have just as much fun seeing the world as you can, and that it’s not nearly as stressful as you might think to bring him along!

Step 1: Pick a Place
As with any vacation, the first decision that needs to be made is where you are traveling. If Fido is going to be joining you for the journey, it’s best that you probably pick a pet-friendly destination. Finding these spots isn’t too difficult, either.
For starters, you can consider one of these 10 pet friendly vacations. While many of these places aren’t the mainstream vacation destinations you’d imagine, they just might do the trick to provide you and your pet refreshment and respite from the daily grind of everyday life. In many of these areas, pet friendly lodging accommodations are available, and there are a variety of pet friendly activities to keep Fido occupied.
If you’re opposed to traveling too far off the beaten path, one of these top 10 pet friendly U.S. cities should do the trick to provide a change of scenery not too far removed from civilization.

Step 2: Find a Place to Stay
Once you’ve got a destination picked, you next need to find a place to stay while you’re there. Stressful, right? Not so much.
If you’re traveling to any of the 10 vacation spots suggested, there are a whole slew of local pet friendly lodging areas at your fingertips.
If you’re traveling elsewhere, there’s no need to fret, either. These 10 pet friendly hotel chains, including the likes of Best Western, Embassy Suites, and Double tree, are situated in most areas across the country. Once you’ve got a location in mind, check to see if any of these hotel chains are nearby. Call ahead to confirm their pet policy, but once confirmed book a room and get excited for your upcoming trip.

Step 3: Prepare for Your Trip
Once your lodging is booked, you’ll need to start preparing your pet for your trip with essential travel supplies.
Pack necessary health certificates, medications, food, leashes, ID tags and other items your pet may need on a day-to-day basis.

Step 4: Getting There
With your destination chosen and your lodging booked, it’s now time to figure out how to get to where you want to go. And there are a couple of different options.
If you find the place you call home far away from your destination, flying is probably your best bet. Many airlines have varying pet policies, so it’s best to call ahead and find out what a specific airline’s policy is before you book a flight with them.
If you’re going to be flying, visit your vet to get the all-clear for plane travel.
If you’re close to where you’re going, driving may be a viable option. Just ensure that your pet is acquainted with the car before you head out.
You can get Fido accustomed to car travel by taking him on a few short car trips to places that are fun for him, so that the association is made between a good time and getting in the car.

Step 5: Plan Activities and Have Fun
From heading out for walks on the beach to enjoying what your destination’s local dog parks have to offer, there are a whole host of activities for you and Fido to enjoy together.
Make a dog-friendly itinerary before you leave, and remember to have fun with Fido on your trip.

For more info and events, visit Pet Friendly North America!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blue-Green Algae and Pets

Did you know that as summer approaches, visits to the animal emergency room increase? Dangers like trauma (off leash, running around outside and getting hit by a car), poisonings (spring toxins like poisonous plants, fertilizers, etc.) and heat stroke are all more prominent. But there is one danger most pet owners aren’t aware of: swimming in lakes. Next week we’ll talk about the dangers of swimming in the ocean.

While I don’t want to make you paranoid about allowing your dog to swim in a lake, I do want you to be aware of cyanobacteria dangers; I’ve seen it up and close. While visiting Madison, WI a few summers ago, I noticed what looked like blue or green iridescent paint on the surface of a lake: blue-green algae. Last year while visiting London, I saw some in the royal ponds, too.
     Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems. Blue-green algae grow and colonize into "blooms." While blue-green algae aren’t present in all bodies of water, when they are present you’ll notice a "pea soup" or blue-green color floating on the surface of the water. Because the algae float, the thick, concentrated mats can be blown by the wind close to shore, making this potentially deadly poison easily accessible to livestock, pets and people.
     Most blue-green algae blooms don’t produce dangerous toxins, but unfortunately, certain types of blue-green algae can produce toxins; specifically microcystins and anatoxins, which are poisonous to two-legged and four-legged mammals alike. It’s impossible to visibly distinguish dangerous algae from benign algae without appropriate testing. Swimming or drinking from water that’s been contaminated with blue-green algae can result in severe, acute poisoning. Even small exposures, as little as a few mouthfuls of algae-contaminated water, can potentially result in fatal poisoning.
     Clinical signs of poisoning are dependent on the toxin involved. One type results in liver failure, while the other type results in severe neurologic (central nervous system) signs.
With the blue-green algae that produce microcystins, symptoms include:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Not eating
  • Black-tarry stool
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Jaundice (yellow) gums
  • Shock
  • Death

With the blue-green algae that produce anatoxins, symptoms include:
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive (eye) tearing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Inability to walk
  • Difficulty breathing or blue gums
  • Death
Immediate veterinary intervention is needed with any type of potential poisoning, but in general, once signs of blue-green algae poisoning have developed, the prognosis is very poor. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green algae.
     With any poisoning, the sooner you seek treatment the better the prognosis. With blue-green algae, immediate veterinary attention is important. You can also call Pet Poison Helpline for assistance at  855-213-6680 .
     Better yet, keep your pet away from lake water — particularly if you notice that color. No need to be paranoid, but take a good look around at the lake shore before you and your pet romp in the water!

Thanks PetMD!

For more info and events, visit Pet Friendly North America!