Traveling with Your Dog

When my people say “car” I’m ready to go! In the past five months, I have logged over eight thousand road miles…I’ve been a dog on the go! During my travels, I’ve noticed some other dogs that don’t seem as thrilled to travel. I thought I would share a few tips for dog owners on how they can make their pooches as comfortable as my parents make me. Of course, you know, it IS all about our comfort!

The first concern is our safety. We like to ride any which way we can, but we depend on you to ensure our safety. While I personally do not travel in a crate, it is the safest means of transportation for your dog. In the event of an accident, or even a sudden maneuver, your dog will not be tossed about the car. In fact, to ensure even greater safety, buckle in the crate if at all possible.

If you cannot/do not wish to crate, then utilize a dog harness to buckle us in! My mom most often uses a harness, with ample leash to allow me access to the window, but not so much that I would be ejected from the car if an accident occurred. Leashing me in the car also ensures I cannot jump out as soon as the door is open, giving my parents time to properly leash me for an exercise and potty break.

When I am not harnessed, I am still secured. My mom attaches my leash to my collar and then runs the seat belt through the leash handle, to provide some level of protection. Again, this will help your dog from being tossed about or ejected in an accident.

The second most important concern is our comfort. I am generally afforded the entire back seat, which is covered with my seat cover, dog bed and my blanket. At first I didn’t understand the seat cover and tried to get in the car underneath of it! My parents love it because it protects the seat, but also provides a barrier between the back and front seats, which is intended to limit my desire to ride up front, but also provides a barrier, so in the event of a sudden stop I am not thrown forward.

Regardless if your dog rides in a crate or in the open car, provide a comfortable sleeping mat, maintain a nice temperature, and from time to time let us have some fresh air.

The most important aspect of our comfort is to provide us ample exercise and potty breaks! Keep us as close to our regular schedule as is possible, and pay attention to our behaviors. Travel can upset any dog’s system…when we have to go, we have to go! Let us stretch our legs, check out who has been there before us, and do our business. If we eat a little grass, know that we may be getting car sick and need more frequent breaks, fresh air, or more consistent driving on your part. (Before you travel a great distance with your dog, you may want to visit your vet for some medication to ease motion sickness.)

While exercise breaks may be the ideal time to feed us, know that some of us may not eat while traveling and that’s ok. However, do provide us ample opportunities to have water! We can quickly become dehydrated and sick. My parent’s have a great watering contraption that includes a refillable bottle that snaps into a holder which becomes a drinking bowl. Whatever you use, just make sure your dog has fresh water often.

Finally, know that we like routine. If you normally have a quiet home, don’t suddenly blare your music in the car or argue, it will unsettle us. If it’s our bedtime, help us settle in by creating a pleasant environment.

And one more thing…if you smoke in your car, please provide your dog plenty of fresh air. We were not designed to sit in a closed car trying to breath in a cloud of smoke.

Once you arrive at your destination, be patient with us as we settle in and find our place. We will find comfort more quickly if you bring our belongings in, let us know where you expect us to sleep, eat, and show us where to play and do our business.

We love to spend time with you and most of us enjoy riding…I hope you and your dog(s) have many safe travels together!

Becca

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Common Household Items Pose a Threat to Pets

The simplest approach to protecting your pet from poisoning is to behave as if you had a small child in your home. Pets, like small children, are curious and impulsive. You wouldn’t leave insecticides, rodent poison, lawn chemicals or auto fluids exposed where a child could get into them…don’t leave them exposed if you have a pet!

While mouse/rat poisons and insecticides are the most common cause of pet poisoning, there are many other substances that can be toxic, or even lethal, to your pet.

Foods to avoid

While feeding a cat or dog a “fresh diet” often consists of items we consume, i.e. beef, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, etc., care should be taken to avoid feeding directly from your diet. Dogs and cats cannot handle grease, fat, salt, or too many spices.

Additionally, avoid the following foods, as they are toxic to pets and can cause issues such as renal failure, pancreatitis, diabetes and more.

  • Grapes or raisins
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Gum, candy, ice cream, breath mints or other treats containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee, coffee grounds, tea and alcohol
  • Chicken and other splintering bones

Also, be sure to keep trash out of your pet’s reach. Bones, sharp can edges, jars, and rotting food all possess inherent dangers.

Medications

While a variety of human medications can be administered to pets, under vet supervision, accidental ingestion can make pets very ill. Again, consider your pets as you would consider small children, and keep medications tightly closed and stored in a secure area away from curious pets.

Household and Personal Products

Cleaning and bathing products, with their appealing smells, often attract the attention of pets. When using cleaning products, even when they are approved for use in households with pets, it’s always a good idea to keep pets out of the area until the product has dried and/or the scents have faded.

The following can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea and general digestive upset and should be kept from your pets:

  • Bath beads, oils, soaps, salts, and bath melts
  • Shampoo and crème rinse
  • Toothpaste
  • Body lotion and sun block

Through skin exposure, inhalation or ingestion, the following products can cause burns, digestive upset, drooling, skin irritation or burns, respiratory complications, or even seizures.

  • Bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, general disinfectants
  • Air fresheners, potpourri and liquid scents
  • Moth balls
  • Aerosol cleaning agents, such as oven cleaner

Yard & Garage Hazards

There are numerous hazards to be found in yard, gardening, automotive, and general “project” materials. Even if your pet doesn’t directly ingest any of the following materials, remember they can still be poisoned through skin absorption, or while cleaning themselves. To be safe, keep pets away from these products, as well as any surface that may have been contaminated by them, i.e. lawns, driveways, decks, etc.

  • Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol. Animals are attracted to its sweet taste. Better safe than sorry—use animal safe antifreeze in your vehicles.
  • Lawn and garden chemicals, including fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides and plant foods.
  • Paints, stains, solvents, and house and deck cleaners can cause breathing problems, chemical burns, or digestive tract problems. If you use these products, keep your pet out of the area until you’ve completed clean up and the product is dry and doesn’t emit noxious fumes.
  • De-icing salt. Salt accumulates on pets’ paws and can cause irritation or burns and can be poisonous if licked off. Either protect your pet’s paws with boots or wash and dry paws after being exposed to salt.
  • Insect and pest control products. All pesticides, traps and poisons pose lethal danger to your pets. If you must use any of these products, exercise caution! Use pet-friendly pesticides and make sure they are dry before allowing pets in the area; use the appropriate flea & tick control products for your type of pet and his size; do not allow your pet to consume wild rodents, as you don’t know what they may have ingested and your pet could be at risk for secondary poisoning. If you have a roaming animal, be aware that neighbors may have toxic products or dangerous traps where your pet could be endangered.

Miscellaneous Dangers

Again, just like children, pets are curious and spontaneous! Be diligent in making sure your home is pet-safe. Even the most innocuous items, like those listed below, can pose a severe danger to your pets.

  • Pet foods and treats can pose a health danger to your pets. Be certain to buy only top quality foods and treats made in the USA. Many rawhide and treat products are ripe with salmonella bacteria.
  • Bread ties, yarn, rubber bands, shoelaces, dental floss, and thread all pose a choking and/or intestinal blockage hazard.
  • Buttons, eyes or small parts off toys, coins, pen or small bottle tops, fishing lures, and myriad other small items are eye-catching, especially to cats, and can become lodged in a pet’s throat or intestines, causing blockage.
  • Electrical cords. Why oh why do pets love to chew electrical cords? Watch your pets, especially cats and puppies, to make sure they are not at risk of burns or electrocution by chewing on electrical cords. Keep cords hidden, covered with cord covers, or implement the use of retractable cords.
  • Holiday decorations hold special appeal for pets and pets should be supervised when around items they could ingest. As odd as it sounds, cats have even been known to chew on Christmas tree lights! This is an extremely dangerous situation, as they are at risk of ingesting glass and also exposed to the potential of electrocution.
  • Household plants. From time-to-time an animal may ingest a small amount of grass to soothe their stomach. If grass is not available, and sometime simply out of curiosity, your pet may turn to munching on your houseplants. PLEASE be aware, there are over 700 plants identified to be poisonous to pets! Most of the plants in your home are unsafe and must be kept out of reach. The Humane Society has a comprehensive list of toxic plants that can be viewed through this link: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/poisonous_plants.pdf

What to do in case of emergency

Do not take a “wait and see” approach! Immediately call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. There may be a consultation fee to use this service—be prepared to provide credit card information–but getting immediate treatment advice may make the difference in saving your pet. When calling either your vet or the ASPCA, you will be asked to provide information regarding the age, weight, species and breed of your pet; what they were exposed to or ingested; the amount of exposure or ingestion; when it occurred; symptoms and other critical information. Remain calm, listen clearly and follow instructions precisely. If instructed to proceed to an emergency animal hospital, safely bring the poison (or more appropriately, the container) or plant along for identification purposes. If you’re unable to do so, try to snap a photo with a digital camera or phone.