As the holiday season approaches many of our clients start to ask questions about traveling with their pets. Does she need special vaccines? Should we use a sedative for the trip? Can my dog go on a plane? We understand that travel can be stressful for you and your furry companion and we're here to answer any questions you may have and make sure the experience is as smooth as possible for all involved.
Sedation / Medication
Before travelling ensure you have an adequate supply of medications for your pet to lase for the entirety of your trip - this is especially important for things like insulin and heart medications. If you are running low and will need refills, contact your vet several days before your journey.
Travel and change of routine for our pets can be an anxiety and stress inducing experience. Because of this, one of the most common questions people ask about travelling with their pet is "Can Rover have a sedative for the car/plane/train/boat/hot air balloon trip?" Discuss your concern with your veterinarian. Assuming your pet is healthy, as determined by physical exam and, often times bloodwork, use of a sedative or anxiolytic medication MAY be appropriate. Please contact your veterinarian several days prior to your departure if you feel your pet will need a sedative. This time will allow for us to schedule an appointment at a convenient time for you. Also, you will have ample time to try the sedation before traveling to ensure that it will work appropriately.
In addition to high anxiety, a large percentage of our pet population is prone to motion sickness. There are medications that we have to offer that can help reduce this.
If you will be taking your pet across state or international lines it is important to have up-to-date vaccination status, parasite screening, and a physical exam to determine overall health. Several states require pets to travel with certification of vaccination and exam - a health certificate. Additionally, if your pet will be joining you on a flight please contact the airline to find out what documentation will be required for your pet to fly. Please contact the office several weeks prior to your travel date to ensure adequate time to schedule your exam and prepare the appropriate paperwork.
International travel can require extensive documentation, additional parasite screening and vaccinations. Contact the office as soon as you know you will be travelling and we will prepare the documents required.
AGAIN, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ALERT US THAT YOU NEED A HEALTH CERTIFICATE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THESE DOCUMENTS CAN TAKE SEVERAL WEEKS TO MONTHS TO PREPARE.
Restraint and Identification
Ensure your pet is adequately restrained while travelling. For dogs, a harness with a leash is ideal for travel. An well-fitted harness will provide excellent restraint and support. Cats (and some smaller dogs) will benefit from an appropriately sized and secure carrier.
A name tag with an accurate phone number should be on your dog at all times while travelling. Also, please have proof of an updated rabies vaccine - either on your pet's collar, or travel with a copy of your vaccine records.
If your pet is microchipped (it should be) please ensure the microchip is registered to you and your contact information is up to date with the microchip company.
DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT OUR OFFICE WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT TRAVELLING WITH YOUR PET.
Our dogs and cats have a tendency to eat and chew on some silly things. Ingestion of these plants can be quite serious.
Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats.
Poinsettias - If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.
Mistletoe - Ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset.
Holly - Ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.
There's nothing quite like the sight of a well-decorated Christmas tree. If you have one in your house be aware of the following:
Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.
Electric cords- Avoid animal exposure to electric cords. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your pet chew on them.
Ribbons or tinsel can get caught up in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction.
Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.
Potpourris Pets are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal, and ocular damage. Dry potpourri generally doesn't cause those issues, but there may be problems due to foreign body and (possibly) toxic plant ingestion.
Tips on Adapting a New Pet in Your Home
So, you got a new pet for Christmas!
Puppies and kittens can be amazing members of the family and frequently they are introduced around Christmas. Older animals make fantastic pets as well and many find themselves in a new home towards the end of December.
When bringing a new pet home there are some important things to consider. - In the beginning there will be a lot of vet visits! - Puppies and kittens will need to be seen every 2-4 weeks from the ages of 8 weeks until about 16 weeks of age. This will provide check ins for appropriate developmental milestones as well as making sure the vaccine schedule is appropriate. Please remember to bring the ever-fun stool sample to visits in the beginning. - Older dogs and cats do not need to be seen as often, but will frequently require multiple visits due to common stress-related issues like diarrhea and vomiting
- If available, please provide your vet with records and as accurate a history as possible for your new furry family member. - Please bring records from the breeder, rescue group, or pet store to your first visit. This will allow the vet to decide appropriate vaccines and help to determine the overall health and wellness of your pet.
- Puppies and kittens like to eat. A LOT. - It is important that puppies and kittens get the appropriate nutrition for their age and size, especially in the beginning. - Puppies and kittens that do not eat well run the risk of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. A condition that, in our younger patients, can be dangerous and even fatal.
- Keep an extra close eye on your little ones. - Puppies and kittens like to eat things they shouldn't. This can include toys, sticks, and inappropriate food off of your table or out of the trash can. - Eating inappropriate things can result in sickness like vomiting and diarrhea, or something getting stuck in their belly which can require surgical intervention.
- Vomiting and diarrhea in puppies and kittens can be a sign of serious illness, especially in younger, unvaccinated dogs. - If your pup or kitty is ill in any way, please do not hesitate to contact your vet.
- As always, with young or old pets, if you have a question please do not hesitate to contact your vet. Many are available to discuss cases quickly over the phone, but the best approach is to schedule an appointment or be seen on an emergency basis.