Archive for the ‘travel’ Category
I love July 4th – and everything it represents – freedom and independence as well as summer fun, joy and carefree sunny days. However, as a pet parent, I dread this holiday more than any other. My dogs are terrified of thunder and lightning and - especially
fireworks -which seem to occur in our neighborhood every year in greater numbers and with increasing frequency and intensity- not only on the Fourth of July but also during the days preceding and following the holiday.
The gunshots fired in the air, the sound of the fireworks going off – scare my dogs so much that they shake, shiver and become disoriented or destructive. They simply do not know how to respond to the cacophony of scary, inexplicable loud noises and displays of light. Their instinct is to either seek protection at home or to run away. Animal shelters across the country are accustomed to receiving “July 4th” dogs – who, in the frenzy and commotion of the holiday have run away or escaped.
My husband and I have learned through the years to keep them safe, calm and indoors and soothingly accompanied by a non-violent, easy to listen to program on television or classical music on the radio. We never take our dogs to see firework displays as they become very nervous, anxious and fearful.
To keep your pet safe on the 4th of July:
1). Do not take your pets to fireworks displays. The noise and commotion can be frightening and intimidating for them.
2). Do not leave your pets in your backyard or outside during fireworks displays that are audible or visible from where you live. Do not ever leave them outside unattended if they are within hearing range of fireworks.
3). Keep your pets safe, secure and comfortable in a room or place they really like and to which they are accustomed.
4). Keep the TV or radio on for them.
5). Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification tags so that if they do, by chance, get out, they are easily returned.
6). If you know your pet has anxiety or is disturbed by loud noises like thunder, talk to your veterinarian in advance of the 4th of July to see if there are medications available to help your pet through survive the holiday calmly and safely.
7). Never use fireworks around pets. Do not leave matches or candles around them either. Your pet could easily knock them over and start a fire.
8). Never leave your pet unattended in a car during a fireworks ceremony as he can get extremely frightened, overheated, agitated and/or destructive and even find a way to escape from the vehicle.
9). Don’t leave alcoholic beverages where your pets can get them or to them.
10). Maintain your pet’s normal diet on the holiday weekend. Do not give him any rich foods, cookies or cakes or barbecued foods that have fat or bones (i.e. ribs or chicken) that could upset his stomach.
11). Keep your pet out of the heat during the day as well as the nighttime.
12). Keep your pet cool, safe, calm and comfortable.
Enjoy and celebrate the holiday! Don’t neglect or forget about your furry friend’s physical and emotional health and well being!
Dr. Diane Pomerance
Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a visit to the lake, ocean or local watering hole. Whether you enjoy fishing, sailing, jet skiing, canoeing or simply swimming, the water promises a refreshing and fun-filled experience during the hot summer months.
Your dog may enjoy cooling off along with you. To assure that he remains safe, happy and healthy in and around the water, keep in mind the following suggestions:
1). Purchase a life jacket (pet flotation vest) for your dog. These are sold at most large pet product stores. Some dogs are natural swimmers; others are not and can quickly get into trouble in the water. The life vest may give him extra time by keeping him afloat if he actually needs to be rescued.
2). If your dog does not like the water, don’t force him to go in with you.
3). Familiarize yourself with the lake or ocean to determine if there are sharp or jagged rocks that could hurt his paws or if there are strong undercurrents that can pull your dog out to high or dangerous waters. At a pond or lake, check to see if the banks have a gradual incline so that your dog can easily get out of the water.
4). Teach and reinforce basic obedience commands – especially “come”.
5). Keep a close eye on him, and don’t let him too far in or away from you.
6). NEVER leave him unattended!
7). Always carry fresh drinking water for your dog, and teach him to drink out of a water bottle so that you don’t need to carry a water bowl with you all the time. Drinking water from a stagnant pond or lake can cause many different kinds of ailments including parasites, Giardia, and bacteria.
8). Pond or lake water with algae, fertilizer/pesticide residue or parasites, if ingested can cause vomiting, diarrhea and make your dog very ill.
9). Don’t let your dog swim for too long a period so that he becomes over fatigued.
10). Don’t let your dog swim in water that is too cold; this could result in hypothermia.
11). Rinse and wipe your dog dry after swimming – make sure you dry his ears off to reduce the possibility of ear infection.
12). Keep in mind that the heat of the sun around a body of water can be intense. Watch your dog for signs of sunburn and heat stroke.
Let good old-fashioned common sense guide you in and around the water. Make sure you and your pet stay, cool, safe and refreshed in the water and wherever else you go this summer!
As so many of us regard our pets as beloved family members, we look forward to spending our holiday time with them. We enjoy including them in our vacation plans. We may take road trips with them or travel with them via plane (although it may be complicated or disappointing to undertake travel by plane, train or bus with our animal companions.) Actually, Greyhound and other bus and railroad companies for the most part, do not even permit pets on board.
As I have twenty-one dogs, it is a Herculean task for my husband and me to leave home for any period of time. We may take brief business or other obligatory trips throughout the year. However, at least once a year, we recognize the need to get away from our personal and professional responsibilities and flee to a place far away from friends, family and colleagues.
We are extremely fortunate to have found a husband and wife pet sitting team who live in our home while we are away. They not only take excellent care of our dogs but also manage and maintain our house and property. They bring our mail and newspapers inside; monitor the sprinkler system; water our indoor and outdoor plants and, of course, most importantly provide our dogs with TLC. They feed, exercise and play with them. They even brush and bathe them. If they require any veterinary care while we are gone, our pet sitters take them to our vet or have one of our vets make a house call. They are a godsend and I don’t know what I would do without them. And yet, even with the confidence I have in them, I know that anything can happen, and I definitely suffer from separation anxiety – probably more so than my dogs!
Before we had twenty-one dogs and before we found our house sitters, we boarded our dogs at a boarding kennel. This can be an excellent option for someone who has only one or two pets and needs or would like to travel, but does not need the extensive home care or attention our many dogs require. My husband and I still periodically rely on an excellent boarding facility to care for some of our special needs dogs while we’re away.
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect boarding kennel for your pet:
1). Get referrals from your vet, friends and neighbors
2). Search for and research locals boarding facilities on the Internet
3). Visit the kennels that rank the highest in recommendations from clients and ask for references/reviews from clients. Does the facility belong to the AKBA (American Kennel Boarding Association)? Make sure the kennel is immaculate and well-organized and that it requires each pet staying there to have proof of veterinarian recommended immunizations, rabies vaccines, bordatella, etc.
4). When visiting the kennel, make sure it is clean, sanitary, free of offensive odors, and that the animals look well-cared for and healthy – look and listen for signs of skin irritations, coughing, sneezing or wheezing, eyes oozing, etc. that would cause potential danger or illness for your pet
5). Make sure the facility is climate controlled (air-conditioned in summer; heated in winter) and has adequate ventilation
6). Make certain your pet has an indoor/outdoor kennel enabling him to go in and out as he chooses.
7). Make sure you’re pet will receive plenty of exercise every day- find out how frequently he is walked and played with each day
8). Find out how often your pet will be fed and given fresh water each day
9). Determine the kind of food and treats you want your pet to consume daily (they should be high quality and consistent or the same as they receive at home). Find out if you can bring your pet’s food
10). If your pet is older or has special needs, make certain that his needs will be met and that medications will be administered regularly
11). Find out the credentials and experience of staff members as well as facility owners –who will actually be taking care of your pet, walking and exercising her, etc? Make a point of meeting the people that will actually be taking care of your pet
12). Is there a 24-hour emergency animal hospital nearby? Are employees trained to recognize and deal with potential health issues or emergencies?
13). Is the boarding facility monitored by nearby fire and police stations? Is the building alarmed directly to a local fire station?
14). Is the facility secure – are there adequate kennel locks and secure fencing so that your pet cannot escape?
15). Make sure that you provide the kennel with specific written instructions regarding medications and special needs. Also leave important/crucial contact information with the owner and staff, i.e. your cell phone # and home phone as well as your destination and it’s phone number, your vet’s name & number, the names and numbers of close friends, family members and neighbors who can respond to your pet’s needs in case of an emergency or crisis.
If you are planning on boarding your pet during the summer or during holidays, make reservations long in advance. Make certain your pet is current on all vaccines and is healthy and has written proof of his health status and medical history before you attempt to board him. Finding an excellent boarding kennel for your pet can provide your pet with quality care and fun and you with peace of mind.
It seems as if it were only yesterday we were immersed in the deep, dark cold dreariness of winter. Who can believe now that it’s almost Memorial Day weekend? Many of us are celebrating the warmth and beauty of spring and are anticipating taking some much-needed and well-deserved vacation time. Just the thought of “vacation” brings a smile to our face and relief to our hearts.
Although many of us would love to spend quality vacation time with our pets, we find it impractical or impossible to do so. And so…we seek ways to keep our pets safe, happy and healthy while we are away.
In my opinion, it is least stressful and most beneficial for us as pet guardians and for our animal companions to be cared for in their own familiar, comfortable surroundings by qualified, pet-loving, well-trained pet-sitters who know, love and care our pets and who will do everything in their power to ensure that our pets will be well taken care of during our absence. As literally creatures of habit, our animal companions fare best when adhering to their regular daily routines regarding diet, exercise and sleep. An experienced and reliable pet sitter can keep our pets happy and healthy while we’re away. But just how do we go about finding this magical being to be entrusted with the care of our beloved pet?
Here are some tips in ensuring that you find the “perfect” pet sitter:
1). Before attempting to find him or her, make a list of all the criteria he or she need to meet in order to meet your needs and the needs of your pet. Does he/she simply need to exercise, feed, provide fresh water and play with your pet? Are there medications required by your pet? Are there plants that need to be watered, mail and newspapers to be taken in and other household functions that need to be addressed?
2). Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues who have used pet sitters for their recommendations and referrals.
3). Consult your veterinarian and vet techs for recommendations- some of them may be pet sitters or they may have clients who use reputable pet sitters.
4). Inquire at your local animal welfare or rescue organization as to whether they know of responsible, caring, professional people who provide pet visits or pet sitting.
5). Ask employees of local pet supply stores such as PetSmart or Petco for recommendations - often they offer dog obedience and socialization classes on-site, and the trainers may themselves be available to pet sit or know of people willing and qualified to do the job.
6. Contact the NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) for referrals as well as their criteria which determine the qualifications of a potential pet sitter. The NAPPS offers a certification program for qualified prospective pet sitters.
7). Speak and meet with a prospective pet sitter and familiarize him with your animal companion as well as your home.
8). Give him ample, detailed information about his anticipated responsibilities in writing so that he can refer to them whenever necessary. Also provide him with contact information, phone numbers and addresses of your vet, friends, and neighbors who can help out if necessary.
9). Make certain he has excellent references and experience and is licensed and bonded.
10). Make certain he is able to handle a veterinary emergency or any other kind of potential emergency and is aware of the phone number and location of the nearest veterinary emergency hospital as well as your vet’s office.
When I am away from home and my canine kids, I feel a great sense of relief knowing that they are in the hands of a competent, compassionate and knowledgeable house sitter.
I am much calmer and happier knowing that I have left my babies in the comfort and familiarity of their own home in the care of someone I trust.
Diane Pomerance, Ph.D.