Some pets love cars – others would much rather stay put for the rest of their lives, especially if the end destination is the vet.
Here are some pet travel tips – many of which have been provided by the Cybervet forum users on Health24.com.
Train them young. Cats generally don’t like cars, but puppies can be trained fairly easily to become good travellers. Play with the puppy inside the car when it is stationary. Then switch the engine on. When it is used to this, start taking the dog for short rides.
Crate them. For larger dogs, it is a good idea to crate them, especially for long journeys. This will also protect a dog in case of an accident. Many animals will feel safer inside their crate, and therefore will put up less of a performance.
Pet carriers. If an animal does not like travelling, then it is very dangerous to transport them in a car, unless they are in a proper pet carrier of some sort. A clawing cat, or a yelping puppy can easily distract the driver and cause an accident. Don’t use a cardboard box – it is too easy to escape from these. Pets that don’t like car rides, are also known to urinate and defecate in the car. If the pet is in a carrier, you can line the bottom with newspapers and a plastic sheet to prevent damage. Remember, a paste of bicarbonate of soda gets stains and smells out of car upholstery.
Pet partitions. When travelling with big dogs, it is a good idea to have part of the car partitioned, so that the driver cannot be distracted. One often sees this when owners travel with more than one large dog – especially if it is a smallish car. But never put an animal in the boot of the car. Many cars, especially older ones, could emit strong exhaust fumes into the boot.
Death traps. Cars can be very hot – a locked car in the sun can reach an inside temperature of over 50 degrees Celsius in a few minutes. Never leave animals inside a locked car in the sun. And remember, even if you park in the shade, the sun moves as the day goes on. If you have to leave an animal in the car, make sure it is inside a parking garage and that the windows are left open a few centimetres.
Window seats. A wide open window is an invitation to disaster. Some pets can be relied on not to jump through the window, but why take the chance? Most dogs like a bit of a breeze when they are inside a car, but ten centimeters will do it. Working dogs are often transported on the backs of bakkies and pickups, but they are trained and see this as part of their job.
Long distance. When driving a far way, remember that your dog needs to get out every now and then to answer the call of nature. Also make sure that you give your dog water whenever you stop.
Sedation. When travelling long distances with an animal that is not used to the car, save your sanity – and probably that of the animal – by going to the vet and getting a sedative before the journey. Remember also that you can get anti-nausea treatment if your animal gets car sick on long journeys.
Seatbelts. Seatbelts are not that restrictive, as dogs will still be able to sit up, look out of the window or lie down, whichever they choose. But, they will go a long way to protecting the dog from being injured in case of an accident. Ask your vet about where to get hold of these.
Car Sickness. Try creating your own 'stomach settler' by shaving small pieces of ginger into warm water. Let sit for 20 minutes and using a syringe give your dog 5mls orally.
Vet freakout. Make sure your animal is on a leash or inside a pet carrier when you stop at the vet. Most animals do not like this experience and if you open the door, they might just make a dash for it. Into the traffic.
How to take a dog's temperature
If you suspect your dog is sick then taking your dog's temperature is important. It is not difficult, but it is a task best performed with two people. Have someone hold the dog still, preferably someone the dog knows and likes.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the head or bulb of a rectal thermometer.
- Slowly slide the thermometer into the dog's rectum about 1 inch deep.
- Wait 2 minutes for a mercury thermometer.
Remove slowly and read the thermometer. Shake down the thermometer and clean it after every use. A dog's normal body temperature ranges between 38.1°C and 39.2°C.
A dog's temperature below (37.2°C) and temperatures above (40°C) are considered extremely serious and your dog should be brought to a veterinarian immediately.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Carsick
If you've ever had the unpleasant experience of cleaning dog vomit out of your back seat, it's quite possible that your dog has a problem with car sickness. Like humans, dogs can also experience motion sickness. Motion sickness can be caused by a number of factors, but mainly it is by movement in the inner ear.
Some of the symptoms that your dog might be carsick include disorientation, confusion, and vomiting. First and foremost, it is important your dog associates car journeys with positive and good things. To do this, you need to adapt them slowly. Stress is another major factor in car sickness, since many dogs come to associate car travel with a trip to the vet or a kennel.
Also, if a dog's been in a car accident, the trauma could hang on. For the vast majority of dogs, car sickness is related to stress rather than the motion of your car. Some say that your dog's most powerful memory is of the car journey that took it away from all it ever knew to be safe and secure, namely its litter mates and mother. So from a very young age, car journeys are often associated with bad things.
First, get your dog used to just being in the car, without it going anywhere. Everyday leave them in a well ventilated car for up to 30 minutes. Ensure they are comfortable and have a bed in which to sleep during this period. Repeat this for a week and then start to do very short journey's (5-10 minutes) with a really positive experience at the end of it - usually this would be a nice walk or a ball game in the park. At the end of the return journey, create just as much fuss and play a short game.
Gradually build up the length of the journeys up to about 30 minutes. If your dog is sick during a journey, reduce the length of the journey such that it ends before they are sick. Build the journeys up again. When your dog is able to do 30 minute journeys without stress, anxiety or sickness, you are pretty much there.
If your dog's only exposure to riding in a car is an occasional trip to the veterinarian's, don't be surprised if he's not the easiest of riders. Try to build up his passion by increasing his time in the car and praising him for his good behaviour. The first short trips should be to pleasant locations, such as parks.
Dramamine avoids car-sickness in dogs as well as people, but other medications are also available (talk to your veterinarian). A dog-show trick: Your dog should travel on little or no food and should get a jelly bean - or any other piece of sugar candy, except chocolate -before hitting the road. The sugar seems to help suppress vomiting.
Because most of the problems come from fear, not motion sickness, building up your pet's tolerance for riding in a car is a better long-term cure than anything you could give him. Also, while you're getting your dog used to travelling in the car with you without getting carsick, invest in a quality seat cover made especially for dogs. These are machine washable and will prevent your seats from being covered in vomit. It's must easier to throw a car seat cover in the wash than to clean vomit out of the cracks and crevices in your back seat!
Article by Kelly Marshall from Oh My Dog Supplies
Beware of Dangerous Foods.
Did you know that many common foods that we eat everyday are in fact extremely unsafe for your dog? Sometimes they can prove to be fatal for your four-legged companion as well. Over the years, I have come across a number of dog owners who are in the habit of sharing their table food with their dogs. Do they realise how harmful this can be? Instead of sharing your table dinner with your pet why not cook him some special nutritious lip smacking recipes, right at home.
Below are 10 items that might be favourites for us, but are harmful for your pet companion.
Onion: - Onions and Chives tend to destroy red blood cells causing anaemia, weakness and respiratory problems. Whether its raw, cooked or powdered, even a small quantity might prove to be fatal.
Garlic - Although not as harmful as Onions can be, Garlic can still prove to be injurious if taken in large amounts. Too much intake may cause destruction of red blood cells causing anemia, weakness and respiratory problems.
Grapes & Raisins -Intake of even a single piece of grape or raisin might cause kidney failure in a dog.
Avocados -Avocado contains toxic material named Persin than can harm your dog's heart, lungs and bodily tissues. Being high in fat, avocado intake might trigger of respiratory problems, severe vomiting stomach upset, indigestion and even Pancreatitis.
Tomato - Tomatoes contain tomatine, an alkaloid. Intake of tomatoes can cause weakness, lethargy, drooling, difficulty breathing, colic, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, widely-dilated pupils, paralysis, heart problems, central nervous system disorders that include seizures and tremors.
Chocolate - Milk chocolate, dark chocolate or even plain chocolate - all are equally dangerous for your dog. Intake of even a small portion of dark chocolate can prove to be fatal for your dog. Chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death.
Walnuts -Accumulated fungus or mould in walnuts are extremely dangerous. If a dog eats even a small amount of it, he might become ill and die. The visible symptoms of walnut poisoning are vomiting, trembling, drooling, lethargy, loss of appetite, blood-tinged stool or vomit and jaundice.
Fruit Seeds - Seeds present in fruits like apple, cherry, peach, plum, apricots high in cyanide content. Large intake, especially thorough chewing of these seeds may cause direct cyanide intake which is dangerous.
Given below are a shortlist of other products that are harmful for your dog:
· Apart from rice, large amount of whole grains may cause indigestion.
· Wild mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, liver damage, indigestion, diarrhea, coma, or even death.
· Raw egg whites are high in protein called Avidin that can cause hair loss, weakness, growth retardation, or skeleton deformity.
· Cooked bones can splinter and tear internal organs.
· Whole vegetables like lettuce, carrots, beans, yams as they are difficult to digest.
· High fat containing dairy products that might cause diarrhea or indigestion.
· Vets have strictly told dog owners not to feed even a small amount of nutmeg to their pets. Nutmeg is causes tremors, seizures and death in dogs.
· Caffeine stimulates the central nervous and cardiac systems, and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations, and even death within hours.
· Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle tremor and paralysis.
· Too much intake of salt, fat, ham, bacon or liver will cause disorders like kidney problems, bloating, pancreatitis, gas, indigestion, deformity of bones, weight loss and anorexia.
Preventing Nuisance Barking
A young pup that barks at people or noises etc is a good indication that you have a budding nuisance barker developing. This is a sign of a nervous pup that worries about everything. A well adjusted pup will not usually start barking until somewhere between 8 to 12 months of age.
If you have a pup that is starting to bark at everything that moves, discipline it by growling 'BAD' at the precise moment it starts. Praise it as soon as it responds.
Clapping your hands or throwing an object onto the ground near the pup, such as a can of pebbles (careful you don't hit the pup) and at the same time growling your reprimand word (BAD) should help stop any premature barking.
A puppy that persists even after your reprimand could need some socialising.
Managing Cat And Dog Relationships
Can cats and dog really get along? Do they, in fact, fight like, well, cats and dogs? The answer to both questions is yes, and no, and the outcome depends on a number of variables.
As in most issues involving pet behavior, the pet owner is responsible for integrating the animals and laying the foundation of a long and happy friendship!
The single most important factor in building peaceful relationships between cats and dogs is respecting the "space" of the pre-existing pet when introducing a new member of the family. Older pets, whether canine or feline, are territorial and resent the invasion of their space by pets of any description. It is important, then, that initially the new addition be confined to a specific area, rather than given the run of the house. This is particularly important when mixing cats and dogs! When a puppy is introduced into a household with an adult cat, the puppy should always be kept either in a separate area or crated when unattended. This protects both the cat and the puppy. The puppy's hyper-activity will either frighten or aggravate the cat. Either way, the cat's claws will come out and can do serious damage to the puppy's eyes or other exposed areas. Puppies are generally bigger than cats, who will defend themselves against any intruder. In many cases, the cat will simply disappear into the far reaches of the house. Always make sure the cat has plenty of "escape" routes and high places to perch where the puppy can't reach her.
Cats have certain ideas on the way things should be run. They set up their own hierarchy and don't like anyone trying to come in and rearrange things. When they have spent years or months as the spoiled and pampered babies, they will never easily understand your sudden need for a canine companion. So look for signs of aggression and, if necessary, keep the two separate until the dog or the cat seems adjusted. Monitor the animals as they play to ensure that they do not get out of hand. Encourage interaction, but keep an eye on both animals early on. Never leave a small kitten and dog alone together unattended.
There are however some methods you can utilise to try to make the transition a little easier on both your nerves and those of your cat. First of all, make sure that they are aware of and have seen dogs before at some point in time. Don't just surprise them by coming home with a creature have never seen or smelled before. If necessary have a friend bring over a dog who is cat friendly and let them catch a sniff or two. Stay close at hand throughout the process however to prevent the dog from walking away with major scratches. Most cats, have a parenting instinct and they will give more leniency to a pup than to an adult. A puppy will learn that the cats run the show and they usually find their place. They also learn which cats will play and those they should avoid.
Be careful also when it comes to arrangements concerning food. Dogs are especially protective of their food and eating areas. To prevent any fights perhaps consider keeping feeding spots separate and if the cat feels more secure eating at a higher level away from the puppy this may be the ideal solution as it will stop the puppy getting to the cat’s meal and the puppy getting scratched. Consider letting them share water dishes so that they can learn to interact positively. Consider also allowing the cat to sleep out of reach of the puppy as they may not appreciate a puppy pouncing on them in the middle of their nap.
The good news is that if animals are raised together, in most cases they will learn to get along and peace will reign in your household. A kitten and a puppy who at least for now are close in size and can grow up together in harmony.