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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tips for Traveling by air with your dog

If your animal is small enough, most airlines will let you bring the dog in the cabin with you.  The dog must be in an appropriate dog travel bag that is soft and small enough to be put under the seat in front of you.  The airlines to charge a hefty fee, but you get to have your pet by your side!

Make sure your pet has clear identification on the collar, even if they are micro chipped and they must be up to date on shots! 

You want your pet to be relaxed, so plan ahead.  Have a bag of goodies like a kong stuffed with fat free turkey dogs and cheese.  A couple of small dental bones and a few normal treats.  These treats can be spaced out though out traveling to make your pet more comfortable. 

Do not give your pet too much water.  You don’t want them to have a bad accident.  When I travel with my dog she got a few slurps that morning and that was it.  On the flight I gave her ice chips from my flight drink and she was fine.  Sometimes she doesn’t even want them because she’s not moving around to get hot.  However, when she was a puppy she was a little anxious and that made her pant a little.  I gave her little sips here and there.  Then towards the end of the flight I took her to the bathroom to see if she’d go on a wee wee pad.  Of course she didn’t, but I wanted to give her the option.  When we landed I didn’t let her out till we could be outside because I knew she had to go, and sure enough she did with some encouragement.  So just use common sense with your dog and think ahead!

There are also many calming herbal remedies that are safe for dogs to take to help them calm down.  I never suggest tranquilizing a dog.  It can be dangerous and I don’t like to use any chemical drugs, but talk to your vet and always get a second opinion.

Cargo travel can be scary.  You don’t know what is happening with your dog, but sometimes we just have to fly them.  Cargo temperatures are not regulated.  Those dogs are just with the rest of the baggage.  The ASPCA even says do not fly your dog cargo.  If you must take every precaution you can with these steps.

First try to travel with a well known line that works with pets like Pet Airways or Animal Transporters-in my opinion, it’s the only safe way to fly a big dog.
  • Make sure you do your research because if it’s too hot, stuffy or cold in the cabin, your dog could get very sick, stressed and even die.
  • See the vet within 2 weeks of flying your dog cargo so that the dog is physically cleared. 
  • On the dogs collar have your information as well as the destination of the dog because dogs have gotten loose before.
  • Book a direct flight!
  • Get a crate that is approved by the USDA and must be large enough for the animal to lay down, stand and turn.  Shipping crates can be purchased from stores and air airlines.
  • Write “live animal” on the top and sides of the crate at least a couple inches tall.
  • On the top of the crate it is a good idea to have a picture of the dog, the dog’s name, your information, destination and who is picking up the dog.
  • Have arrows pointing UP to show the right side up on the crate.
  • Make sure the door is secure but not locked incase of an emergency.
  • If there is a layover bring food.
  • Give the dog treats and something to feel comfortable with like a t-shirt with your sent along with his/her bedding.
  • Tell every airline employee you talk with you are traveling with a pet cargo to help relations incase something is needed.
  • If there is a delay you can have airline personnel check on the dog and possibly remove him from the cargo hold.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dog Signs of Heat Exhaustion and What to do about it!

I took my dogs out for a walk later then usual today and noticed something significant-the heat!  Summer is here for S. California and many other places are experiencing it as well.  Without notice the weather decided to be very dry and 90 degrees.  After fifteen minutes I quickly noticed my pooches-mostly the little ones-were feeling the heat!  The small ones went back inside after another ten minutes and I walked the big ones another 20.  We usually do some running, jumping and playing, but not today!
In my line of work it is important to know when a dog has had enough.  Especially because dogs tend to push themselves more then they should.  With summer deciding to come and stay a while, it’s important to know the signs of heat exhaustion so you don’t have to deal with heat stroke!  And what to do if it happens!
Know your dog and his/her limits. Some dogs are more tolerant to the sun then others.  For instance, one of my toy mixes can jog several miles with me with an overcast outside.  As soon as the sun comes out there is no jogging and only a small amount because she tires so fast.
Know your breed-many breeds are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion so knowing your breeds tolerance level is important.  Dogs with respiratory problems and cardiovascular conditions are at more risk.  Does your dog have a short nose?  A bulldog, chow chow and pekingese are just a few of these breeds that are at greater risk due to their cute flat nose.
Dogs don’t sweat it out like we do.  Dogs only have glands on the pads of there feet and their nose, so they can’t effectively cool themselves down like we can.  They pant to cool off, but the more humidity there is, the harder it is for them to cool off.
What to look for:
  • Excessive drooling with very heavy panting
  • A flattened out, puffy tongue that hangs all the way out of his/her mouth
  • Dark red gums
  • Red or bluish tongue
  • Swaying while walking like he/she’s dizzy
  • Dog seems restless and weak
  • Dog lays down and won’t/can’t get up
  • Dog is vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Shows signs of delirium
  • Temperature of 104 degrees F
What to do!
  • Get the dog out of the sun-pick him/her up if you have to
  • See if the dog will drink water
  • Soak the dog with a hose or in the tub with cool water-IMPORTANT-do not use cold water
  • Place in front of a fan or have AC on in the car on the way to the vet
  • Place ice packs under the belly and head/neck
  • Get to a vet asap!
It is possible to get the dog too cold and too fast-so feel his skin/pay attention to his breathing.  If he starts to pant lightly and is breathing normally again, remove the ice packs immediately and still take him/her to the vet.