Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Holiday Roads and Traveling with Fido

November 24, 2010

While I’m busy recovering from some back surgery, you have the good fortune of reading posts from some of my favorite doggie bloggers!  Today’s post comes from Carol Bryant and Susan Sims who blog regularly at blog.fidofriendly.com.    Please make them feel welcome by posting your wonderful comments.  Be back soon! 

Best wishes,

Dr. Nancy Kay

Marsing, ID – Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. No doubt, millions will trek to the abodes of family and friends as the holiday season approaches. Just how many are traveling with Fido this holiday season? 

PetRelocation.com released recently the results of its first annual Holiday Pet Travel Survey of more than 7,000 pet owners worldwide, finding that sixty-three percent of pet owners say they travel at least 50 miles with their pets during the holidays. 

Leave No Dog Behind® is the FIDO Friendly mantra and getting there safely is of utmost importance. In some states, seatbelts are mandatory for dogs. From a safety perspective, unrestrained pets are responsible for more than 30,000 accidents every year according to the ASPCA. 

FIDO Friendly shares a ‘Holiday Road Warrior Survival Guide’ as we take to the highways and byways for holiday gatherings with family and “fur-ends.” 

Vaccination Records
Keep a copy of all vaccination records in your doggy’s duffel bag. Should an emergency arise once you are on the road, you will have the important information you need. You will also need these records when boarding Fido for the day or overnight if you take in an excursion where your furry companion is not allowed. 

Collar and Leash
Remember that taking Fido out of the car for potty breaks must include his collar being secured and him being leashed (don’t forget the poop bags). A foreign territory brings unique smells that are oh so hard to resist, and your little darling can escape before you can say, “Sit, stay.” 

Harness

With the lives of you and Fido on the line, isn’t it important then to consider a safety harness when traveling? The back seat is the safest place for Fido to avoid air bag deployment in the event of an accident. Acclimate Fido to the harness by allowing him to wear the harness around the house for a few minutes at a time. Graduate to short car trips in the area. Work into longer trips and never scold Fido in the process. He’s getting used to it just as you are. If he could thank you for saving his life, right now he is. 

Things to look for in a good safety harness? Strong webbing such as nylon, strong stitching, allow the pet to sit and stand comfortably, and comfort combined with reliability if an accident occurs. 

Tags
Fido won’t want to get lost, so be sure that he has a current tag with an emergency phone number firmly attached to his collar or harness. Most people travel with a cell phone, making this the perfect number for your dog’s tag. 

First Aid Kit
There are a number of doggy first aid kits on the market, and if you have the time, you can even put together your own. Check out the FIDO Friendly blog for a walk-through to get you through. Some essentials to include are:

  • Tweezers to remove ticks
  • Styptic powder to stop toenail bleeding
  • Eye wash to flush wounds
  • Gauze bandage
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic moist wipes 

Food and Water
Be sure to bring along Fido’s favorite food so as not to upset his stomach. There are great roadworthy foods and treats on the market. If you will be cooking for Fido, make the food ahead of time, and pack it along with your own goodies. Your dog is used to drinking water from your hometown, and when traveling it’s a good idea to bring along as much of Fido’s drinking water as you can, and rely on bottled water as back-up. Nothing puts the damper on holiday spirits like an emergency visit to the vet. 

Seat Covers and Blankets
Holidays are supposed to be fun, and nothing says fun like four muddy paws…not! Protect your seats with covers and blankets made especially for your type of automobile. Be proactive: Always carry additional towels and wipes to clean off your rambunctious Rover when visiting with family and friends. 

Beds and Crate
Don’t leave home without Fido’s favorite blankie or bed. You don’t want him sleeping on the guest bed-or do you? Bring sheets, too, so if your furry companion is accustomed to sleeping on the furniture, he won’t leave any tell-tale signs. If Fido calls his crate his den, then bring it along for a good night sleep during your Thanksgiving trip. 

Fun Stuff
Don’t forget the toys! If Fido is a nervous Nelly when away from home, help ease his discomfort by bringing as many toys from home as you can. Familiar smells and chew toys will help calm even the most anxious pet. If Rocky is a Rachmaninoff aficionado, by all means pack his favorite CD for his and your listening pleasure. 

Double-Check Hotel Reservations
You are ready to go-but before you back the mini-van out of the driveway, call your hotel to confirm your reservation and that they are expecting Fido. Nothing says bummer like a newly implemented “no pets allowed” policy since you made your reservation. 

FIDO Friendly is the only magazine dedicated to the Travel & Lifestyle of our canine friends and according to APPA, (American Pet Products Association) spending on pets has increased from $34 billion in 2004 to $47.4 billion now, partly because people are spending more to travel with their pets. The Travel Industry Association of America says 78% of the pets taken on vacation are dogs, with cats coming in second at 15%. 

Susan Sims (Publisher), Nicholas Sveslosky (Editor in Chief), and Carol Bryant (Social Media Director and Writer/Blogger) are available for interviews on any dog-related travel topics as well as dog training advice, trends, dog news, and health/wellness/fashion issues for Fido.

For more FIDO Friendly content, subscribe to the magazine at www.fidofriendly.com and visit our blog at http://blog.fidofriendly.com.

_____________________________________________________

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller. 

Free Christmas or Chanukah gift wrap with books purchased between now and December 25th (www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html).

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Dogs That Fly

September 19, 2010

The United States Department of Transportation recently released breed-related information about dogs that have died while traveling in the cargo compartments of airplanes since May 2005. Of the 122 dogs that died, 108 were purebred. Brachycephalic breeds (ones I affectionately refer to as “smoosh faced”) such as Pugs, English Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs represented approximately half of the purebred dogs that took their last breath while in the plane.    

Credit: Dallasnews.com, Dallas Pooch Parade

You’d have a tough time finding a veterinarian who would be surprised by these results. For us, it’s a given that the vast majority of these adorable, snub-nosed dogs have some degree of upper airway obstruction because of nostrils that are too small, a windpipe that is too narrow, and/or excessive fleshy tissue in the region of the larynx (the anatomical entryway into the windpipe). When brachycephalic dogs breathe harder and faster in response to heat or stress (both may certainly be factors in the cargo compartment of an airplane) it makes sense that they are much more susceptible to heatstroke and/or respiratory compromise.    

What’s the take home point here?  One should always think long and hard about the potential pitfalls of transporting your dog to and fro via airplane. But if your heart belongs to a smoosh-faced dog, please strongly consider other options such as transport via car, renting a private jet (yeah, right!), or leaving your little sweetie at home. If flying is a must, ask your veterinarian to thoroughly assess your dog’s baseline level of respiratory compromise before you purchase your tickets and discuss ways to potentially make the flight less stressful.    

Have you ever flown with your dog? If so, please share your experiential wisdom.  

Now here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health. 

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook   

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.   

You can support your favorite rescue group.  The Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program shares a portion of the sales proceeds with approved non-profit organizations when you purchase a book via the Speaking for Spot website and designate the organization at the time of purchase.

Africa!

August 4, 2009

My husband, children, and I just returned from a sojourn in Africa, enjoying the diverse landscapes and cultures of Kenya. Africa is a dream come true for most veterinarians- my husband and I are no exceptions!  Observing the magnificence of the animals and their behaviors was every bit as amazing as we thought it would be.  Some of it was challenging for me to watch- cheetah cubs “playing” several minutes with a gazelle fawn before mama cheetah closed in for the kill; a young wildebeest with a newly broken leg sustained during the chaos of the Great Migration river crossing.  I saw enough mating lions to last me a lifetime and could have spent days rather than hours watching baboon and Vervet monkey antics.   

© Susannah Kay 2009

© Susannah Kay 2009

I expected the animals to be captivating.  What I did not expect was that the cultural aspects of the trip would “wow” me so profoundly. We had the privilege of living within a Masai community, meeting the families, learning their customs, and exchanging ideas. We thoroughly enjoyed the small island of Lamu, a Muslim community that has maintained traditional Swahili customs and lifestyle.  Lamu is devoid of cars- one travels on foot or via boat or donkey, and the mosque provides a 5:30 wake-up call to prayer every morning.  We survived the hustle and bustle, insane traffic, and congestion of Nairobi.  The peaceful tranquility of Mt. Kenya was captivating.  We visited four primary schools during our travels.  At each one the children were exceptionally well behaved and were learning sophisticated concepts in extremely primitive classrooms- often three to four children sharing one textbook, in a structure that people in my part of the world would not consider using as a barn.  They were enthralled with visitors from the “land of Barack Obama,” and many asked that we tell him, “hello” when we returned to our country.  By the way, the children were learning English in all of the schools we visited in Kenya. We visited a school for children with disabilities- a rare find in Africa where people with disabilities are often hidden from view.  Everywhere we traveled in Kenya, we were met with genuine hospitality, openness, and curiosity.  

© Susannah Kay 2009

© Susannah Kay 2009

I hope you enjoy the attached photos taken by my daughter, Susannah (www.skphotography.micksluck.com). 

© Susannah Kay 2009

© Susannah Kay 2009

 

© Susannah Kay 2009

© Susannah Kay 2009

 

© Susannah Kay 2009

© Susannah Kay 2009

Have you ever been to Kenya?  If so, I hope you will share some of your own stories!

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend a most enjoyable and safe summer!

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –