|Vol. 1, No. 2 | November 2004|
When they look at you with soulful eyes, their mouths watering, you feel like you are depriving your best friend of the wonderful tastes and delights that’s a part of any holiday.
But your will power to ‘just say no’ to your consummate beggar can keep that tail wagging, goofy eye making friend in your life a lot longer.
Dogs’ digestive systems can’t handle the fatty, heavy foods we love to eat. Feeding your dog scraps or ‘special treats’ of people food can cause everything from choking, bowel obstruction, vomiting even death, along with some hefty veterinary bills.
So with the holidays right around the corner be conscious of the many hazards for our dogs. From bones to chocolate here’s a list of things to watch out for:
BONES: Who hasn’t seen a cartoon of a dog just loving a big old bone to chew on. Well it’s false advertising people. Bones are actually dangerous for dogs because they splinter easily. Instead of giving your dog a bone as a treat, try a NYLABONE. These are great and safe chew toys ( many dogs need to chew to burn off tension and stress) and they come in different flavors!
CHOCOLATE: Don’t even think “oh just one piece”! Even the smallest amount of chocolate can cause your dog sever stomach pain, or even death. Stay away from all chocolates. For a tasty treat see the “Check It Out” box.
SCRAPS: Fat, turkey, animal skin, ham, roasts, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie; it’s all too rich for your dog’s digestive and intestinal tracts. It’s no treat if it’s going to cause pain coming back out.
NO ALCOHOL: Not that you would ever do this to your faithful friend who depends and relies on you; but your crazy uncle may think it’s funny, or a glass left at the right height and your curious pooch can take a swig. Alcohol is toxic in a dog’s system.
WRAPPERS, TIN FOIL, PLASTIC WRAP: Make sure the garbage is in a place that your dog can’t get into. And remember, if your dog has disappeared and it’s ‘too quiet’, go check to see what’s going on. A long absence and unusual quiet means someone is probably into something.
JUST A LITTLE WON'T HURT: Be sure your guests and visiting family are aware of your rules for your dog and that you have these rules for protection not deprivation. Request that no one feed the dog and explain why. Give your visitors a few approved treats to slip your dog if you want them to interact with your dog in that way. See CHECK IT OUT for some options.
MASKS: Dogs really hate it when they can’t see a persons face and eyes. Dogs rely on body language and cues we give with our facial expressions and our eyes to determine safety, threats, and the intent to do harm. If they can’t see our eyes and our face it creates an uneasy situation that can cause your dog to move into overprotective mode. Also, the constant ringing of the doorbell by Halloween trick or treaters can cause fear and hyperactivity for your dog. On Halloween find a safe quiet place for your dog to hang out until the ghouls and goblins have retried for the night.
Some examples of praise and rewards:
- Food treats
Ignoring – for example if your dog is playing in the wrong place or at wrong time, ignore him and do not encourage the behavior in any way, even the slightest touch or acknowledgement will send the wrong signal.
No or Don’t – this should be said in a firm and commanding voice and if necessary followed by a leash correction.
Leash Corrections: A quick, yet firm yank on the leash during an inappropriate behavior will send a signal, the goal is not to cause harm, but grab his attention.
After your dog stops,
use praise to reward him, for example if your dog is sniffing your guests
inappropriately, use a firm “NO” or “DON’T”
and as soon as he stops you can say “Good Dog” or give a
food treat or toy.
Whether a short car trip to grandma’s house or an international flight, more and more companies, hotels and businesses are catering to dogs and dog lovers. And with more relaxed quarantine rules between the United States and Europe, a transcontinental journey is easier than ever before. One airline even offers a frequent flyer program for pets; Virgin Atlantic airlines, with flights to Europe, will introduce a pet travel program in January of 2005 complete with a pet passport, flight kit and frequent flyer program with points good for travel, pet items, or a gift to the charity of your choice.
PetsWelcome.com and other similar websites offer listings of hotels that will accommodate you your and loved one, some even have special vacations for dogs and their owners.
TIPS FOR A SAFE AND SMOOTH JOURNEY
Here are some general tips whether by land, air or sea followed by some more specific guidelines for each type of travel.
- Always have your pet's leash and collar along with waste bags easily accessible.
- Withhold food and water (for up to 12 hours) before long trips when no appropriate toileting area will be available.
- Pack some “puppy pads” used as portable toileting areas in case of an emergency
- Bring (or make sure you can get) a supply of your dog’s regular food….suddenly changing foods often times causes indigestion and messy accidents.
- Identification tags including your dog's name, home address and phone number, are essential. Also recent pictures of your dog just in case he gets lost. (Click here for some fun, unique id tag ideas)
- If traveling using a kennel or carrier, familiarize your dog with them prior to the trip, use toys and treats so your dog feels the kennel/carrier is a safe and comfortable place.
- Make your pet official – International Travel, certain travel regulations exist for U.S. pets traveling to Britain or to countries within the European Union including vaccination requirements, microchiping and more. For more information on countries participating in the Pet Travel Scheme, known as PETS, and the relevant regulations please visit: www.defra.gov.uk
Many airlines will take dogs on board, and depending on your dog’s size and the trip length, some will allow you take your dog into the passenger cabin with you! Read on for some specific tips for each type of travel, but first here are some general air travel tips.
Always check with your airline prior to travel and make advanced reservations or arrangements for you dog. Space and reservations are on a first come, first served basis and the airline always reserves the right to refuse travel if there are too many pets on board, so make sure you advise them early. While tranquilizers are to be used sparingly and only when necessary, it is a good idea to see your veterinarian well in advance to be sure you have and know how to use them, this can make the difference between disaster and simply a groggy dog.
Schedule a vet visit no more than 10 days before traveling, most airlines require a certificate of health prior to travel within 10 days of departure.
If your dog is too large or the trip too long for in cabin travel here are some tips to help you and your dog have a more safe and comfortable journey.
Make sure to get a hard-sided carrier from a reputable manufacturer, such as PetMate, and be sure to check with your airline for size requirements. Pick a carrier that your dog can stand, sit, turn around, and lie down in comfortably throughout the flight. Check with your airline to get an idea of Cargo temperatures expected on your flight, it may be too hot or cold for your loved one. Also, packing a blanket may be a good idea as it can get quite frosty in the Cargo area, but refrain from leaving anything else, such as toys or chews in the kennel during flight as there is no one to check on your dog during the flight and your dog may accidentally choke on a toy or chew.
Measuring your dog
to find the right size carrier
“In Cabin” Travel
This is the preferred choice for air travel, but be sure and make your reservations early as they are on a first come, first served basis and limits exist as to how many pets can travel in the passenger cabin at one time.
Find the right size carrier, measure your dog using the guidelines above, but for a soft sided carry on carrier, they can fit more snugly, as you will have quicker access to your dog, and also may be able to let him out during the flight or in the airplane restroom. It will be a good idea to have some wee-wee pads though, just in case of an emergency. Look for “Airline Approved” pet carriers (click here for some good examples), these meet the general size requirements for most airlines, but it is always a good idea to check with your airline first as some have particular requirements or may not allow pets at all, such as Southwest Airlines.
By Land a.k.a. Car
To help your dog become more comfortable before a long journey and overcome any motion sickness, take several short trips in the car before your journey and always have a favorite toy along for the ride. Also, feed your dog lightly (about one-third the normal amount) or not all for up to 12 hours before the trip.
Also be sure to keep your dog comfortable. Remember a toy or chew and if it's hot, open the windows to provide sufficient ventilation, but do not let your dog stick its head out of the window - this may lead to eye or ear injuries. Also, do not let your dog travel in the back of an open pickup truck – countless dogs are injured or killed each year riding in the beds of open pickups. A crate/kennel may be a good idea, this smaller enclosed area is a naturally safe place for dogs, dating back to the time of their wolf ancestors, which made dens where they could sleep and relax comfortably without fear of a predator sneaking up from behind. Look at the Cargo travel in the air section above for tips on picking the right carrier/kennel.
If you're taking
a cruise, you may be in luck. For example, the QE2 luxury cruiser, which
sails from New York to England/France, provides special lodging and
free meals for your dog. In addition many large cruise lines will allow
your dog but many of the same rules as airline travel apply such as
health certificates and size restrictions. Check with the cruise line
or ship that you are planning to use for their policies and be sure
to do this early; advanced reservations for traveling with your dog
are a must. Unfortunately, smaller ships will usually not be able to
accommodate your dog, but check anyways before you make your reservations.
You just never know until you ask.