You humans ride in the car every day and you're used to it. For my cat and dog friends, it's going to take some time. We promise we're not trying to be difficult on purpose. We actually love you and want to make the experience easier for everyone. That is why we asked the staff here to come up with some tips for the next time you hit the road with pets in tow. Love, Carlos
When it comes to car travel, most cats hate it and most dogs love it. For cats, being placed in a carrier and put in the car usually means one of two things. They're going to the vet or you're leaving them with a sitter. Dogs, on the other hand, know that a ride in the car means they get to spend extra time with you and maybe even get a treat out of the deal. Of course, there are always exceptions and most pets don’t cooperate right away. Whether you're running a quick errand or planning a cross-country trip, you can take steps to make it more enjoyable for your pet.
Tips for Cat Owners
Cats thrive on routine, which doesn't necessarily mean riding in the car. To get your cat accustomed to the idea, leave her carrier out for a few days. This gives her the chance to sniff it and mark it with her scent as well as check out the inside. If your cat has never been in the car, start with shorter trips and work your way up to longer ones. Be sure that the carrier you choose provides decent ventilation for your cat to avoid even more anxiety. Also, make sure your cat has eaten and used her litter box before setting out on longer trips.
Tips for Dog Owners
It can take a while for a puppy to learn to enjoy car travel. After all, the first trip in a car takes him away from his mother and the next several take him to a place where he gets shots. You can change his perception by playing fun games near the car and offering treats when he gets in willingly. Also, let your puppy see you just sitting in the car for a while to help him realize that it's not a scary experience. As with cats, start with short car trip and gradually increase the time of each trip until your dog learns to enjoy it.
For Both Types of Pets
Cats and dogs should both be in a carrier or crate as well as buckled up when you travel with them in the car. This is much safer than allowing your pet to roam freely in a moving vehicle. For longer trips, be sure to pack a bag of your pet's medications, food and treats, favorite toys, and a blanket or pillow she normally sleeps with at home. While the car trip itself is out of the ordinary, having the comforts of home makes it less stressful.
Lastly, resist the urge to leave your pet alone in the car while you run errands or reach your vacation destination. This is especially critical advice when it's extremely hot or cold outside. Not only will this make him anxious, it can endanger his life. The temperature inside of your car could make your pet very sick or even cause his death. This can happen extremely quickly. An anxious pet is also more likely to try to escape his carrier or crate to try to find you.
If you're planning a long road trip with your pet this summer, be sure to visit us at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic first. We will make sure that she is up-to-date on her vaccinations and provide you with a health certificate if you need one.
Photo Credit: Mbot / Getty Images
It's summer, and that means my dog and cat friends are more thirsty than usual. It's important that we can access fresh, clean drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day. Since it can be hard for you to know how much to provide us, the staff at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic created these guidelines.
A good rule of thumb is to make one-half to one cup of water per pound of body weight available to your dog each day. For cats, the ratio is 60 ml of water per pound of body weight. They need far less water than dogs and people due to their smaller size. Some other factors to consider when providing water to your pet include:
• Season: As mentioned above, the heat and humidity of summer means that your pet can quickly become dehydrated without enough water. To prevent this, make sure the amount of water you offer is on the higher end of the above ratios.
• Medication: Some medications make your pet thirstier than usual. Be sure to ask your pet's regular veterinarian about adjusting the amount of water you offer your pet based on her medications.
• Age: Puppies and kittens need water at least every two hours while older pets can pace themselves when it comes to water consumption.
• Exercise: When you walk your dog or engage in vigorous exercise with him, offer water immediately afterwards to replace lost body heat.
• Diet: Dogs and cats who eat mostly dry food need more water than those whose diets consist mainly of wet food. It's important to avoid buying food with a high concentration of sodium and other ingredients that increase thirst.
Helping Pets Who Consume Too Little or Too Much Water
If your dog or cat doesn't drink enough water, it can cause dehydration, organ failure, kidney stones, or even death in severe cases. On the flip side, over-drinking can cause stomach bloat, electrolyte imbalance, and water toxicity. It can also be an early indicator of diabetes. To help the pet who under-drinks, be certain to place her water bowl near her food and other places she normally goes during the day. Offering plenty of praise can also help to modify her water-drinking behavior. You can also consider adding a packet of flavoring to the water if nothing else seems to help.
For the dog or cat who drinks too much water, try putting out a smaller bowl. You will need to refill the bowl more often throughout the day, but at least you will know how much he is drinking. To help satisfy your pet's thirst, allow him to lick the condensation off water bottles if you feel comfortable with it. This can prevent him from lapping up an entire bowl of water. Placing a rabbit feeder in a dog's crate at night can also help.
If you're concerned that your pet is suffering the effects of too much or too little water consumption, please schedule an appointment at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. We will complete an exam and let you know if she is displaying specific health problems. Our veterinarians can also assist you further with making sure that your dog or cat has just the right amount of water each day.
Photo Credit: Magone / iStock Photo