There’s no place like home for the holidays! Traveling with your pets can be a very exciting adventure…especially during the winter months. When traveling with pets during this holiday season there are even more things to consider too!
Here are the TOP 5 TRAVEL TIPS for winter-wanderings with your four-legged family:
1. PET EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Anything can happen; especially when having to stop for frequent potty breaks. Having a small first aid kit for your pet that includes things like clean water, a bowl, extra leash, baby wipes to clean off paws, Neosporen-type ointment, gauze squares, paper towels, and tweezers can be helpful in the event of a small accident. Also the addresses and phone numbers for emergency
animal hospitals along your route in the case of a big accident can be very helpful, or at the very least, put your mind at ease.
Making sure you have a current Rabies Certificate and up to date vaccine certificate is very
helpful when crossing state lines; depending on where you are traveling to, an Interstate Health
Certificate or an International Health Certificate may be needed. Certain pet-friendly hotels will
want documents like the Rabies Certificate as well to make sure they are allowing vaccinated
fur-guests into the rooms. Plus in the event that a stop at a vets office is necessary during your
trip, you can present them with Fido’s vaccine history.
3. CRATE OR SEAT BELT
Having your pet sit on your lap or ride ‘shotgun’ with you may seem like a good idea, but slippery conditions can be unpredictable due to the weather changing so quickly during this time of year. Having your pet secure in the car is the best option for their safety (and yours)! A kennel, carrier or pet-specific seat belt is a great way to make sure that they don’t go flying in the event of a car accident or sudden stop.
4. ‘BUSY’ PRODUCTS
Providing toys, chews or treats is a great way to make sure your furry family member is occupied during long trips. Making things like a Kong Pupsicle is a great way to keep Rover busy for a while! (soak their kibble in water, smush it into a Kong toy then freeze- VOILA!). You may want to avoid things like stuffed animals that can be destroyed and ingested since you’ll be driving and unable to keep a continuous eye on them.
5. THE ‘USUAL’
Having your pets everyday items are a must for traveling with them. Food and
water bowls, daily medications, food, collar/harness, leash and ID tags are an
absolute must. Having extra bowls, leashes and collars are a really good idea to
have ‘just-in-case’. Absorbent towels and plastic bags are a staple item during the
winter time- nothings worse than a wet dog and 8 more hours to drive!
Welcome back for the Kingsbrook Animal Hospital‘s holiday hazards: cats edition (last week we considered holiday hazards for dogs). There are cross-over hazards to beware of for both dogs and cats that were discussed last week, such as:
watching to make sure pets are not eating people foods that can make them sick, like raw bread dough, chocolate, xylitol, and alcohol
- being diligent about not giving in to overindulgence to prevent GI upset
- keeping festive plants in places pets do not have access to, or considering fake plants, as many holiday plants are toxic
- keeping medications out of reach
- monitoring your pet’s access to the Christmas tree or if unable to do that or placing ornaments higher on the tree so they are not at a good “batting or chewing” height
- and unplugging your electrical cords when pets are not being supervised.
Here are some other holiday hazards that are more cat specific:
Tinsel, ribbon, and strings– Few cats are able to pass by this stuff without stopping to bat, chew or ingest it! In fact, strings are one of the top foreign bodies seen in cats year-round.
Liquid potpourri or candles– These candles and warmers can help our homes smell wonderful during the holiday season and throughout the year, but do pose a burn risk for cats. If you have a counter-surfing cat then please unplug or blow out while the cat is not under your direct supervision.
Finally, some cats find it thrilling to attempt to climb the Christmas tree. Create an unpleasant barrier (tin foil, double-sided sticky tape) around the base of the tree to help deter them from climbing. It is always a good idea to securely anchor your tree as well- just to be safe.
Allowing a “safe zone” for your feline friend to retreat to as needed where it is quieter and away from the festivities can provide them with a much appreciated break.
While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays. It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number, as well as a local emergency hospital’s number, pre-programmed into your phone to be prepared in case of emergency. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!
My friend texted me the other day and wanted to know how long “displaced aggression” would last in cats. Not really knowing the context of what was going on I thought she could have a more difficult behavioral issue going on. She has a two cat household and one cat was being very aggressive and “freaking out” whenever the other one came around. After further questioning the situation was this…..
She took cat A by itself to the vet while cat B stayed home. Upon returning home cat B would act out aggressively toward cat A anytime it approached. This continued through the night and although she separated them, in the morning when she opened the house to them again the fighting resumed. I assured her that this was not an isolated incident that was happening to her because her cats were freaky and abnormal! 🙂
This can and has happened to several of our clients (and even one of our former technicians) whenever only one of the household cats traveled to the vet
for a visit without the other. They come home smelling like the vet and for the next few days they are completely ostracized and bullied. This can be very stressful for everyone living in the house- pets and people.
While I couldn’t give my friend an exact deadline for how long it might last (because every cat and household may vary) I COULD offer her some helpful tips
on how to resume the peace.
First, I let my friend know that it’s common that Cat B would only act aggressively toward the cat and not her- even though she smelled like the vet’s office also.
We cat people know, there doesn’t have to be a good reason- cat’s do what they want, when they want to- and that’s that! 🙂
Option one for all of you that are not in her situation and are reading this before you take only one of your cat’s to the vet- if it’s a feasible option- take them BOTH! One can just ride along, sit and watch, and they both go home smelling the same- case closed.
If you have many cats or it’s stressful for the cat to just ride along when he’s not being seen, don’t worry, there are other tactics to use to help if this occurs in your household.
Don’t just reintroduce the cats back together immediately- separate them in different rooms for about an hour. This gives the cat who went to vet time to relax and calm down and also time to reclaim it’s “house” scent.
Use a dry washcloth to wipe all over the cat who has stayed home, then use it to rub the “offensive” cat to transfer the household smell to it. You can up the ante a little and use a wet washcloth in the same manner if the dry technique doesn’t help.
Bathing is an option- but that is usually NOT fun for the cats or their owners!
Another option is felaway spray- this is a calming hormone spray that you spray into the environment.
Regardless, it may take a couple days for any of these approaches to fully quiet the madness. But typically- after a short period of time normalcy does come back and
your cats will once again live amicably together!