Monthly Archives: August 2014

Summer Road Trips – they`re good for the Soul!

dog in car

Many of us have great childhood memories of family road trips, don’t we?  Fast forward to 2014. Smartphones and our hectic schedules often make it difficult for us to “unplug”, jump in the car and set out on a road trip.  But summer is a great time to do this and it`s a wonderful way to create some new memories for everyone involved.  

Whether you have kids and pets, or just pets (aka furkids!), there are many great places across Canada that are just waiting for you to explore.  Day trips or venturing out with the family on a 1 or 2 week vacation, no matter which city or province you live in, finding some great camping sites, a beautiful lake, a nice beach, scenic walking trails or a fun park is easy to do!  Use the internet to find some pet-friendly places and get ready to hit the road.

Before you go, there’s some pre-planning required when you’re including the pets in your travel plans, whether it’s a day or cross-country trip.  Here’s a checklist of some items to pack so that your pets will have a great time too!

Buckle up!:  We cringe when we see dogs running loose in the car and even worse, sitting on the driver`s lap!  An unrestrained dog can, at any moment, distract you, interfere with driving, and cause an accident.  Global Pet Foods carries many pet restraining equipment, including harnesses, seat belts, backseat barriers, and pet carriers. 

If you plan on using a kennel or crate, ensure that it is secured to the floor in the vehicle and that it`s large enough for your dog to comfortably sit and lie down in. Not only is this a safe method of transport, but with your pet contained, it will be much easier to keep the vehicle clean. Please visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store well in advance of your travel, so that you select the right product, learn how to install and use them, and familiarize your pets with it before hitting the road.

Pet ID tags: Don`t have identification tags for your pets?  Visit Global Pet Foods to pick them up and attach them to your pet’s collar in advance of your travel just in case you and your pet become separated at any point during your excursion. 

Travel supplies and accessories: You’ll want to make sure that your pets have the comforts of home, and that you have the items you need if you go exploring once you reach your destination.  A comfy bed, interactive toys, collar and leash, portable and collapsible food and water containers, extra towels and pet wipes are some of the key items that you need to pack for the trip.  Remember to pack their pet medications (if needed) and a First Aid Kit for Pets.  You may need this if you`re camping or heading to the cottage, where the terrain is more rugged and there`s a risk that your pet could sustain bug bites or other injuries.

Pack their food:  We recommend that you bring your pet`s food with you, enough to last for the duration of the trip.  You may not find the brand that you`re looking for in other pet stores and having to switch foods during travel will most likely result in upset stomachs which can be stressful and difficult for you and your pet.  Make sure you visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods stores before you hit the road and stock up your pet’s food and favourite treats.

Frequent Stops:  If you are heading out on an extended road trip, ensure that your dogs have 30 minutes of exercise before putting them into your vehicle.  This will tire them out and keep them relaxed while travelling.  If your pets are usually quite active, we recommend that you stop every few hours to let everyone stretch their legs and use the facilities.  Pets, especially dogs that aren’t used to travelling, may need to stop for a quick “tree break” and a quick walk or run before getting back in the car.

TIP: Most places you’ll visit will require your dog to be leashed at all times, even when nature calls. Teach your dog how to relieve himself on command.  If your dog isn`t used to eliminating while on a leash, you will need to teach this skill well in advance of your travel.  Begin in your backyard.  Use a verbal cue like `go potty` to let him know that it`s time to perform.  Once your dog does it, praise him and continue to practice until he masters it.

Travel Anxiety: If your pet is normally anxious, travel may only exacerbate the situation.  Pack your dog’s favourite blanket or stuffed animal, toy, or any other any item that`s familiar to your dog that can provide some comfort and relax him.  We also recommend that you rub some lavender oil between your hands to provide some aromatherapy and give massage him gently before you both get in the car.

Some pets do suffer from travel (motion) sickness or extreme anxiety. Test whether this is the case with your pet by taking them for a car ride for an hour or two well in advance of your planned travel.  If your pet appears to be anxious or gets sick, take them on a few car rides (no more than an hour or so at a time) to help your dog become accustomed to travel motion.  In extreme cases, you may need to give them a natural supplement or use a ThunderShirt to help relax them, which can be found at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada. 

Water Safety: If you’re planning on heading to the cottage or the lake dog swimming in life jacketwhere you will be spending a lot of time in the water or on a boat, a properly fitted lifejacket is a ‘must-have’ for your pet.  We recommend that you visit your neighbourhood Global Pet foods store before your departure to have them properly fitted and get your pet used to wearing it.

Travelling as family can be a great way to bond and create a lifetime of memories. You can include your pets as long as you plan in advance.  Enjoy your road trip!

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Education, Pet Care, Summer

The Dog Days of Summer and the Dangers of Heatstroke.

dog in pool

The “dog days” of summer can be deadly for dogs, or any animals for that matter, that are left outside for long periods of time in the hot sun and extreme heat. Pets are at risk for heat exhaustion or even worse, heatstroke.

Heatstroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Once the signs of heatstroke are detected, there is very little time for medical attention before serious damage – or even death – can occur.

Dogs and cats do not sweat through their skin like humans. Once they get hot, instead of sweating, dogs will pant to cool themselves down. Panting helps to circulate the necessary air through a dog’s body, and helps him to cool down. But if dogs “overheat” then they are at risk for heatstroke.

Signs of heatstroke in dogs may include:

  • Hot skin; body temperatures of 40 – 43ºC
  • Rapid, prolonged, or recurrent panting
  • Twitching muscles
  • Their stomachs may get upset resulting in vomiting and/or diarrhea (which may be bloody).
  • Dark, red tongue and/or gums
  • Sticky or dry tongue and/or gums, thick saliva; may froth at mouth
  • Their heartbeat is much faster than normal
  • Dog staggers while walking, appears disoriented or has a dazed expression.
  • Unwilling or unable to get up.
  • Dog collapses and/or loses consciousness

NOTE: Short-nosed breeds, large, heavy-coated breeds, and dogs with heart or respiratory problems are at a greater risk for heat stroke.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke then you must take action quickly but calmly!

  1. Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun immediately. 
  2. Begin cooling your dog with cool water by placing wet washcloths on the foot pads and around the head. Continue to use fresh, cool rags. Avoid covering the entire body with wet towels as they may trap the heat in.
  3. DO NOT use ice or ice water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the core of your dog’s body from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, resulting in other health issues. When the body temperature reaches 39 degrees Celsius, stop cooling. At this point, your dog’s body should continue to cool down on its own.
  4. Offer your dog cool water but do not force it into your dog’s mouth and don’t let him drink excessive amounts.
  5.  Call or visit a certified veterinarian right away, even if your dog seems better. There may be internal damage as a result, so an examination is strongly recommended. Treatment may include further cooling techniques, intravenous fluid therapy to counter shock, or medication to prevent or reverse brain damage, if needed.

While you may be able to withstand the heat and searing sun, please know that your pets may suffer adverse affects that can be life threatening for them.  Enjoy the summer but keep your pets safe and know what to do in the event of heatstroke.

 

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Filed under Dogs, Education, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Summer