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Travelling with your dog

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 @ 09:07 PM

dogtravellist.jpgTravelling with your dog can be a lot of fun – for both the dog and the dog owner! However, travelling with pets does require a little research and preparation that should be done well before trip departure, especially if you plan on crossing the border into the United States.

What to bring

Even if you are staying in Canada, you should always carry your dog’s most up-to-date vaccination records with you. If you are visiting another country, make sure you have the necessary vaccinations for the country you will be visiting, and if you are not sure what those are be sure to ask your veterinarian well in advance of the trip.

You should also bring a “doggy first aid kit” that contains tweezers to remove ticks, styptic powder to stop toenail bleeding, eye wash to flush wounds, gauze bandages, adhesive tape, scissors and antiseptic moist wipes.

You should also ensure your dog is wearing a tag with an emergency phone number attached to his or her collar. Make sure the tag has current contact information and is securely attached. Be sure to bring your dog’s leash with you as they will more than likely be expected to be leashed at all times. Also make sure your pets microchip information is up current.

What you need to know

Although seat belts for dogs are not mandatory in Canada, it is recommended, and it is law in many U.S. states.

If you are travelling to the U.S. you must bring proof of rabies vaccination with you, as you will most likely be asked to produce proof of vaccination, especially upon returning to Canada.

You should also research what kinds of pet food and treats you can and cannot bring with you across the border. Certain dog foods are not permitted across the border and can be confiscated. If you are unsure of what food can be used to supplement your dog’s diet while travelling, consult your veterinarian.

Don’t forget

Don’t forget the toys! Familiar smells and chew toys will help calm even the most anxious pet. You should also remember to pack their favourite blanket or pillow for bedtime.

If you are staying at a pet-friendly hotel, make sure to contact the hotel and confirm that they know you are bringing your pet and ask them about any restrictions. You can also contact them about where the closest walking trail or dog parks are.

And lastly, remember to give your dog plenty of exercise prior to leaving for a long trip. Let them run and play so that they will easily settle down for the journey. With a little research, planning and preparation, a trip with your dog can be fun and memorable!

If your dog’s vaccinations are out of date or if you plan on travelling and would like your dog to have a physical examination before you leave, call us and book an appointment.

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Topics: dog care, pet travel

Making a cat carrier cat-friendly

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 @ 09:51 AM

cat.jpgDoes your cat hate getting in their carrier? If so, your cat is not alone. Unfortunately, cat carriers are an important part of a cat’s life and are a highly recommended mode of transportation when bringing a cat to a veterinarian’s office; even a cat-friendly practice such as the Halifax Animal Hospitals. But when you think about it, more often than not cats only get into their cat carrier if they are going someplace unfamiliar or to someplace stressful, such as the veterinarian’s office. So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that a cat would not want to get into, let alone stay, in their cat carrier. Luckily, there are things you can do to get your cat used to their carrier:

Don’t hide it

Make your cart carrier a part of your cat’s everyday environment. Keep the carrier someplace where the cat can get to it, and keep its door open. Your cat will explore the carrier on his or her own terms and may just figure out that it’s a comfortable space to sleep.  

Make positive associations

Don’t just use the cat carrier for trips to the veterinary office or to your cat boarding facility. If possible, take your cat for car rides to the park or someplace else they may like using the carrier. This will make your cat realize that being in the carrier does not always mean they are going someplace they don’t like.

You could also place a familiar toy or blanket in the carrier. The smell will remind your cat of home and may make them feel more at ease while in the carrier.

Alternatively, you can calm your cat using a pheromone spray in the carrier. These sprays are known for their calming effects on cats. 

Wash it

Cats like clean habitats, so if you use the carrier a lot make sure to keep it clean – especially after a visit to the veterinarian’s office.

When selecting a cat carrier, don’t select one simply because it looks like a designer purse. The best all-purpose carrier is a medium-sized (large enough to fit an adult cat comfortably) plastic box with a handle and openings in the front and the top. These cat carriers are portable, durable and easy to clean.

They key is to introducing any carrier to your cat is to do it in a drama-free way. You want your cat to see their carrier as a safe, comfortable space and not associate it with bad smells or situations. 

We hope to see you soon...  and remember we are here to answer health and behavior questions too.

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Topics: cat care, pet travel, pet training, pet behaviour

Tips for getting your cat to the vet

Posted by Kyle Long on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 @ 03:17 PM

Keeping up with your regular veterinary visits are an important part of cat care. However,Cat and Vet those few kilometers that you need to travel to get to the veterinary hospital can seem a lot longer if your cat doesn't travel very well or hates the ride. You might even be tempted to skip your appointment just to avoid the stress that you and your cat experience.

Missed Vet Appointments Aren't Good For Your Cat 

Skipping a vet appointment is not a very good idea, especially when vaccines are due. Even an indoor cat needs to have annual exams to look for age related changes and may require vaccines for upper respiratory tract infections that are very common in even single cat households. Vaccinations against feline leukemia and rabies are also necessary for cats who venture outdoors – did you know feral cat populations are found near many Canadian cities, and these potentially fatal viruses are carried in some of those populations?  Regular veterinary appointments allow your veterinarian to catch any serious health issues before they get worse.

Make Your Appointment Time Easier

You can make appointment time less stressful – happier for your cat and easier for you!

  • Invest in a comfortable carrier
  • Ask your vet about products like pheromones that can reduce your cat’s anxiety while travelling
  • Help your cat have positive associations with the carrier by leaving it accessible at home and offering a treat or reward when they go in it on their own
  • Do not feed your cat for 1-2 hours before travel to avoid motion sickness and vomiting
  • Make the wait as stress-free as possible 

Choosing a Cat Carrier

Your cat should always be transported in a carrier, even if he or she will walk on a leash. This eliminates the possibility of the cat being loose in the car while you're driving, or panicking and getting away from you outside. Some helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Stores that specialize in pet products, including cat care, generally have better carriers
  • Choose one that allows your cat to stand, turn around and stretch, and lie down comfortably 
  • The carrier should have good ventilation, but also be escape-proof
  • If possible, it should open from the top for easier, less stressful access to your cat – it is often a struggle when they get to the vet's office to get them out of the carrier.

Establish Positive Associations

If a cat's first introduction to a carrier is when it's taken to the vet, he or she will generally fear being put inside. Buy your new carrier ahead of time so that your cat has a chance to see, smell and otherwise get used to it. Keep it open so that the cat can go in and out freely, and consider putting in a cozy blanket so that the cat will be comfortable sleeping there. Give your cat a treat each time she or he goes in, and continue this practice when the cat enters the carrier for a vet visit.

Dealing with Anxiety and Motion Sickness

Many animals fear visiting the vet because of vaccines or other procedures. Cats that spend most of their time in the house may fear being handled by strangers. We suggest some easy ways to reduce stress before an appointment:

  • Use natural remedies from cat care providers that help calm your cat, provided they don't interact with medications – your vet will let you know which ones are safe
  • If your cat gets especially anxious, ask your vet in advance if you can obtain a prescription for a mild tranquilizer
  • Don't feed your cat right before the appointment

What to Do While Waiting

Your vet tries their best not to keep you waiting. If you do find yourself having to wait, sit some distance away from dogs or clients with children. Both of these situations often make cats anxious. Ask the hospital staff if there is a quiet room where you and your cat can wait for the doctor. Make sure your cat stays in the carrier until you're in the examining room. The less your cat is exposed to things that scare him or her, the better your visit will be.

Preventative Care Makes Your Cat Happier

Ultimately, the care your cat receives at every vet appointment will make your pet healthier and happier. Your vet gets a chance to identify early health issues, offer you current advice and tips for home care, and you get a chance to ask any questions that have been on your mind. Don’t skip appointments – help your cat through them and enjoy the health rewards!

Need to set up an appointment for your cat? Contact us!

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Topics: animal hospital, cat care, vet halifax, pet travel

Tips for travelling with your pets

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 07:58 AM

For many people, a family vacation just isn't a family vacation without the entire family. Often929095 845654 dog travel times, that means bringing Fido or Fluffy along for the fun. Since you love your pets, you want to make sure that they're just as comfortable and relaxed on this family outing as you are! Here are some tips for travelling with your dog to make the trip go off without a hitch.

  • Where will you stay? If your vacation plans include a hotel or other similar accommodation, make sure your home away from home is pet friendly. There are some great hotels around Canada that are happy to welcome your entire family, so make sure you have a reservation, and secure your spot.
  • Hide away in the great outdoors. Parks and forests are amazing spaces for relaxation and exploration. If you're travelling with your dog, check out the rules of the parks and recreational areas that you're planning to attend. While many are dog-friendly, you might still run into a space that doesn't welcome pets. Planning ahead and knowing the rules will make your excursion peaceful and avoid any added stresses. Be aware that many parks that welcome dogs will still reinforce leash rules, so educate yourself and your family on the spaces that you'll be visiting. Make sure you are up to date with required flea medication to protect your pet.  Always remember that if you are in long grass in an area know to have ticks you should check your pet thorough after any time spent in long grass.
  • Pit stops are for everyone. If you're planning to travel by road, remember that frequent stops are necessary to keep your dog comfortable and happy. When you stop for gas or a bite to eat, make sure you let your pet out for a drink of water, some stretching and relieving. This is one of those tips for travelling with your dog that you don't want to ignore. Keep in mind that your pup is a living, breathing being, and your dog's comfort will make everyone else's trip much more comfortable, too.
  • Where are you going for dinner? This may be an easily solved question for the human members of your family, but your canine friends may not be so easily comforted by a quick stop at a local fast food joint. Your pet has a much more sensitive belly than you do, and keeping this in mind will surely make everyone a little happier. Avoid "people food" at all cost, and keep your pooch on the diet that it's used to. In the middle of packing toothbrushes and getting clean underwear packed for the kids, it can be easy to forget that your dog has certain needs too. Make sure you have plenty of your pet's food packed and sealed so it won't go rolling around in the car if you hit the brakes.
  • What's your normal routine? When you're packing up for your vacation, think about things that you do normally that you'll need to continue while you're away. For example, does your dog take medication every day? Maybe your pooch only needs medication once a week or once a month. Whatever the case, make sure you take a look at the calendar and grab everything your pet will need to keep on its normal schedule while you're gone.
  • Take a piece of home with you. Pets experience anxiety easily. One way to reduce their anxiety is to pack a few things that will be familiar to them. If they have a favorite toy and blanket, toss those in a bag and bring them along.

When you consider these tips for travelling with your dog, you'll be set up for a great time with the whole family, and everyone will be able to enjoy the time away. A little planning can make for a lot of fun! 

Happy Travels, and if you need us, we are only a phone call or click away.

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Topics: dog care, cat care, pet travel