Camping with pets presents its own challenges. Skunks, raccoons, porcupines, snakes, and other wildlife can bite or otherwise injure your pet. Keep your pet within sight and on a leash. Be considerate of other campers. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about flea, tick and heartworm prevention.
Your pet relies on you everyday for its happiness, health, and well-being. Brushing, bathing, nail and teeth care, and attention to your pet’s nutritional needs are important parts of daily pet care. And what do you do when you are thinking about taking your pet on a trip? Some pets travel better by car, whereas others travel better by air. Still other pets are better off remaining in familiar surroundings. In any case, advance planning and preparation are necessary when traveling with your pet. Want to know how to help your special companion in an emergency?
Here’s some practical advice: keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy with your other emergency numbers, just in case! Taking care of your pet is a job that last all year long. As the seasons change, preparations should always be made for the change in weather and climate.
Of course, before an emergency ever arises, it’s a good idea to learn all you can about first aid techniques and pet health care. Never leave dangerous objects like pins, needles, or fish hooks within reach. Keep poisonous products and materials far from your pet’s reach as you would with a child. Be well aware of your pet’s normal behavior, so you can recognize what’s not normal. Remember that the objective is to relieve suffering . . . perhaps even to save a life. Emergency first aid is most effective when rendered quickly, but calmly.
Regular brushing, bathing, and nail care are essential. Protect your puppy’s eyes and ears when bathing, and don’t allow the puppy to become chilled after bathing. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do not bathe your puppy when it is younger than 10 to 12 weeks unless absolutely necessary (especially if your puppy is one of the smaller breeds).
Cats do a good job of grooming themselves, but regular brushing to prevent matting of hair is important. Cats rarely need a bath, but one can be given if necessary. Cats object to bathing in slippery tubs, so give your kitten something to cling to, such as a wood platform or a wire screen. Use a shampoo designed for cats and kittens, as some dog shampoos may be irritating.
University of California at Davis Veterinary Students
(530)752-3602 or toll free (800)565-1526
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Feed a high quality diet designed for puppies. A wide variety of diets and formulations are available and your veterinarian should be your primary source of information as to the best choice for your puppy. The amount fed will vary with the type of food and the individual dog, but in general, should only be as much as the puppy can consume in 5 to 10 minutes at a given meal. Puppies are usually fed 3 times daily when between 6 and 12 weeks old, 2 times daily when 12 weeks to 6 months old, and may be fed 1 or 2 times daily when older than 6 months. For certain large breeds of dogs, your veterinarian may recommend that several smaller meals be fed rather than 1 large meal (even when your dog becomes an adult) because an association has been suggested between the consumption of large meals and a serious medical condition called gastric dilatation/volvulus or “bloat.”
Planning and preparation are necessary when traveling with family pets. Consider whether your pet is comfortable when traveling. Some animals, like some people, function better in familiar surroundings. A car-sick animal can make a trip miserable for everyone. Some ill or physically impaired dogs and cats cannot withstand the rigors of travel. If this is the case, discuss options such as using a reliable pet-sitter or a clean, well-managed boarding facility with your veterinarian.
If you will be staying with friends along the way, be considerate. Find out in advance if the pet is welcome. The same goes for hotels, motels, parks, and campgrounds. Always check whether pets are allowed or kennel facilities are available. If the pet must be left alone in a hotel room, place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and inform the maid and the front desk. Consider bringing along a portable kennel for use in hotel rooms or the homes of friends or relatives who are not comfortable with your pet loose when no one is home.
Only a healthy pet is a happy companion. Assuring your pet’s daily well-being requires regular care and close attention to any hint of ill health. The American Veterinary Medical Association therefore suggests that you consult your veterinarian if your pet shows any of the following signs:
Heatstroke may kill or seriously injure your pet – but it can easily be avoided. Never leave pets in cars on warm days; exercise during the cool part of the day; look for rapid breathing;loud panting; or staggering. Professional help may be needed, but in the meantime quickly get the animal to a shady ventilated area, and sponge off with cool water.
As a loving pet owner, you’d do anything to prevent your cat or dog from suffering. After all, they’re part of the family. Yet every year when flea season begins, the suffering sets in. It’s like an old broken record. Fleas bite, and the scratching and chewing starts again. It’s a painful and irritating routine for you and your pet. But that’s just the beginning. Adult fleas jump on your cat or dog. They bite them to feed on the blood. Then the fleas produce eggs. Eggs drop from your pet to the ground or carpet. The eggs develop over time into adult fleas. And the cycle starts all over again.
How Do I Make The Decision?
Your relationship with your pet is special, and you are responsible for its care and welfare. Eventually, many owners are faced with making life or death decisions for their pets. Such a decision may become necessary for the welfare of the animal and for you and your family. A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make regarding your pet. Your decision is a personal one, but it need not be a solitary one. Your veterinarian and your family and friends can assist and support you. Consider not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for you and your family. Quality of life is important for pets and people alike.
How do I tell my family?
Family members usually are already aware of a pet’s problems. However, you should review with them the information you have received from your veterinarian. Long-term medical care can be a burden that you and your family may be unable to bear emotionally or financially, and this should be discussed openly and honestly. Encourage family members to express their thoughts and feelings. Even if you have reached a decision, it is important that family members, especially children, have their feelings considered.