Tips for a Fun and Healthy Spring with Your Pets

Wake up and smell the roses…but try not to sneeze.  Although the weather keeps going up and down, Spring is officially in the air! This means that your FurBaby will be outside more, doing some travelling, and maybe even getting some pollen up his nose! Pet allergies are common and can be easily diagnosed by a vet. There are some symptoms for you to look out for. This month’s compilation is focused on how to watch out for pet allergies, tips on travelling safety with your pet by car, how to ID your pet, and tips on preparing for a disaster.

Pollen is in the Air – Watching Out for Pet Allergies

Allergy season doesn’t just affect humans! Now that the weather is improving and our pets are spending more time outside, it is not uncommon for them to have some allergic reactions.  As your FurBaby gets older, he can develop some allergies that did not exist when he was a young pup.

Some allergies can be prevented – especially those caused by fleas. Before the season starts, you can start your pet on a flea control program to help avoid any potential scratchies! See your vet for advice on the best products to help control fleas on your FurBaby.

If your FurBaby is suffering from some allergies, common signs are constant licking or itching uncontrollably – these can even lead to open sores. Some FurBabies can get ear infections or loose stool if it is food allergy. Several years ago we learned that Reilly, our own FurBaby, had a mild allergy to beef and we had to strip it out of his diet. If it is a food allergy, you can consider trying a limited ingredient dog food line, such as Natural Balance or Wellness Simple Solutions (1,2).

See list below for the general symptoms of Allergies in Dogs, imported from WebMD for Pets(3):

  • Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing/swollen paws
  • Constant licking
  • Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin

Everyone Loves a Jetsetter – Tips on Travelling Safely with your Pet

One of the best things of warmer weather is travelling – and taking your FurBaby for the ride usually makes the experience even better! They love the fresh air, seeing new things and sleeping under the sun! Also, they get to smell all sorts of yummy things, which helps with brain development and stress relief.

Who doesn’t love a road trip? Reilly loves trips, but we always restrain him in the backseat during car rides. If travelling in a car, it’s important to have your FurBaby restrained in the back seat, and not allow him to roam around the car. Here is a link for the type of harness we have for him.

A loose dog in the front seat may be killed by the airbag(4). According the Humane Society, “the safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash”(5).

Stay tuned for tips on travelling on planes, ships or trains!

ID Your Pet – It’s Like His Passport                                   

I think the scariest thing any of us could ever imagine is if our loving FurBaby gets lost. The good news is that microchip technology is on our side if that were to ever happen – and it is a great thing to consider before travelling with your FurBaby.

We have Reilly’s Microchip through Home Again and, while we’ve thankfully never had to use it, the company has been great with many other FurBabies we’ve fostered. The benefit of the microchip is that it will help you recover your FurBaby if she ever gets lost. “If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code”(6). You can get more facts on Microchipping here and even find a vet in the area that can provide you more information or help  you get your FurBaby micro-chipped. If you prefer to look into other companies, some additional options are: 24 Pet Watch, PetLink, Avidid.

Happy + Safe Travels!

Always Stay Safe by Preparing for Disaster

Sometimes a staycation is just what the doctor ordered! When we have something in our lives that we love as much as we do our FurBabies, it’s important to always be prepared for any disaster that could ensue. We don’t want to be gloomy, but if there is a disaster in your area it’s always better to be safe and prepared. Here are some recommendations:

The first thing is to make a disaster kit with clean water, food, first aid equipment, and some other pet essentials. The second is to have a plan as to where you could go.

Our disaster kit includes:

  • Reilly’s ID
  • Reilly’s Medicine
  • Reilly’s paperwork from his Veterinarian
  • a Ziploc bag with his food, refreshed every 2-3 months
  • a collapsible water bowl
  • a sturdy leash
  • a sturdy harness
  • a muzzle
    • MTA transportation requires our pets to be either in a carrier or wear a muzzle, and often times the evacuation center may have similar requests. If you’re stuck somewhere for hours and don’t want to keep your FurBaby in her carrier – a basket muzzle is good option to have with you

For more details, here are the recommended contents for the Pet Disaster-Preparedness Kit from the Human Society(7):

  • Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand to use if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first-aid kit. A pet first-aid book is also a good idea.
  • Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets’ waste.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can’t escape. Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. (Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time.) Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets—who may also need blankets or towels for bedding and warmth as well as special items, depending on their species.
  • Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you’re reunited.
  • Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.

Where should you go? It’s always better to stay with a friend or family outside of the disaster area. If that’s not possible, you can go to an evacuation center. For NYC, they change based on the emergency, so you’ll have to watch the news for the latest info, access NYC.gov, or call 311.

The good news is that our FurBabies are allowed at all City evacuation centers (phew!) and also on the MTA subways, buses and trains. However, a carrier is required for transporting her on MTA services. If FurBaby is a big girl and can’t fit in a carrier, the request is that she wears a muzzle and is on a sturdy leash no longer than four feet (8). Please note that your FurBaby must be registered with NYC and have her New York Pet License.

As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to us directly by replying to the newsletter or reaching out via our website. Hope you are enjoying your Spring so far!