Tips When Driving With Your Pet

source: Pet Travel Center

If you’re planning to take your pet with you on trips in the car, start early when the pet is young to get used to the routine. Short jaunts across town and back or easy day trips will get your pet used to the ride. A carsick pet can make the trip miserable for everyone.

A seat upholstery protector, such as a pet hammock or waterproof seat cover will make clean-ups easier in case your pet does get sick or has an accident.

Be sure to bring along cleaning supplies to avoid having to search out a place to purchase them at the last minute.

Make your pet travel experience fun and enjoyable by following these simple, common sense pet travel tips:

  • Safely secure your pet while traveling. An unrestrained pet can become a deadly projectile in the event of a sudden stop or crash, causing serious injury (even death) to passengers. For example, an unsecured, 25-pound dog in a 40 mph crash becomes a 1,000-pound mass (half a ton) flying uncontrollably inside the vehicle.
  • Dogs should be restrained with either a seatbelt or harness designed for pet travel. Smaller dogs can be secured in pet car seats, which allow them to also see out, while being properly restrained.
  • Never attach a restraining device to the pet’s collar. Always use a harness to prevent injury.
  • Cats should be contained in a crate, cage or pet car seat that is secured with a seat belt. Never allow a cat to roam freely in the vehicle, as it could get tangled around the driver’s feet or get in the driver’s sight of the road.
  • Do not allow your pet to ride with its head outside of the window. An obstacle close to the vehicle could potentially strike your pet’s head, causing injury or death, or dirt particles could get into your pet’s ears, nose, eyes, or throat, causing health problems.
  • It’s a good idea to stop every couple of hours for your pet and you to stretch and walk around. Be sure to have your pet’s leash handy to have control and so your pet doesn’t run away in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Have your own supply of cold water, as fresh water is not always handy or convenient when you need to stop.
  • Have your pet consume small amounts of food and water, but don’t allow to overeat or drink if you still have more traveling to do. Reserve your pet’s main meal for the end of the day.
  • Leaving a pet in a parked car is never a good idea. Temperatures in confined spaces in the summer time can heat up fast, causing heatstroke — even death — to a pet. Extremely cold temperatures in the winter can be just as threatening, so be sure not to leave a pet in the car if the temperature is near the freezing mark.
  • A pet first-aid kit is an essential item to pack when venturing out and should contain things such as antiseptic cream, assorted bandages, tweezers, eye drops, gauge, tape, and the like. Aldie Vet’s phone number, the National Animal Poison Control Center hotline (1-888-466-3242) and hit prompt 2), and emergency vet hospitals in the areas where you plan to travel should be taken along.
  • A travel tag on a pet’s collar will help someone locate you should you and your pet become separated. The travel tag should contain information about where you are staying locally (while away from home), including addresses and phone numbers. A cell phone number is also a good idea since most people have one with them, especially when they travel.

Bus or Train

  • State and local restrictions usually prohibit pets from riding on buses or trains unless they are assisting visually impaired or physically challenged persons. Always check in advance with these transportation providers to find out what regulations they may impose.

Is Your Pet at Risk for Lyme Disease?

April is “Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs” month.  Although cats can get Lyme disease, cases are rarely reported because there’s not a test that can confirm the diagnosis. Also, many times cats will not show any symptoms that are visual to their pet owners.

This is not the case in dogs. We do have a test for Lyme disease and the number of dogs that have tested positive has increased 50% in the last two years for the Northern Virginia area alone.

So, is your dog at risk? Depending on the answers to these five questions will determine the answer:

  1. Is your dog mostly inside and not very active when outside (limited outdoor access & regularly walks on leash)?
  2. Are you applying a tick preventative each month to your pet dogs and cats?
  3. Do you take your dog to a Veterinarian every year for a tick-borne disease (e.g., Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, etc.) screening?
  4. Has your dog been vaccinated against Lyme disease?
  5. Does your dog stay home every time you travel?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, your dog is at greater risk for Lyme disease. To minimize these risks, we offer the following Health Tips:

  • There are numerous products and medications available to keep ticks off your pet. At Aldie Vet, we suggest putting a topical medication (Frontline) on your pet, including your pet cats, every 30 days.
  • Because most vector-borne disease infections show few if any early signs, comprehensive annual testing is the only way to know for sure if your dog has been exposed. In addition, no preventive or vaccine is 100% effective, which makes annual checkups even more important to your pet’s health. Vector-borne disease testing is fast and easy on your dog. At Aldie Vet, ours screens for three separate tick-borne diseases in one test.
  • Another preventative service Aldie Vet recommends is to vaccinate your healthy dog every year for Lyme disease.
  • When you travel with your pet to different areas, be aware that they can be exposed to different ticks and diseases than those found near your home. Visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s Parasite Prevalence Maps before you travel.

If your pet does test positive for Lyme or another tick-borne disease, Aldie Vet will determine the individual treatment program that’s best for your pet’s health.

Endoscopic Procedures, including Laparoscopic Spays

Aldie Vet is now performing a full line of Endoscopic procedures, also known as Minimally Invasive Surgery. Veterinary Endoscopy offers you and your pet less invasive alternatives to traditional open surgery.

One of the procedures that is offered is Laparoscopic Spays which is a less painful and faster healing alternative to the traditional spay.

For the large breed dogs at risk for twisted stomach, which is fatal if not treated quickly, we can perform Gastropexy. This is a preventative surgery where we will suture the stomach to the abdominal wall in order to prevent the stomach from twisting. Gastropexy is often done at the time as a Laparoscopic Spay.

Another common Endoscopic procedure is an Otoscopy, which allows for safe and thorough cleaning, removal of foreign objects, polyp removal and diagnostic sampling of the ear. The visualization afforded by this technique make it a precise means of assessment of treatment and follow-up.

Dr. Drew Luce Appointed Animal Advisor for Dulles District

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Luce has been appointed as the Animal Advisor for the Dulles District by Matt Letourneau, Dulles District Board of Supervisor. Dr. Luce, as well as the Animal Advisors from the other eight Districts within the County, will form the Loudoun County Animal Advisory Committee.

The purpose of the committee is to:

  • Advise the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on the effectiveness of the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
  • Serve as an advisor to the Director of the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
  • Work to promote a public awareness of the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services
  • Serve as ombudsman for animal control problems

Click Here for Supervisor Matt Letourneau’s first Newsletter making the announcement and providing updates for the Dulles District.

Have a Heart for Chained Dogs

“Have a Heart for Chained Dogs” will be observed this month from February 5-12, 2012.

What’s Wrong With Tethering?  Dogs are social beings that thrive on interaction with humans and other animals. Tethered dogs are often the victims of abuse and neglect, suffering from sporadic feedings, empty water bowls, inadequate veterinary care and exposure to weather extremes. They are forced to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in the same confined area, which goes against their natural instincts. Tethered dogs also suffer neck injuries from collars that have become embedded into their skin—some even strangle to death when chains become entangled with other objects. Chained in place, they are also helpless to defend themselves against abusive people, stray dogs and wild animals who may invade their space. In addition, unaltered, chained female dogs are likely to attract strays, leading to unwanted litters.

What Are the Effects of Long-Term Tethering on Dogs? Tethering for short time periods, using appropriate equipment, in an animal-friendly environment (access to water, shelter and toys, for example) is generally harmless. However, keeping a dog on a tether for the majority of the day often leads to negative behavior changes. Tethered dogs run a high risk of becoming “stir crazy” due to the inability to release their energy and socialize with others. With dogs, boredom often leads to frustration, which, in turn, often leads to aggression. An additional contributor to aggression is that, given only a small area in which to dwell, tethered dogs are known to become irrationally protective of that area because it is essentially their whole world. Studies have shown that chained or tethered dog is nearly three times more likely to bite than a dog that is not chained or tethered.

“Chaining and Tethering.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Web.  5 February 2012. <>.

There are laws in our quad-state area that specifically discuss tethering or chaining your dog and the penalties for not obeying the laws. Below are excerpts from each state.

VirginiaClass 4 misdemeanor, VA ST§ 3.2-6500

Each owner shall provide for each of his companion animals adequate space. For purposes of tethering “adequate space” means a tether that: is appropriate to the age and size of the animal; is attached to the animal by a properly applied collar, halter, or harness; configured so as to protect the animal from injury and prevent the animal or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals; ius at least three times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.

Maryland Misdemeanor subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000 orboth, MD CRIM LAW § 10-623

A person may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the movement of the dog; Or one that uses a collar that: is made primarily of metal; is not at least as large as the circumference of the dog’s neck plus 1 inch; that restricts the access of the dog to suitable and sufficient clean water or appropriate shelter; in unsafe or unsanitary conditions; that causes injury to the dog.

West Virginia – Misdemeanor with fine of not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 or confined in jail not more than six months, WV ST§ 61-8-19

It is unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cruelly chain or tether an animal.

District of ColumbiaImprisonment in jail not exceeding 180 days, or by fine not exceeding $250, or by both, DC ST§ 22.1001

For the purposes of this section, “cruelly chains” means attaching an animal to a stationary object or a pulley by means of a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or similar restraint under circumstances that may endanger its health, safety, or well-being. Cruelly chains includes a tether that:  Causes the animal to choke; does not permit the animal to reach food, water, shade, dry ground; does not permit the animal to escape harm.

Wisch, Rebecca F. Overview of State Dog Tethering Laws.” Animal Legal & Historical Center. Michigan State University College of Law. 2009/2011. Web. 5 February 2012. <>.


Pet Microchipping

It is a terrible feeling to have a lost pet. That is why we believe Microchipping your pet is so important in locating the owners of pets that are found in the neighborhood or picked up by animal control. Also very important is registering your pet once they receive a microchip. If your pet has a microchip, but you have not registered yet, please visit Home Again’s website to do so. If you need assistance in doing this, please email us and we will be happy to register your pet for you.

If your pet does not have a microchip, the Vet Tech Club of Northern Virginia Community College Loudoun Campus is hosting a Dog Wash on Saturday, April 30th. In addition to dog baths, they are offering rabies shots and free microchipping. For more information, please visit their posting here.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is alive and growing in pets, children and adults! In fact, the number of adults and children that have been diagnosed with Lyme disease is now receiving the attention of Virginia’s Governor who has appointed a task force to help deal with the Lyme disease epidemic. During the task force hearing in Fairfax this week, Governor McDonnell has designated May as Lyme Awareness Month.

All of us, at Aldie Veterinary Hospital, are very concerned about the growing number of reported Lyme disease cases in dogs. The National Capital Lyme Disease Association sites that dogs are 50-100 times more likely to encounter disease-carrying ticks than people. These ticks then enter your home or come into contact with you or your children. Here is your best defense in protecting your pets and family from Lyme disease:

  • Vaccinate your dog this Spring with the Lyme vaccine.
  • Use a flea and tick control product, such as Frontline Plus on your pet YEAR ROUND.
  • Check your dogs, cats, children and yourself regularly for ticks. Make sure to examine your pet between toes, behind ears, under armpits and around tail and head as ticks like to hide in these areas.

A great resource for information about tick-borne disease in animals may be found at In addition, we will be providing additional information regarding Lyme disease in your pet in our next issue of the Aldie Vet Pet Gazette.