As summer approaches, Skipper will likely be making some extra trips for vacation. We can’t WAIT to take him to the beach and show him the waves and let him chase the ghost crabs, and see how he swims at the lake!
If you anticipate traveling with your puppy, it’s very important to work on acclimating to the car early, during the socialization period. We started by taking Skipper on very short rides with lots of treats. Ideally, try to get the puppy used to where you want him to sit in the car as an adult. For example, when we brought Skipper home the very first day we met him, he would only ride quietly on top of my shoulders. This was fine for 9 lb Skipper, but not exactly acceptable for the current, 45 lb Skipper.
There are lots of options for securing your pet when traveling, but disappointingly, not very many studies to determine the safest option. In my opinion, making sure that your dog or cat is secured away from the driver is the MOST important consideration. Your dog should not be able to climb on your lap (or your head), bump any of your car controls, or distract the driver in any way. Skipper has done quite well with a sling in the backseat which keeps him confined to the second row of the car, but gives plenty of space to lounge and look out the windows. His sister, Lily, on the other hand, has to be confined to a crate, because she will not settle in and relax as readily. There are numerous options including car seats, seat belt type attachments, kennels, slings, etc. Choose what option keeps your dog calm, happy, and away from distracting the driver.
I do strongly recommend keeping some form of identification on your dog during a car ride, as a precaution, in case the unthinkable accident occurs and your dog leaves the site of the crash in the fray. Because a collar could get lost or fall off, a microchip implanted under his skin is the safest way to ensure he is constantly carrying identification, and your contact information. Of important note, these microchips do not help track your dog; there is no GPS capability to the standard microchip. I can’t wait for the day that happens! The microchip is only helpful if a Good Samaritan finds your dog, and brings them to someone with a scanner to retrieve the stored information. You’ll also need to make sure to regularly update the information attached to the microchip, if you move, change phone numbers, etc.
For those dogs (aka Lily) who are very nervous during car rides, there are a few pharmaceutical options to help make the trip less stressful. These medications work beautifully even for short rides to the vet office. Consider this: if every time you got in the car, you went to the doctor, you vomited on the way, and THEN had to get shots or blood samples were drawn, you’d probably really hate the thought of getting in the car. For the animals who become car sick, there are a few antinausea medications. Benedryl will work for some dogs, however, there are a select few who become overly excited from Benedryl doses. I typically recommend giving maropitant (Cerenia) at home 1-2 hours prior to starting a car trip, long or short.
For the anxious creatures, trazodone or gabapentin (anti-anxiety medications) are great options to give 1-2 hours prior to leaving home. If you’re headed to come see us at Aldie, there is an added benefit of already having that anti-anxiety medication on board before you get to the clinic. Please don’t feel strange about giving anti-anxiety medications to these guys who are so incredibly worried at the clinic, or in the car. It is not a reflection on you, your training, or your pet. If you’ve ever experienced any level of anxiety/stress, you know how terrible that feels, and I suspect that our canine and feline friends feel the same. We CAN help these guys with a little “special” snack just a few hours before a trip!
If you are taking your pet on vacation, always make sure that your lodging arrangements permit pets. I also recommend bringing an appropriate kennel to confine your pet if you have to step out of your hotel room, or baby gates to cordon off dangerous areas of a rental house. Depending on when or how you’re traveling, you may also need a health certificate to cross state or international borders. These certificates can take some time to complete, so make sure to check with your veterinarian well in advance of your trip. Ideally, at least have a way to access your dog’s vaccination records (rabies especially!), in the event that your dog needs to see a vet while you’re away from home, or there is some bite or fight incident. Many veterinarians, including Aldie Vet Hospital, have user-friendly apps that allow you to access your pets’ medical records any time, directly from your cell phone.
Always make sure to bring your pets’ medications along and try to keep them on a consistent schedule. I recommend bringing these medications in their ORIGINAL bottles, just in case there’s a need for a new veterinarian to know the dose and drug name. If you’re going on a long trip, remember to check your supply and get refill requests in early.
If you’re not planning to take your pup along on a trip, there are a few options. There are several boarding facilities around, which work well for some pets and often have someone on staff 24/7. These facilities can be loud, and some pets can become very stressed in this type of environment, while others are unfazed and enjoy playing with the other boarders. There are also many in-home pet sitting services, or you may know someone who can stop by, or stay overnight, to watch your pets. In either situation, I recommend pre-arranging an authorization for veterinary care. Aldie Veterinary Hospital has forms which can be filled out ahead of time to authorize your pet sitter/boarding facility to request care for your pet in the event of an emergency. It’s also helpful to create an info sheet for caretakers, including emergency contacts, veterinary clinic number, and medications for each pet.
Happy travels this spring and summer! Share your pictures with us on Facebook and Instagram!
Summer is approaching and like most of us, a vacation is near. As you pack your sunscreen, clothes, towels, and bathing suits think about your furry friends as well. Just like you would for children, assigning a caregiver while you are away takes the stress off of your mind. Most facilities where you take your pets have forms to fill out in the case of an emergency. Here are some questions to ponder before you take your getaway:
Who will be caring for my pet?
What phone numbers should I leave them in the case of an emergency?
Do I have enough food to last the duration of my trip?
With pets that take medications- Do I have enough medication to last for the duration of my trip?
Should I see if the facility has a possibility to leave my Credit Card on file, in the case that my pet sitter has to come in?
Is my pet sitter authorized on my account at the Vet’s Office, in the case of an emergency?
Does my current Vet have an emergency facility?
What are my wishes for CPR in the case that something does happen and are my wishes clear with the sitter?
What is the best facility to meet my pet’s needs for boarding?
Is my pet up to date on all the vaccines required at the facility?
What are my wishes in the case that CPR may need to be performed?
How does the facility feel about medications if my pet needs any?
Is there someone in the building at all hours of the day or just during regular business hours?
Will my pet interact with other pets during their stay?
What is the facilities protocol in the scenario that my pet starts to get sick?
Where will the boarding facility take my pet if medical treatment is needed?
These are just some of the questions that you should think on. Here at Aldie Veterinary Hospital, we offer Emergency Treatment Authorization forms to fill out and add on the account, as well as credit card forms to leave on file. We strive to make your vacation as stress-free as possible. We also have our emergency services through Dulles South Animal Emergency & Referral, all housed in the Dulles South Veterinary Center. Our medical staff is available 24 hours a day. Enjoy a fun-filled summer and please call us if you have any questions at 703-327-0909 or download these forms here.
Other chronic conditions not responding to conventional therapy, including but not limited to: skin allergies and dermatitis; lick granulomas; epilepsy; respiratory conditions; hormonal imbalances; infertility and internal organ dysfunction
Prevention of disease and promotion of well-being, geriatric support, and performance enhancement
Let us pamper your pet at our Day Spa! We provide pet grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats. Our grooming services include:
Clipping and scissor cuts
We provide boarding services for our client’s dogs and cats. Our separate cat and dog wards ensure tranquility for the cats and companionship for the dogs. All of our cages and kennels are indoors and therefore, temperature controlled with installed smoke, heat, and motion detectors. Because boarding is supervised by a veterinarian, you can be comforted that all of your pet’s medications will be properly administered and he or she will receive prompt medical attention, if needed.
Diet and nutrition are important to maintaining your pet’s health. Feeding your pet a specially formulated diet to meet the needs of adulthood helps encourage a long and healthy life. We will provide guidance regarding your pet’s nutritional needs for each life stage, including dietary requirements for growth, weight loss and maintenance, and performance. Please feel free to consult our veterinarians to help you find the right food to fit with your pet’s lifestyle, body condition, and health needs.
If you choose, Aldie Vet will help you provide end-of-life comforting care, to your terminally ill or dying pet. This will allow you to spend quality time at home with your pet until such time as you decide to euthanize or until death occurs. We will provide assistance, as requested, as it relates to pain and symptom control, wound care, problems with incontinence and other aesthetics, and changes in behavior patterns.
When you have reached the extremely difficult decision that there is no quality of your pet’s life or that your pet is suffering, our veterinarians will be there to help you through the process of euthanasia. Please feel free to discuss the process and ask any questions to our veterinarians. They are very familiar with the experience and are able to talk with you about the process and feelings that go with it. Also, please click our Pet Bereavement link for additional information.