4 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

4 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Summer is a wonderful time to pack a bag and set out on an adventure by yourself or with a loved one. For many people, their go-to travel buddy is their dog, cat, or other beloved pet. Whether you’re flying or taking a road trip to a fun destination with your furry friend, planning a trip involving your pet requires research and preparation to ensure your animal gets the care it needs during your vacation. Continue reading to learn four tips for traveling with your pet.

A brown dog in a carrier on a train with his owner

Secure Your Pet

If traveling with your pet conjures up images of them riding shotgun with their head hanging out the window and ears flapping in the wind, you might want to rethink that idea. One of the most important aspects of traveling with your pet is making sure they are safely secured in a carrier or on a special harness, depending on their size.

Securing your pet will keep both of you safe by preventing driver distraction, injuries, and the chance of escape if an accident occurs. Also, make sure that your pet has a collar and ID tag with your name and phone number so people can contact you in case they are temporarily separated from you during the vacation.

Make Frequent Stops

Traveling requires intermittent stops to use the bathroom, stretch your legs, and drink water, and the same goes for your pet. Before you leave for your vacation, map out pet-friendly rest stops with lots of space for your pet to burn off extra energy, and be sure to bring along some food, a water bowl, and a waste scoop. If you have a dog, pack extra doggy bags in case there are not any available at the rest stop to keep the area clean for other guests.

Most importantly, never leave your pet alone in the car – even for a few minutes with the window open. Your car can overheat or freeze faster than you think and endanger your pet’s life. If you are traveling alone with your pet, plan out locations that allow your pet to come with you.

Follow the Rules

Airlines, trains, hotels, and other travel accommodations have special rules regarding pets, so it’s important to do your research beforehand so you know what equipment and documents to bring, if applicable. For example, if you plan on flying with your pet, you may have to pre-arrange your travel with the airline, as they typically regulate how many and what size pets can travel in the cabin.

You may also have to show a health certificate and proof of vaccinations and potentially purchase a pet carrier in a specific size with soft sides. Check with your airline or hotel for the exact rules and potential pet fees.

A veterinarian and vet assistant examine a white Boxer dog in a pet clinic

Keep Pets Relaxed and Protected

Travel can be stressful for some pets, especially if they associate car rides with trips to the vet. This may require calming medications to keep them calm and comfortable if they suffer from travel anxiety and carsickness. You may also want to schedule an appointment with our team to assess your pet’s needs and determine what medications they should take, if any. We can also confirm that they are up to date on their vaccinations and heartworm, flea, and tick medications.

If you will be traveling with your pet soon, we would be happy to help you with any questions to ensure your vacation is enjoyable for everyone involved! Contact us today at 701-757-3500.

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Protect your Pet Against Heartworms, Fleas, and Ticks

Protect your Pet Against Heartworms, Fleas, and Ticks

As excited as we are for the arrival of spring, we can’t forget about the hazards outside that can potentially harm our pets. Let’s learn about what we should be aware of when our four-legged friends are playing on those green fields.

HEARTWORMS

Heartworms are parasitic worms that can affect the lungs, heart and blood vessels of our pets. They can be painful and potentially fatal if not treated. Dogs, and occasionally cats, are susceptible to heartworm disease, which is passed through mosquitoes.

Limit Exposure

More time outside means more potential for mosquitoes to prey on your pets, but you can’t simply use insect repellents on animals as they can be toxic to dogs and cats. Instead, protect your furry friends against mosquito bites by keeping them indoors during high-risk time periods, removing stagnant water in your yard, and keeping them away from marshy areas.

Testing & Preventative Medications

GVAH recommends bringing in your pet yearly for heartworm testing – early detection of this disease is the key to minimizing lasting damage that can be done to your dog’s quality of life. We also recommend a year-round prescription preventative medication regimen to help protect your pet.

For dogs, we offer heartworm preventatives like Interceptor® Plus to help stop heartworms, tapeworms, and other worms before they become an issue. For cats, we offer Bravecto® Plus for protection from fleas and ticks, plus prevents heartworm disease and treats intestinal worms. Contact us for more information about heartworms and necessary prevention.

FLEAS

Fleas may not seem like a big deal, but along with itching, scratching, and potential hair loss, your pet could receive skin allergies and other parasites like tapeworms from these pesky parasites. Fleas tend to live in the same shady, protected areas that your animals love to lie down in outside.

Once a flea infestation has taken hold of your pet’s fur, your home is likely to become a flea circus as well. Treating your home and yard when infestations occur will help to break the cycle but treating your pet regularly is the best way to stop fleas in their tracks before they make a new home on your pet’s fur. Oral or topical preventatives will save you money, time, and flea frustration in the long run.

TICKS

Ticks and tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease, can be spread through humans and animals. Lyme disease left untreated can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system and create painful arthritis. In addition to vaccinating your pet annually for Lyme disease, deter ticks and fleas with a topical or an oral medication such as Credelio® for dogs and Bravecto® Plus for cats.

PREVENTION

What can you use to protect your pets from these pests and your pocketbook from costly treatment for these diseases? At Grand Valley, we work to find the best option for you and your animals. We offer the most powerful, convenient preventatives available that will help to keep your dog or cat safe and healthy in the fight against pesky parasites.

Simparica TrioTM provides your dog with the most advanced parasite preventative benefits in a single easy-to-give, liver-flavored monthly chewable that can be given with or without food. This simple solution prevents heartworm disease, kills fleas and ticks, while also treating and controlling roundworms and hookworms in your pet, and is safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks old that weigh at least 2.8 lbs. 

BRAVECTO® PLUS offers your cat protection from fleas and ticks, plus prevents heartworm disease and treats intestinal worms, including roundworms and hookworms. This premium product helps to ease the stress of treatment by offering convenient long-lasting, single topical doses that last 2 months.

To learn more about these or any other pet preventative medications we offer, or order prescription refills, don’t hesitate to contact our staff at GVAH. If you require a specific product, take a look at our online store. We offer a wide variety of options and are more than happy to assist you in finding the right items for your pet.

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Pet Safety for the Cold Weather Blues

Pet Safety for the Cold Weather Blues

When the snow is falling along with the temperature, that combination can bring problems that those of us in cold-weather climates know all too well. Your furry friends are no exception. When the cold winds blow, follow some of these top tips to keep your pet safe in the winter, even when it is snowing cats and dogs outside.

Frolic and Play the Safest Way

When the cold winds come knocking, it is best to be prepared. While some pets love playing in the snow, others are more content to stay curled up by the fireplace. Know your pet’s limits and always monitor them while they spend time outside.

Boy and dog walking outside in winter.

If you’re wondering how cold is too cold for your pet, use this handy chart as a reference. It is important to remember that if your pet is left outside in harsh conditions for too long, they are prone to become hypothermic or develop frostbite. If your dog has a thick undercoat and is a breed built for cold weather, such as the Siberian Husky or Malamute, they still need a well-insulated dog house and a high-fat, high-protein performance diet to be able to tolerate the cold. Even then, they should be inside during the bitter cold and at night.

Don’t forget about winter wardrobe; if you need a special winter coat, your furry friend may need one as well, especially if they are a small or shorthaired breed. Booties are also an option to protect your pet’s paws from becoming too cold and being injured by sharp ice and de-icing chemicals.

Whenever your pet comes in from a walk or backyard snow session, make sure to wipe down their feet, legs, and belly, and thoroughly check their paws to remove ice, and chemicals and check for pad injury. Always be vigilant in recognizing problems and making sure that your pet is safe in harsh temperatures.

Symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Anxiety
  • Looking for warm places to burrow
  • Shivering
  • Slowed or stopped movement
  • Weakness
  • Whining
Cat in snow.

Protection from the Cold

The winter woes don’t affect just your pet; to an outdoor or stray animal, a warm vehicle engine can be a cozy bed for the night, but it can also be deadly. Make sure to check underneath the car, bang the hood, and honk your horn before starting your car each morning, to warn off would-be nesters from your engine.

Winter can also spell trouble in the form of poison, from antifreeze and ice melt salt to hot chocolate. Make sure you clean up messes quickly and never give pets seasonal treats that are potentially toxic.

Winter Wellness

Being from the Midwest, we know that winter weather is the harshest of the year, and extra precautions must be taken when it comes to health and safety.

All pets need a yearly vet visit for a check-up, and making sure yours is up-to-date before the snow falls is essential to address health concerns, especially those that can be aggravated by the change in temperature and staying inside (ahem…hibernation) for the season. For example, pets with arthritis may have flare-ups as the weather changes, and very young or old pets have different needs when it comes to cold tolerance.

Small puppy in snow.

Another thing to consider is food and exercise changes for your pet. It’s tempting to think that gaining some winter weight can provide added insulation from the cold, but the truth is extra weight can be detrimental to their health and is not worth the risk. While it is a good idea to change your pet’s food in the winter for added generation of body heat and energy if they spend a lot of time outdoors, consult with an expert before making the transition.

Also, the extra time indoors can be a problem when it comes to pets at risk for obesity. If your pet is at risk, talk to your veterinarian about a diet and exercise plan that will work for the lifestyle changes that winter brings.

The winter wonderland outside can be both magical and menacing, but we want to keep the winter blues away for both you and your furry friend; if you notice any signs of hypothermia or frostbite, it is essential to contact a veterinarian right away. We’re here to help – contact us at 701.757.3500.

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