Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Summer 2012
Are you and your pet ready?
It is a fact that living in the Gulf Coast area we will at some point experience the devastating effects of a tropical storm and/or hurricane. It’s important to have a plan in place for your pets since they rely on us for survival. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your precious four-footed family members. We recommend all pet owners create a checklist and assemble your own hurricane supply kits. Warnings of hurricanes or other disasters may be issued hours, even days, in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready. Here are some tips and recommendations.
- Arrange for family or friends to shelter you and your pet inland, away from the storm. Have your evacuation route planned and marked on a map.
- For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets. Some hotels/motels will change their “no pet policies” during emergency situations.
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and that you have a current copy of the Vaccine Certificate. We also recommend you have a copy of the pet’s medical records and other important documentation along with the vaccine certificate. You might want to put these documents into a plastic, watertight bag such as a zip-lock baggie.
- Include pictures of you and pet family member in your emergency pet kit. Make sure each picture is clearly marked on the back with their name and all of your information.
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags and label all your pet’s belongings. Consider having your pet micro-chipped in case you accidentally become separated during the confusion of an emergency event or evacuation. Proper identification will increase the chances of a safe return home. Click here for more information on micro-chipping.
- Plan on having one to two weeks supply of food and water in airtight containers. Include a hand operated can opener if you have can food. Check periodically and replace with fresh as needed. Stress or eating different food can cause diarrhea in pets, especially dogs. If your pet experiences loose stools, make sure fresh water is available at all times. Allow him/her out frequently to reduce the risk of car problems.
- Have enough water for your pet that is separate from the water you will have available for yourself in emergencies.
- Food and water bowls for each pet.
- One to two weeks supply of all medications your pet is taking clearly labeled with clear instructions. Be sure to include flea and heartworm preventatives. Check these supplies periodically and adjust and replenish as needed.
- Bring an appropriate-sized carrier for your pet. Your pet should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably. Clearly label this carrier with pet’s name, your name, address and phone number. Keep each pet in a separate carrier, confining smaller pets away from larger ones. Get pets accustomed to the carrier ahead of time. Keep the carrier in an easily accessible place. Make sure your pet is used to wearing a leash and collar/halter. You will want to use the leash at all times when out and about (even if you usually do not.)
- Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along. Bear in mind that pets react differently under stress. Never leave your pet unattended. Even the most trustworthy pets may panic, try to escape, or even bite or scratch.
- Dry towels or blanket to line carrier and/or use as bedding.
- Your pet’s favorite treats and toys.
- Roll of paper towels, a pooper-scooper and plastic bags.
- Litter and litter boxes for cats. Disposable litter boxes are available, but empty soft drink boxes or disposable aluminum pans are good alternatives.
- Additional items such as flashlights with extra batteries, a battery operated phone charger and a battery operated radio to receive important weather/evacuation updates.
A Short List of Pet Friendly Hotels:
For additional information, click here.
Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke
By Traci McCullough, DVM
The summer months are upon us and many of us are looking for ways to cool down. Not only is it hot for us during the summer, it is also hot for our pets. When an animal’s internal temperature becomes elevated (hyperthermia), it can cause heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Animals do not sweat the way humans do to release heat. The predominant way that animals expel heat is by panting. Only a little heat is lost by sweating on the foot pads and the nose. Once an animal’s temperature reaches 106°F damage to the body becomes irreversible and may even lead to death. A pet’s normal temperature should be between 100°F and 102°F. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very serious conditions that require immediate action to prevent death. It is important to know the signs of heat stroke and also implement preventative measures to help ensure the safety of your pet.
Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- heavy panting
- hyperventilation (deep breathing)
- increased salivation early then gums may become dry
- confusion, disorientation, or inattention
- vomiting or diarrhea (sometimes both)
- sometimes bleeding
As the condition progresses towards heat stroke there may be:
- paleness or graying to the gums
- shallow breathing
- slowed or absent breathing efforts
- bloody vomiting and diarrhea
- seizures or coma
What you should do in the event that these signs occur:
Remove your pet from the hot area immediately then begin lowering the body temperature by thoroughly wetting your pet with COOL water and then use a fan to increase air movement (Do not use cold water as this can cause the capillaries to constrict, preventing blood flow from reaching the skin and further increasing the internal temperature). Take your pet’s temperature every 5-minutes until the body temperature reaches 103°F. Once the body temperature is 103°F; cooling measures should be stopped, your pet dried, and then take them immediately to the veterinarian for further treatment.
Animals with mild heatstroke often recover without any complications. They should not exercise for two weeks after an episode of heat stroke due to the possibility of low platelets as a result of the heatstroke. Unfortunately some animals suffer permanent damage to organs that might need ongoing care from your veterinarian. Animals that have suffered heatstroke are more likely to get it again.
Prevention is the best tool for keeping your animal healthy during the summer months. Any animal that cannot properly cool themselves are at risk for heatstroke. Prevention includes:
- Never leaving your pet in the car on a warm day. Temperatures can rise to 140°F in a matter of a few minutes.
- Keeping pets with heart disease, obesity, older age, breathing problems, brachycephalic breeds, or other predisposing factors in a cool environment.
- Always allowing access to water and shade while outside. For dogs that like the water, a hard plastic kiddie pool is an excellent idea.
- Avoid strenuous exercise on hot days.
Traveling with Pets
By Sarah Diaz
When traveling with pets there are many things that need to be looked into before hitting the road. First of all, make sure the pet is up to date on all vaccines and have a copy of the latest vaccine certificate that specifically shows the last Rabies vaccination given. If traveling across state lines by airplane, check with the airlines to see if a health certificate is required. If so, Claws &Paws Veterinary Hospital® has doctors on staff who can provide that service. However, please note that a health certificate is only good for ten days. Keep that in mind for the return trip in case another health certificate will be required from the destination point back to Pearland. If the destination is outside the continental US, contact that consulate (if needed) for that particular country’s requirements. An international health certificate is required and some countries require a quarantine period before entering or leaving. It is always advisable to research all the required information before traveling with a pet. Claws & Paws Vet Hospital® does not provide international health certificates. There are other veterinary hospitals/clinics in the area that will provide an international health certificate.
The two most common ways to travel with a pet is by car or airplane. In either case, a pet carrier is a must. In the car, this is to ensure the pet’s safety. An airline, whether the pet is traveling in the back of the plane or under the seat in the passenger area, requires a carrier. When purchasing a pet carrier, it should have enough room for the pet stand up and turn around comfortably. A hard crate is recommended at all times for the safety it provides. However, if traveling by car, a soft-sided carrier will work. It just does not provide the safety of the hard carrier in case there is an accident.
Prior to hitting the road, we recommend that research is done on pet friendly lodging. (See hurricane article on the first page for a list of websites that are pet friendly hotel/motels.) Consider requesting the first floor for access purposes. That makes it easier when it’s time to go potty or exercise. Also, remember to inquire about any additional fees, banned breeds, limit amounts and if there is a deposit (some of these are refundable if no damage is incurred.)
Claws & Paws Vet Hospital® recommends acclimating the pet to the crate well ahead of departure time. Start making the crate a pleasant and comfortable space so the pet is more willing to go in it and stay in it for longer periods of time. Start by leaving the pet in the crate for 10-15 minute at home. Reward them and make a big fuss when the pet comes out of the crate.
This will send the message that staying in the crate is a good thing. Gradually increase the time left in the crate each time until the pet is able to remain for a good amount of time without accidents and without crying. This is very important when taking a long flight or going somewhere that will require your pet to be left alone for long periods of time.
It is better to not feed the pet the morning of travel to avoid motion sickness and possible vomiting. If the departure time is later in the day, it is okay to feed a very small amount that morning. Just make sure there is sufficient time for the pet to have a bowel movement before departure (5-6 hours minimum.) Water is okay but we recommend small amounts especially if taking a flight so the pet does not have to go potty while in flight. Make sure to have appropriate bedding for whatever temperature ranges the pet will encounter. For example, if the pet will be in cargo, the pet may need something warm.
Make sure to provide comfort toys as well as a time consuming toys such as a rawhide or Kong filled with peanut butter (if traveling by car.) This will help pass the time. However, make sure the pet does not get car sick if planning on providing treats. If the pet is snacking we recommend stopping every two hours for a potty break. Even if no treats are provided, we recommend stopping every three hours to allow for a potty break and exercise time out of the crate.
Please make sure the carrier has secure latches with all necessary information provided: pet’s name, gender, age, owner’s name, address and phone numbers where they are available while traveling. Be sure by the travel date that the pet is acclimated to both the carrier and a collar/leash.
Planning ahead and taking the steps recommended will help to ensure all members including the four-footed variety, have a great trip/vacation. Please look below for a checklist that will make things easier for traveling with a pet.
- Use a collar/halter with a leash to prevent injury, avoid loss, and as a consideration for other people. It will take time to acclimate the pet to this if there has not been a regular use of a collar/halter with the leash.
- Crate train the pet well ahead of time. The crate will help protect the pet in case of an accident.
- Be sure the pet wears a collar, Rabies Tag, and ID tag in case the pet becomes accidentally lost. A microchip is strongly recommended for traveling. Click here for more information on microchipping.
- Sudden diet changes are the most common causes of vomiting and diarrhea. Never assume that your pet’s food will be available away from home. Carry an amount of pet food to last two days into the travel plans and stick to as normal a feeding schedule as possible.
- Take with you any prescription medications the pet may need.
- Take the pet’s vaccination records and rabies certificate. Be sure to have a health certificate if needed but keep in mind that it only lasts for ten days. If the travel time away is longer than ten days, a return health certificate may be needed.
- When driving, stop every three hours to exercise and give some water. Remember to use a leash at all times.
- Tranquilizers and car sickness medications are available from Claws & Paws Vet Hospital. However®, if the pet has never had these, we recommend testing the pet’s tolerance and needed dosage well ahead of time. Most of these medications work best if given on an empty stomach. We recommend only feeding the pet once each day’s destination has been reached.
- Be responsible for the pet’s eliminations. Carry a supply of plastic bags which can be placed on the hand – then turned inside out after the stool is grasped in the hand. There are also commercial travel bags available.
- Never leave the pet unattended in the car, even on cool days.
- Consider the feelings of others before taking your pet to visit friends or relatives. Be sure there are no allergy problems and make sure your host really does not mind the pet visiting as well.
Pearland Animal Control Partnership
by Dorian Strickland
Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital®, in conjunction with the other Pearland Area Veterinary Clinics work closely with Pearland Animal Control to help spay and neuter all pets adopted through their facility at a reduced rate. Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital® feels this is a cause worthy of our time and do so for the citizens of Pearland. Should you be in the market for a new puppy or kitty, Pearland Animal Control is a great resource, and they have lots of cute puppies and kitties ready to adopt.
In addition to adopting out pets, the facility does a fantastic job of reuniting lost pets with owners. Over the past eight months, Pearland Animal Control has been able to reunite more than 200 lost pets with their owners. Pearland Animal Control uses all resources available including newspaper postings and internet blogs (such as Craigslist) to help owners find their missing pets, although, it is far easier for them to reunite lost pets when they have been registered with the City of Pearland Animal Control or microchipped.
The citizens of Pearland are lucky to have such a fantastic Animal Control facility and staff that works diligently to reunite lost pets with owners. All of the local veterinarians in the area work closely with Pearland Animal Control to help the citizens of Pearland find their lost canine and feline family members. If you have lost a pet, in addition to contacting your veterinary hospital, please contact Pearland Animal Control at 281-652-1970 or email.