Planning a Trip with Fido or Fluffy? Experts Give Pet Travel Tips

Posted on January 31, 2012. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , |

Travelhoppers – a Web site dedicated to providing free travel planning resources coupled with travel expert insight and advice – is pleased to unveil its “Let Us Mail You a Cat (or Dog)” campaign and reveal five tips for encouraging safe travel with pets.  As part of the campaign, consumers can register for a chance to win a dog or cat of their very own! Learn More

1.  Avoid “Pop-Up” Pet Carriers: One common mistake that travelers make when purchasing their animal carriers before a trip, is falling for the “deal” and purchasing the super affordable “pop-up” pet carriers that are advertised as being ultra-lightweight and compact as they can be easily folded and tucked away at the end of the day.  While it’s true that these carriers are more affordable than traditional plastic crates, carriers and kennels, they are in actuality a real safety hazard for animals both large and small.  What the advertisers DON’T tell you, is that these budget pop-up carriers are extremely flimsy, nearly impossible to carry and can collapse while your animal is inside of them at the drop of a dime.  If you are planning to travel with pets, spend a little more money to purchase a durable kennel (preferably made of water-resistant plastic) with wire doors and windows for extra security and ventilation.  Not only are these plastic kennels more easy to clean and maintain, but they will not collapse when luggage slightly shifts in your car or onboard a plane, they have carry handles for easy transport, they come in all sizes and will be a life-long investment that is well-worth the extra money spent.  If traveling by plane, call the airline in advance to request their animal crate requirements and specifications to ensure you’ll have no difficulties boarding your animal.

2. Pack A Pet First-Aid Kit/Travel Bag:  Prior to departing on a trip with your pet, preparation is key.  Pack a separate bag for your pet that contains drinking water, enough food for several days, an extra leash, plastic bags to pick-up after your pet, cleaning supplies, first aid kit and one or two of your animal’s favorite toys from home.  Don’t assume that the destination you’re visiting will have a pet supply store within a short driving distance or will have your pet’s specific food brand in stock, so pack these “travel essentials” for your pet just in case.  Some important things to have on hand for first aid kit supplies include clean towels and cloths, nonstick bandages, adhesive tape, gauze and clean water.

3. Obtain Veterinarian Records In Advance:  Ask your veterinarian for copies of your pet’s medical records and proof of vaccinations (especially a valid rabies certificate) that you can keep close on hand, should any emergencies arise while you’re away.  You’ll want to call at least one month in advance to ensure your veterinarian has enough time to make these medical record copies for you.  If traveling with an exotic animal, ask your veterinarian to provide your pet with an exam and health certificate and make sure you have the appropriate documentation in order to cross state or country lines with your animal.

4. Do Your Destination Homework:  When traveling across state and country lines, it’s essential to have a valid rabies vaccine certificate on-hand. It’s also important to ensure your animal is in good health – as many countries require a signed certificate of health and some will even require an automatic veterinary inspection for all pets crossing the border.  Do your research before traveling with a pet abroad.  Some countries quarantine pets (for days and even months) before allowing the animal into their country.  Some cities, states and countries also have restrictions on the types of exotic animals you’re allowed to bring with you, so contact the individual destinations you’re planning to visit (or those you will be driving through) to ensure that you have the proper documentation for your pet, as well as to learn more about their possible quarantine procedures, exotic animal restrictions, mandatory microchip policies and more.  It’s also recommended to microchip your animal prior to your trip to avoid losing your pet while traveling.

5. Research Animal Restrictions & Fees for Pet-Friendly Hotels:  Many hotels advertise as being pet-friendly these days, however, that does not mean that all animals will be warmly welcomed upon their arrival.  Before booking rooms at a hotel that claims to be “pet-friendly,” call the hotel in advance to find out if they have specific animal restrictions, a maximum number of allowable pets per room and fees associated with pet stays. Additionally, have one pet-friendly hotel “back-up” plan for each destination on your travel itinerary should any problems arise with your original hotel reservations or their pet policies upon arrival.  If traveling across country and making nightly hotel reservations on a whim, one great resource to keep in your car is “The AAA PetBook” – which is an on-the-road-guide for traveling with pets that has more than 13,000 pet-friendly hotels and campground selections by destination location across North America.

This roundup of pet travel tips was compiled by Travelhoppers’ Founder, Richard Earls, and his team of highly knowledgeable travel experts and travel writers that regularly contribute to the Travelhoppers blog.

 

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Confessions of a Guide Dog – The Blonde Leading the Blind

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , |

Confessions of a Guide Dog – The Blonde Leading the Blind

By Mark Carlson and Musket

Have you ever wondered about Guide Dogs?  How do they know where to go?  Do they understand traffic lights?  Where are they allowed?

And most important, how does a blind owner find the poop?

These and many other strange questions are answered in Confessions of a Guide Dog.  It tells the remarkable story of a man and his little buddy in a way no book ever has.

It only takes a glance at the title to tell the reader this is not a typical dog book.  For one thing, the dog has a job.

Secondly, he definitely has a fetish for treats and belly rubs.  He attracts women like Hugh Jackman in a thong, and the most amazing things seem to happen around him.

Musket helped write the book, to make sure the facts were told his way.

But Mark managed to squeeze the truth in here and there, since he was the only one who could type.

Musket is not only cute and lovable, he’s a great Guide Dog who has accompanied Mark all over the country, met celebrities and astronauts, been featured in several articles and television news, but also changed the lives of people with disabilities.

So sit back, relax and prepare to hear some very revealing confessions.

You may never look at an Assistance animal the same way again.

This is their story.

The book is available at:

Amazon.com
iunverse.com
barnesandnoble.com

For more on Musket, please visit: http://musketmania.com/

Also, check out the video Petopiatv produced: Musket the Inspirational Guide Dog

The team at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Courtesy Linda Stull All Rights Reserved

“Houston, I have a problem. I have to pee!” Courtesy Linda Stull All Rights Reserved

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Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season…

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , |

SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority; www.seaaca.org) has released a helpful list of tips for pet owners to keep their animals safe this holiday season.  Holiday gatherings and celebrations are great for people, but they can at times pose problems for pets.  SEAACA’s tips to help pets and pet owners enjoy the festivities are:

  •  Watch the Decorations.  Decking the halls is fun, but it also can be dangerous to pets.  Make sure electric cords and candles are out of reach of dogs and cats.  Remember that pets can easily eat ornaments and tinsel.  Also, poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and many other holiday plants can be toxic to dogs or cats.
  • Wrap It Up.  While gifts and giftwrap can make the holidays very festive, beware of bells, ribbons, small toys, and other items that could be choking hazards for your pet.
  • No “Roasting on an Open Fire.”  Fireplaces, candles, and hearths are great for chestnuts and holiday gatherings, but they can be dangerous to wandering or excited pets.  Make sure all fire sources are monitored and pets don’t have the opportunity to accidentally knock over a candle or anything else.
  • Don’t Supersize Them.  Do not feed your pet human food.  But, if you do, avoid giving large amounts of food during the holidays.  Humans are much larger and heavier than dogs and cats and can handle bigger food servings.   Our pets cannot.  During the holidays, it’s very easy to forget and over feed pets, upsetting their digestive system and compromising their health.
  • Rich Foods Lead to Poor Health.  Holiday foods can be filled with spices and seasonings and can cause health problems in pets.  Human holiday treats, which are not good for pets, include buttery foods, nuts, candy, and chocolate, all of which can be very toxic to some animals.  Just try to keep your pets on their regular schedule with their regular food.
  • No Paws on the Bubbly.  Pets and alcohol don’t mix.  Keep the champagne, wine, and other drinks out of reach of pets, which might sneak in a sip only to find they are very sick afterwards.
  • “Ain’t” Too Proud to Beg.  As pets become accustomed to human food, they can learn irritating begging habits.  These habits can be rude to family members and guests during holiday time.   Try to keep pet meals in a separate room with designated pet food rather than human leftovers.
  • Adding A New Member To The Family.   Many families choose the holidays to give a pet as a gift or to add a new pet to the family animal population.  There are many wonderful “adoption” events at SEAACA and with SEAACA partners during December.  Remember, time and effort are needed to acclimate a pet to a new environment throughout the year – the holidays are a special challenge requiring even more time and attention.



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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Fido and Fluffy

Posted on November 16, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The holidays are a time to share wonderful meals with family and friends.  For pets, however, the risk of overfeeding and eating dangerous food items during the holiday season can pose significant health risks.  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s and beyond, the food keeps coming and the guests revel, but the pets can suffer.  To help resolve this holiday dilemma, SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, www.seaaca.org) has created a list of tips to help pet owners enjoy their holiday meals while maintaining their pet’s health and welfare.

·      Don’t Supersize Them. Please do not feed your pet human food. But, if you do, avoid giving large amounts of cooked turkey or ham during the holidays. Humans are much larger and heavier than dogs and cats and can handle bigger food servings; our pets cannot. During the holidays, it’s very easy to forget this and overfeed pets, thus upsetting their digestive system and compromising their health.  Should you feed your pet human food, also avoid food that has been out of the refrigerator for a long period of time. Pets need to be protected against food that is undercooked or subject to spoilage because of lack of refrigeration.

·      Watch the Richness. Holiday food can be filled with spices and seasonings, which can cause health problems in pets. Try to keep you pets on their regular schedule with their regular food.  

·      Ain’t To Proud to Beg. As pets become accustomed to human food, they can learn irritating begging habits that can be rude to family members and guests during mealtimes. Try to keep pet meals in a separate room with designated pet food rather than human leftovers.

·      No Bones About It. Do not feed pets bones, particularly chicken, turkey and other poultry bones. Bones can break apart cause intestinal pain, and sometimes choking, in pets. 

·      Sweet Are Not Treats. Candy and highly sugary items can wreak havoc on a pet’s diet. Also, candy wrappers can be eaten by dogs and cats and can result in choking or digestive pain.

·      Beware of Non-Edibles. During the hustle and bustle of holiday meals, it’s easy to lose track of pets. Make sure you keep an eye on them so that they’re not eating non-edible items, such as food packaging or gift wrap, that might have fallen to the floor or left somewhere in the home.

·      Treat Dogs and Cats As Individuals. If you have both dogs and cats, remember that they might have different dietary preferences, and that they need different portion sizes. Use discretion and don’t hand out holiday leftovers blindly. 

“Holidays meals are special family moments, but they can be a problem for pets,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “If we remember to prevent overfeeding and to use discretion when giving pets meals during this festive season, everyone will benefit,” he added.
 
For more information about SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org
 

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DON’T LET YOUR PET SUFFER THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL BLUES!

Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , |

SEAACA Provides Smart and Practical Tips to Help Beloved Animals Stay Happy and Secure as Families Head Back to School

Dogs, cats and other pets can suffer separation anxiety, especially during the fall.  As kids start a new academic year, pets around the country may need help to adjust from a freewheeling summer of fun and a house full of people to lonely days waiting for children to return from school or adults to come home from work.  For these situations, SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority; www.seaaca.org) has created a list of behaviors to look for, as well as solutions to help alleviate the back-to-school blues.

Many behaviors can signal a pet’s anxiety or sadness because of a shift from a summer to a school schedule.  These behaviors may include:

  • Excessive pacing, barking or meowing
  • Urinating or defecating in the home or in unapproved areas
  • Escape attempts
  • Destruction of furniture or toys
  • Unusual chewing, digging or other frantic behavior


If such behaviors are evident, pet owners can take specific measures to help their animals.  Some strategies to consider include:

  • Introduce short separations to help your pet become accustomed to the upcoming schedule change
  • Foster your pet’s independence by helping him or her play alone with toys and other activities
  • When your pet is alone, leave her or him an interactive toy via a food dispenser, such as the Kong
  • Do not punish or scold your pet for unusual behavior during the adjustment period (the behavior could be rooted in fear, and punishment could exacerbate that insecurity)
  • If the behavior does not improve, seek the help of an animal behaviorist or your local veterinarian


“Back-to-school is a wonderful time for families, but it can be anxiety-provoking for pets, especially for some shelter pets who haven’t had stable homes before,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison.  “If pet owners know what to look for and are equipped with preventive and healing techniques, this annual rite of fall can be more pleasant for everyone,” he added.

For more information about SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org.

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The Best of Today’s Dogg

Posted on May 8, 2011. Filed under: 2. Fun Pet Stuff We're Trying | Tags: , , , , , |

The Best of Today's Dogg

Recently, I read a charming book called The Best of Today’s Dogg.  The author is award-winning cartoonist, Guy Gilchrist – who has written 48 children’s books, was the cartoonist of the comic strips “Nancy” and the “MUPPETS” and was the character designer for Tom & Jerry, Pink Panther, Looney Tunes & Disney.

The book is about 140 pages and only took me about 30 minutes to read.  Guy does a great job of capturing the wonderful personalities of dogs and cats.  The cartoons are funny, heart warming, intelligent and witty.  Any dog owner can relate to this book!  I found myself laughing out loud in my bed, as I thought of my own dog, cat and their relationship.  Some of the cartoons make you reflect, some melt your heart, some make you tear up, some make you giggle – but all make you want to hug your dog!

This book is yet another example of how dogs make the world a better place and how we are blessed to have one in our home.  I loved taking time out of my busy day to just simply enjoy a book full of spirit and remind myself just how special a friendship I have with my dog and cat.  It gives you some humorous insight of what dogs might be thinking if we could get into their heads.  Between chew toys and treats to loyalty and unbreakable bonds, and of course, getting into mischief, you will find yourself saying, “That’s so true” or “My dog does that!”

The best part of Today’s Dogg is a portion of proceeds go to pet rescue organizations.

I give this book and its mission four paws up!

For more information, please visit The Best of Today’s Dogg

– Michelle Brubaker

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Stuff on my mind

Posted on December 30, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life, 3. Trainer On Call | Tags: , , |

I noticed Michelle and Nina updated the site today, and was checking out the new stories.  I just wanted to share how much it touched me reading about David Dayan Fisher’s new book Puppy School.  I am sure I am a little biased since NCIS is my favorite show, and I can’t  watch enough reruns of it, but it really touched me that Fisher wrote the book, and is donating 1/2 of his proceeds to In Defense of Animals.  What a cool story, I can’t wait to check out the book.

Only a couple of days away from the new year.  Please be safe everyone, keep people food and drinks away from your pets, and if your pets don’t like a lot of commotion, confine them to a quiet area with lots of their toys and blankets.  Have a great New Year!!!

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Hollywood Villain Has Heart for Puppies

Posted on December 28, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , |

Hollywood Villain Has a Heart for Puppies

By day he is a Russian terrorist on NCIS, but by night, David Dayan Fisher is penning childrens’ books about puppies.

A British actor who often plays villains in TV shows like 24, Fisher reveals his softer side in the upcoming childrens’ chapter book, Puppy School (Sunnyfields Publishing).

After becoming a dog rescue advocate nine years ago, the book was literally a dream for Fisher.

“I was at dinner with friends one evening and joked that their dog should go to puppy school since he was so wild,” says Fisher. “That night, I had a dream about the story of Puppy School from start to finish and immediately wrote it down the next morning.”

Burton and Monkey are two pups from very different backgrounds. Burton is a pedigree, a perfect chocolate lab, who, as part of the canine elite, goes to Puppy School. It’s a place where pedigree dogs earn their “dogree.” Monkey, on the other hand, is a mutt, whose coat looks like an “accident in a paint factory.” Despite being told that mutts do not attend Puppy School, he sneaks in anyway.

A heartwarming story of determination and equality, the two dogs go on to forge an unlikely friendship. Burton takes Monkey under his wing, and after several mishaps, including a terrifying stay in the puppy prison, Muttly Manor, both pups end up earning their dogrees and learn they are not so different afterall.

About Puppy School, director/producer, Jon Turteltaub says, “David’s massive heart is all over this beautiful and bold story.”

Burton and Monkey are the names of Fisher’s real-life rescue dogs, who he says actually rescued him from a not-so-glamorous life in Hollywood that resulted in drinking and depression. Supporting rescue dogs has become Fisher’s passion and he will donate 50 percent of the proceeds from Puppy School to In Defense of Animals (IDA).

For more information, please visit www.PuppySchoolTheBook.com.





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European Pet Love

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

My Furry Buddy in Venice

My husband and I just got back from a 17 day Europe trip, and it was incredible! It was truly trains, planes and automobiles – a wonderful adventure! We went to Italy, Hungary and France. That was the longest we’ve been away from our pets, and I must say after a few days, I needed a pet fix! Thank goodness in Murano (an island off of Venice) I met such a cute dog. I never found out his name, but he greeted tourists who came to the glass blowing demonstration. His owners make a living by blowing glass into the most beautiful vases, statues and chandeliers.

Glass Blowing in Murano

The dog was friendly and well behaved. I loved petting him! It made me miss my dog and cat.

Germie and Caesar

In Ajka, Hungary while visiting my relatives for the first time, I got to meet Germie (dog) and  Caesar (cat). Although Germie had owners who take good care of him, he loves my aunt and uncle, who spoil him with belly rubs and food over the fence. Germie and Caesar get along really well – it’s very sweet!

We noticed that the pets in Europe, even the few strays we saw, were healthy and happy. We learned that the people in the areas we visited are big animal advocates, and this made my heart sing! I did notice that there were quite a few homeless people with pets in Paris. Although the pets looked healthy, and I’m sure they are great companions to the men and women who live on the streets, I don’t believe that is the ideal lifestyle for those animals. In some cases, it was obvious that the pets were used as a means to get money from those passing by. We saw one homeless man with kittens and puppies.

However, for the most part, Europe seemed extremely pet friendly, which made my experience there that much better!

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My Heart is with Shelter Pets

Posted on October 31, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Today I went to the shelter with my sister to help her find the perfect little dog.  I volunteer at the San Diego Humane Society and absolutely love it, but as I walked through the halls today and looked at all those beautiful faces with soulful eyes looking back at me, it just broke my heart to know they were all waiting for homes. I wish I could adopt them all. It makes me sad to know that for whatever reason, these innocent pets were given up. I don’t want to judge anyone who had to make that difficult decision, and I respect the fact that they took their pet to a shelter, which is the responsible thing to do. However, it still tugs at my heart strings when I see these homeless pets. I wonder what their past life was like – What was their home like? What have they experienced before they arrived at the shelter? What are they thinking now? When I see them in their habitats, I envision them in a loving, warm home, wagging their tails with a smiling family. Pets are my passion. I want every one to be happy and healthy and experience a full life. Our shelters do the best they can, but it’s not the same as a home. I will continue to volunteer at the shelter – one of my favorite things to do – and encourage anyone looking for a furry family member to adopt a rescue. This is my way of doing what I can to make a difference in an effort that means the world to me.

Both my dog and cat are rescue pets, and I’m proud to say that! Rescue pets are the best – all they want is to be loved, and they love you unconditionally. I truly believe that they know they were rescued. If you are thinking about getting a pet, please consider rescuing one. BTW, the two dogs my sister loved have already found homes, which is wonderful, so she is going back this week to look again. Stay tuned!

– Michelle Brubaker

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