Summer is amongst us and the days are starting to get hot.
It is very tempting to take our pets with us when we travel. Our dogs love to be with us at home and on the road. If you are going to travel with your pets you need to make sure you prepare. If you do your homework trips can be enjoyable for you and your dog.
I recently read an article on the internet with some very good travel tips:
Consider all your options – including leaving your pet at home
It can be fun to travel with your pet – for both of you. But your pet’s overall health and safety has to come first. Before taking your pet on vacation, consider the pet’s health, age, whether your pet likes to travel, where you’ll be staying, and the time of year. For example, perhaps your pet does fine on short day or weekend trips, but longer trips would cause anxiety and stress. Or maybe your older pet suffers from arthritis and wouldn’t enjoy a long car trip to Maine in the dead of winter. Always do what’s best for your pet.
Know what to pack
If you decide to bring your pet on your trip, you need to pack for your pet, just as you pack for yourself. The essentials include medications and medical records, food and bowls, a pet First Aid kit, bedding, leash, collar and tags, grooming supplies, current pet photo (in case your pet gets lost), a favorite toy or two, a sturdy and well ventilated carrier, litter and a litter box (for cats). To make things easier, have one bag or small suitcase just for your pet’s supplies – this way you won’t have to look through your other luggage to find a particular item.
Get your pet’s papers and medications in order
Before any trip, have your pet examined by your veterinarian. Make sure vaccinations are up to date, and get any medications your pet might need during the trip. If you’re giving your pet medication specifically for travel, such as to reduce anxiety or travel sickness symptoms, test them on your pet several days in advance to ensure that your pet doesn’t suffer any adverse side effects. You don’t want to be several hours away from home only to realize that your pet is allergic to a new medication.
Know the rules of the road
If you’ll be traveling by car, build frequent stops into the trip so that your pet will be able to stretch his legs and have a drink of water. But before you simply put your animal in the car and go, you need to understand some basic car safety guidelines that will keep your pet safe. First, all cats should be in a crate or carrier. Dogs can be either in crate or carrier, or restrained in a special harness that attaches to the seat belt. If you use a pet barrier in the back seat or deck of your SUV, be sure it is sturdy and firmly attached so it does not collapse on your pet. Also, never allow your pet to ride in the front passenger seat (especially one that is airbag equipped), and never let your pet out of the car without proper restraint. And although most dogs love to ride with their head out the window, don’t allow it; they could get hurt by flying debris. Finally, never leave your pet alone in a parked car. He or she will be vulnerable to heat distress or theft.
Stays along the way
You should find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or they may have size or breed restrictions. If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, be respectful of other guests, staff and the property. If your dog is barking late at night or at all hours of the morning, don’t ignore it. Get up and take them outside immediately and as quietly as possible. Walk around, have a bathroom break and expel some of that anxious energy. New environments are stressful so don’t leave your dog unattended as they may bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place. If it’s unclear, you can ask the management where you should walk your dog but be sure to pick up after them.
Happy Travels and Happy Summer,
Paula Ayers, President
ALERT - Canine Influenza
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Gary W. Black, Commissioner
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
Increase in Prevalence of Canine Influenza Virus
(Atlanta) Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb confirms an increase in the prevalence of canine respiratory disease found in dogs associated with exhibitions and assemblies. As a result, dogs from multiple states have been diagnosed with Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) infections. This increase in infection is associated with a high virulence and infection rate. The strain of CIV currently observed in this event is H3N2.
“Contact your private veterinarian immediately if your dog develops canine influenza like symptoms,” Dr. Cobb says. “Common symptoms can include coughing, sneezing, lack of appetite and fever. To prevent the spread of the virus, be sure to establish and maintain proper biosecurity procedures.”
In May, dogs from multiple states attended a dog show held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Georgia. Many of the dogs had recently attended dog shows in other states. Following the show in Perry, multiple attendee dogs developed respiratory disease and have been found positive to H3N2. Several kennels in Georgia are reporting increased respiratory disease. Isolation and testing is in progress. At this time, three (3) reported confirmed positive H3N2 CIV have been found in Georgia.
The virus does not appear to affect humans, but is highly contagious in dogs. The mortality rate for canine influenza is low and most dogs recover without any complications. Affected animals should be isolated until a diagnosis is made and appropriate veterinary action taken. Canine Influenza is not reportable to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Canine Influenza Virus has an incubation period of 2 to 5 days. Infected dogs can shed virus particles in body secretions regardless of a dog exhibiting clinical signs or not. The general clinical signs of CIV are coughing, sneezing, anorexia, fever, and malaise. Runny eyes and a runny nose may or may not be present. More severe clinical signs of canine influenza virus are a high fever, (104.0 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, pneumonia, hemorrhagic pneumonia, trouble breathing and potential secondary bacterial pneumonia. Transmission of CIV can occur from virus aerosolized by barking, coughing, sneezing, and surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus can remain present on surfaces for several days. Coughing for several weeks after infection may be observed, but there is no risk of transmission at this time. Generally dogs are free of the virus by the 7th day post onset of clinical signs.
Diagnosis of canine influenza virus is performed by identification of the virus in acutely infected animals or by the presence of CIV antibodies in the late stages of clinical disease. Two tests used to detect CIV are virus isolation and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. PCR testing is recommended for all symptomatic dogs that have had potential exposure to canine influenza virus.
Treatment for canine influenza virus infection is supportive care. Supportive care often includes antibiotic therapy to reduce occurrence of secondary bacterial infection. Biosecurity is a significant component of disease management and treatment. Housing patients with respiratory disease in isolation wards and only using dedicated equipment for that area is critical. The proper use of disinfectants will also be instrumental in the treatment of CIV. Some disinfectants which may be used are quaternary ammonia compounds, 1% bleach, 0.1% dishwashing liquid, povidone-iodine, and other agents which have been shown to destroy the viability of Influenza A virus.
Prevention and biosecurity are significant components to managing CIV. Vaccination against canine influenza virus is available and provided by many veterinary hospitals and clinics. Infection control measures, such as, cleaning and disinfecting cages, bowls, and other fomites is very important. Proper hygiene and washing clothes with detergent at proper washing temperatures also reduces and/or prevents the spread of the virus. Bag any towels separately and mark “Possible CIV” so that they can be disinfected. Bag any newspaper that may have been contaminated with bodily fluids separately and take to the trash immediately.
When announcements of canine influenza virus outbreaks are placed for an area, veterinarians should notify veterinary public health officials and the state veterinary office of any confirmed cases of infection. Quarantine and isolation of infected animals should also be implemented to reduce the spread of the viral infection to other dogs. As a precaution, physicians, veterinarians, and other health officials should report cases of patients having flu-like symptoms. Individuals with a compromised immune system, may be pregnant, are elderly or very young should follow biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of infection.
For more information visit www.agr.georgia.gov
COCONUT OIL FOR DOGS: Understanding the Benefits and Risks
By Aly Semigran, www.petmed.com
Coconut oil may be the latest, hottest, all-natural trend for humans, but pet parents are also exploring it as a beneficial supplement for their four-legged companions. And far from being a fad or an overnight craze, it may prove true. “It provides many benefits for dogs,” says Dr. Colleen Smith, DVM, CVA, CVCP of the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute.
Coconut oil can aid dogs with everything from itchy or bumpy skin to digestion issues. But is this oil all that it’s cracked up to be, and are there risks that pet parents should be aware of?
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts and takes the form of an edible oil that is used in food and beauty products. It is high in saturated fat and medium-chain triglycerides, which are thought to be behind the touted health benefits for both humans and dogs.
How Coconut Oil Benefits Dogs
So what exactly makes coconut oil so beneficial? “Coconut oil can increase energy levels, improve skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions,” says Smith.
Dr. Katie Gryzb, a Brooklyn-based veterinarian, explains that coconut oil can potentially slow cognitive dysfunction in dogs. “Fatty acids are helpful in cognitive function, which has been medically proven,” she says.
In addition, Dr. Pema Melu, DVM, of Holistic Veterinary Healing in Germantown, MD, explains that medium-chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, help with physical and digestive ailments because they are “directly absorbed in the GI tract and go directly to the liver where they are metabolized into utilizable energy.”
Besides the overall health benefits, coconut oil can be used as a coating on pills to help dogs swallow them, and it can be applied topically to smooth and freshen a dog’s coat.
How to Give Coconut Oil to Dogs
Coconut oil can generally be given to dogs 1-2 times a day with meals. How much you should give your dog depends on his size. Many veterinarian recommend starting slow with the coconut oil. A good starting dose is ¼ teaspoon daily for small dogs up 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon daily for big dogs. However, if you have an obese or overweight dog, it’s suggested that coconut oil be provided no more than once a day because of its high fat content. Any dog who is receiving coconut oil should be closely monitored for weight gain.
“Coconut oil can also be used as a base for dog treats,” explains Smith. She suggests mixing turmeric and vitamin D in with coconut oil for optimum snacks. Turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory, while vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Be careful that you don’t give too much vitamin D to your dog, however. Over-supplementation can cause kidney problems.
To find the best coconut oil, understanding the labels can make all the difference. Smith recommends pet parents use organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil.
Topical Application of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut oil can add moisture to your dog’s skin and prevent flaking. It also helps freshen up a dog’s coat if used with a light touch. To use it topically, simply rub a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat the coat, run your fingers through the fur, and massage a little down onto the skin. Since coconut oil can be given orally, you don’t have to worry if dogs lick themselves after it’s been applied to their coats.
Coconut Oil Concerns
While coconut oil is generally safe for dogs, some canines may have an allergic reaction to the supplement. Additionally, giving a dog too much coconut oil in the diet could result in diarrhea. Smith warns against giving coconut oil to dogs prone to pancreatitis, as it can be a risk due to its high fat content.
And not all veterinarians are convinced that coconut oil is beneficial for dogs at all. Dr. Ken Tudor notes that coconut oil may possibly raise “bad cholesterol” levels in dogs and “adds 120 calories for every tablespoon without adding any appreciable nutritional value.”
Coconut Oil Alternatives for Dogs
If your dog has an allergic reaction to coconut oil, or there are simply no improvements seen by adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet, there are alternatives. Cold water fish oils, like salmon oil, and to a lesser extent, flax seed oil, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids that can provide some of the same benefits of coconut oil. Of course, with any supplements, a dog’s intake should be monitored and it’s best to consult your veterinarian when it comes to any health issues with your pet. Giving coconut oil or similar supplements to dogs is not a guaranteed cure-all or magic fix.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
No Bake Hypoallergenic Coconut Dog Treat Recipe
Ready for another delicious no-bake hypoallergenic dog treat recipe? I know I am! It is getting HOT out there! I definitely don’t want to turn on my oven if I can avoid it. I’m all about no-bake right now. This particular coconut treat is fabulous for dogs with allergies, especially if they have itchy skin. Coconut oil works wonders for your skin. Don’t believe me? Slather some on your driest spots tonight and see how it feels tomorrow. Go ahead, right from the jar!
Of course, in this dog treat recipe, your pooch won’t be rubbing it all over his fur. Too messy! Eating coconut oil is just as beneficial, fortunately! It can help keep your dog’s coat shiny, improve skin condition and even help with digestion! Keep in mind that coconut oil is pretty high in fat, so you don’t want to feed Fido a whole tray of these in one sitting. Instead, use these hypoallergenic dog treats as an occasional reward. While there is a lot of debate going on right now about whether the saturated fat in coconut oil is different than that in, say, a big hunk of butter, let’s err on the side of caution for now.
NO BAKE COCONUT HYPOALLERGENIC DOG TREAT RECIPE
- 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
- 2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
- 1/3 Cup Finely Shredded Coconut
How to Make
No Bake Hypoallergenic Coconut Dog Treat Recipe
1. Add Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter and Rolled Oats to the food processor and mix until well combined.
2. Scoop out bite sized pieces with a spoon and roll into little balls.
3. Toss each ball gently in the finely shredded coconut until well coated.
4. Place on a flat tray lined with baking paper, refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.
Nicole Etolen, www.dogvils.com