Archive for November, 2008
The roads could be icy or covered in snow so if you are driving to see family, be sure to wear your seat belt. And if you are one of the millions of travelers who will be taking their dog or dogs with them, be sure to make them wear their dog seat belt as well. Since dogs can’t sit in a seat the way we can, they tend to get tossed around more. Even a quick stop or slight swerve can get your dog thrown around the car. But if they are wearing a dog seat belt, they will be less likely to be tossed to the side or thrown onto the floor. And since the roads may be a little slick, swervering or quickly stopping could occur more often.
Cargo Area Liners are great for SUVs, station wagons, and mini vans. Cargo Area Liners keep muddy paw prints and scratches from damaging the interior of your vehicle. Not only that, it keeps dog hair from getting lodged in the fabric of your interior. As any pet owners who allow their dog in the car knows, pet hair is very difficult to remove from fabric.
The Cargo Area Liner is made of industrial grade, waterproof, heavy-duty vinyl coated polyester fabric. It is double sewn at the seems for exra strength. The Cargo Area Liner from Hatchbag® is easy to install and fits most vehicles. For older cars, the Cargo Area Liner uses Velcro type fasteners. For 2007 and current vehicles, the Cargo Area Liner is attached using hook/tab fasteners which slide between your window and the interior molding.
A long-time user of the Hatchbag® Cargo Area Liner says, “I can only imagine what my van would look like without the cargo liner. I take my dogs to the lake at least twice a month in the spring, summer, and fall. If it wasn’t for the cargo liner, my van would be a muddy mess and the smell of wet dog would be overwhelming.”
Leave Your Pet(s) at a Boarding Kennel
The major benefit of having your pet cared for at a boarding kennel is that they are under almost constant care. However, you may want to research boarding kennels before you elect this option. Some have smaller cages with no outside access while others have both inside and outside access. And some have a large day care area where your pets can play with others during the day.
The drawback of having your pet stay in a boarding kennel is that you have to arrange things in advance just as you would a pet sitter. You will also have to get something from your vet certifying that your pet is up to date on their shots. Bordetella is an additional prevention that may have to be administered prior to boarding. Bordetella is generally not a standard treatment for dogs like rabies and DHLPPC shots. Another drawback is the cost. A simple boarding cost will apply but some boarding kennels charge additional fees for administering medications, day play sessions, and larger boarding cages.
The best way to decide which option to choose is to know your pet. Maya, for example, is very sociable. She would not do well at home by herself for so long. I will either have her go and stay with a friend or most likely, I will take her to Woof’s Play-n-Stay Pet Hotel. They are a boarding kennel with a day play area. The day play is already included in the cost so I don’t have to pay extra for her to socialize with the other dogs and with the dog-loving day care workers. Sephi, on the other hand, prefers her solitude and would much rather be at home. If I can’t get a friend to come by and take care of her, I know she would love for Ron with Grand-Paws Pet Sitting Service to come visit.
So, the most important factor in determining which option to choose it so know your pet. Other factors, of course, come into play, such as cost and convenience, but your pet’s happiness and well-being comes first.
Hire a Pet Sitter
The benefits of this option is somewhat similar to having a friend or family member come by your home. Other benefits of hiring a pet sitter is that they are a lot less likely to have something come up which prevents them from coming to visit. My dogs have a great pet sitter, Ron with Grand-Paw’s Pet Sitting Services. My dogs love Ron and Ron loves them. Ron is very reliable and if there is some chance he can’t make it, one of the other pet sitters can come by instead. The drawback of hiring a pet sitter is you have to arrange things well in advance as they may be booked by the holiday season. Also, they will have to have time to familiarize themselves with your dog when you are not home to make sure your dog allows them inside. It would be a shame to hire a pet sitter to only find that your dog will not let them inside and you are already out of town unable to do anything about it. Another drawback is the cost. You would want the pet sitter to come by 2-3 times a day which can end up costing more than a boarding kennel.
Cats make lovable pets. They are warm, fuzzy pets that aren’t as energetic as their dog counterparts. Hence, they are often on their best behavior and don’t mind sleeping for hours.
Like dogs, cats can be brought outdoors for some fresh air and for a change in scenery. They must be kept safe on car rides by using a cat safety harness. The harness keeps them safe in the back seat of the car. This way the driver can focus on the road and not worry if the cat is restless or is scratching the windows.
There’s some truth to the saying that a dog is a man’s best friend. Dogs are loyal and lovable creatures. It is no surprise then that dog owners take their dogs many places, even on road trips or errands.
Like humans, dogs have to be kept safe while riding inside a vehicle. A dog seat belt is specifically designed for pets. It is a safety harness that protects the pet in case of a car accident. At the same time, it also prevents a dog from getting restless and from disturbing the driver.
I want to take my dogs with me when I visit my parents in Texas this year, but depending on my mode of travel, I will probably have to leave them in Kansas City. If I drive, I may be able to take my dogs with me. But it is a very long drive (12+ hours) during this time of year, I have to worry about driving in the snow. My other option is to fly. Whenever I fly to Texas, my dogs are sometimes allowed to fly as well. But because they are so big they are only allowed to go as cargo and only if the weather is not too hot or too cold. Due to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), animals are only allowed to fly as cargo during moderate temperatures. The holidays get very cold here in Kansas city so if I fly, chances are that the weather will be too cold for the dogs to fly as well. Check out PetsOnTheGo.com for more information on the regulations regarding pets flying on commercial flights.
So what do I do with my pets to ensure that they are properly taken care of during the holidays? Since you may also be leaving your pets behind while you travel this holiday season, there are a few options I’d like to share with you. The first thing you can do to have your pets taken care of during the holidays is to have a friend or family member take care of them. Or you could hire a pet sitter. And another option is to leave your pet(s) at a boarding kennel. We will go over the benefits and disadvantages of each of these options over a period of three parts. Today is Part One which covers the benefits and disadvantages of having a friend or family member take care of your pet(s) during the holidays.
Have a Friend or Family Member Take Care of Your Pet(s)
This is probably the best option if you have a friend or family member who is not also traveling out of town for the holidays – Especially if your friend or family member is very familiar with your pets. Your dog or cat will know you are gone and it will help their anxiety if someone else is around that they know and love. If this is an option for you, the next thing to decide is if your pet will stay at your friend’s house or if your friend will periodically come by your house. There are benefits and drawbacks for both of these.The benefit of your pet staying at your friend’s house is that your friend will provide almost constant companionship and monitoring. The drawback of your pet staying at your friend’s house is that your friend may not know your pet’s habits and therefore may not be as observant as required. For example, if you cat likes to slip outside when you are not paying attention, or your dog tends to dig under or jump over the fence when they are outside, or your pet likes to get into the garbage.
The benefit of your pet staying at your home and having your friend or family member come by is that your pet is in familiar territory. Some pets may not do well when they are away from home, even if it is with someone they know. The drawback to having your friend come by is that something may come up where they are unable to make a visit. With no other alternative in place, your pet may be left alone for very long hours with no chance to eat or go outside to potty. Not only that, this would be a great inconvenience for your friend or family member if they do not live within a few minutes of your house. Another drawback is that your pet may have separation anxiety because you are gone so long. Even your friend coming by may not be enough.
The best way to keep your new dog from chewing your stuff or from messing on your floor while you are away is to provide crate training for your dog. Crate training is a safe and easy way to protect both your home and your pet. Some people may think that keeping a dog in a crate is cruel. This is not true unless you keep your dog in the crate for several long hours without food or water or a restroom break. But keeping your dog in a crate for only a few hours can actually help your dog feel safe. In the wild, wolves and other wild canines often stay in a cave or den. Their cave or den protects them from predators and elements of the weather. As descendants of the wolf, dogs still carry this instinct to stay in a secure place. Ever notice your dog sleeping under the table or the bed? Or behind the furniture or in a small room, such as the bathroom during a thunderstorm? Under the porch or in a doghouse? A crate will provide your dog with the same security that the places of your home bring. In fact, most dogs who have gone through crate training often go in their crates on their own initiative.
The most important reason you should provide crate training for your dog is that keeping your dog in a crate prevents them from chewing on harmful things or getting into harmful substances when you are not home.
One of the most comfortable travel seats for your traveling dog is the Lookout Pet Car Seat. There are many sizes and shapes of the Lookout designed for the seats of your car, your car’s console, or even for a golf cart. The Lookout Seats are perfect for pets up to 30 pounds, depending on the size of the seat. They have seat-belt slots for added security which is great for keeping your pet safe when they travel in the car. The interior of the Lookout Pet Car Seat is lambs wool while the outer design is of nylon quilt which comes in many colors. They are so comfortable that your dog could even use the Lookout as a bed in your home. One thing about the Lookout Pet Car Seat that we must mention is that these seats are not recommended for the front seat of the car. This mainly because of the airbags. Airbags are designed for adults, not children or pets. So unless your car does not have passenger-side airbags, please do not use the Lookout in the front seat.
In conjunction with the dog car seat belts, I use the Backseat Bridge in my car whenever Sephi and Maya travel with me. The device worked perfectly when we first used it on a four hour trip from Kansas City to St Louis. Sephi and Maya were much more comfortable on this trip because they had more room to move around or lay down and stretch their legs.
What is a Backseat Bridge? The Backseat Bridge is a sturdy device which attaches around the front car seats and headrests in order to cover the floor of the back seat. The Backseat Bridge by Kurgo is slightly padded and designed for dogs over 30 pounds. Sephi is 55 pounds and Maya is almost 70 pounds and the it has shown no signs of weakness or breakage.
How does the Backseat Bridge protect your dog? The most defining feature of the Backseat Bridge is it keeps your dog off the floor of the car. If you have to make a sudden stop your dog could fly forward and crash onto the floor, possibly spraining or even breaking their leg, hip, or back. But if your dog is wearing a seat belt, how could this happen? True, with some dog car seat belts the dog would not crash onto the floor because those seat belts severely limit your dog’s movement. However, other dog car seat belts have an adjustable strap which gives them more freedom to move and sit, stand, or lay down. The Backseat Bridge provides even more space for your dog to move around which can be very comfortable for those long road trips.
How does the Backseat Bridge protect me? The Backseat Bridge has a flap which provides a visible barrier between the front seats. So if your dog is not wearing a dog car seat belt, this flap may deter them from trying to get into the front seat and distracting you while you are driving. The flap is not a complete deterrent, however. The best way to prevent your dog from getting into the front seat while you are driving is to have your dog wear a dog car seat belt.
Are there any drawbacks to the Backseat Bridge? One feature we have noticed is there is a slight gap around the side edges. So it is not recommended for smaller dogs who may be able to slip between those gaps. The straps can be tightened so that the padded base is flush against the back of the front seats. However, if the back of the front seats are not straight, there may be additional gaps. The back of the front seats of my car are not straight. However, since Sephi and Maya have the dog car seat belts with adjustable straps, I make the straps long enough for them to still move around but short enough so they can’t get their foot caught in the gaps.
Is the Backseat Bridge right for my dog? To find out, ask yourself these questions:
1) Is my dog or are my dogs over 30 pounds each?
2) Do my dogs hate being restrained in the car?
3) Will my dog be using a dog car seat belt with an adjustable strap?
If you answered yes to all three questions, then the Backseat Bridge is perfect for your dog!