Blog posts for June 2019

 

Taking a pet on holiday

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This is an image of two dogs at the beach.

Road trip anyone? 

If you’re feeling the call to pack your bags (and your pet) and head off on holiday, here are some tips to help.

Road trip anyone? 

The decision to take your pet with you on holiday will come down to the individual pet’s circumstances as well as what your holiday entails.  Consider your pet’s personality and health, and whether you think it would be an enriching experience for them.  Some pets aren’t suited for travel or don’t cope well with change.  In these situations, making alternative arrangements for their care while you are away may be in their best interest.  If in doubt, speak to your veterinarian for advice.

Book a vet check

If you decide that your pet is coming along for the ride, then some additional planning is crucial.  Arrange a thorough vet check-up a month or so before departure.  Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, as well as other preventive care such as for parasites like fleas and worms.

Check if there are any health considerations for the areas you plan to visit, such as paralysis tick which can be deadly.  Talk to your veterinarian and commence any necessary preventive treatments before you go.

Make a check-list

Plan ahead to ensure you pack everything that your pet will need such as a food and water bowl, plenty of pet food, treats, leash, toys and some bedding.  Cats will appreciate a cozy igloo bed where they can gain some respite when needed.  Some home comforts will also help your pet settle into their holiday home quickly.  If your pet is on a specific diet, be sure to pack what you will need in case it can’t be sourced where you are going or contact a local supplier ahead of time.  If your pet needs any medication, be sure to also pack this before you go.  Pet shampoo and grooming equipment is a good idea if you are holidaying by the beach or anywhere your pet is likely to get muddy. 

Keep plenty of bottled water on hand in case tap water isn't available, to avoid dehydration.  A portable water bowl that folds up is a handy accessory for offering a refreshing drink on the go.

Pet identification

Ensure that your pet’s microchip details are up to date and they are wearing an ID tag with your holiday contact number.  This is imperative in case they got lost while you are away.  It’s a good idea to get the contact information for the vet clinic and a pet supplies store local to your holiday destination, so that you have it on hand.

Car trip

Plan your journey thoroughly and be sure to allow extra travel time for toilet stops and exercise breaks.  Dogs will enjoy a chance to stretch their legs and break up their journey.

For safe car travel, cats and small dogs should be confined in a crate, while larger dogs can be harnessed.  Ideally, when your pet is young, get them used to a crate and car travel.  Start with lots of short trips and slowly build up to longer ones. 

Arriving at your destination

When you arrive at your holiday accommodation take some time walking your dog on a lead around the rooms and outdoor areas to explore the new space together.  This will help them become comfortable with their new surroundings.  If your cat is trained to use the lead, you can gently show them around once they have settled.  However, in most cases holidaying with a cat will mean that they are kept indoors for safety reasons.

Plan well in advance and you’ll set yourself and your pets up for holiday fun!

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Treating your puppy

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This is an image of a puppy running.

Treats

Who doesn't love a tasty treat from time to time?  Pet food treats come in a wide range of formats and flavours and are generally designed to satisfy one of 3 key need states.  Here we look at how to use treats wisely.

Treats

Who doesn't love a tasty treat from time to time? 

Pet food treats come in a wide range of formats and flavours and are generally designed to satisfy one of 3 key need states: to reward/bond, to occupy and for functional health.

Types of treats

Treats provide an important mechanism for strengthening the bond you share with your pet and are frequently used as a motivating tool for training.  Certain treats are designed to be longer lasting to help keep a pet entertained for a period of time.  In addition, some treats have positive effects in areas such as oral health and joint health.

How can I use treats wisely?

Treats are particularly useful for training, but due to the risks of overfeeding and nutritional imbalances, their use should be controlled.  As a general rule, no more than 10% of the calories in your puppy’s diet should come from dog treats.  Keep a close eye on how many treats your puppy is getting, and how often they are getting them. 

It’s likely in the early days of puppy training that you’ll use food treats as rewards a lot.  Consider using part of your puppy’s daily dry food allowance as treats.

Get the timing right

When using food treats as training rewards, timing is crucial.  Only offer a treat when your puppy responds correctly to your training command and is calm.  That way you’ll avoid inadvertently rewarding any over-excited behaviour.

Stick to pet treats

Treats designed specifically for dogs and puppies are best.  Chocolate and foods containing xylitol (a sugar substitute) are just a couple of examples of human treats that are highly toxic to pets.

Consider life rewards

Whilst food treats can be very effective for a puppy when learning a new behaviour, you should introduce other rewards that your puppy responds to.  A ‘life reward’ is anything that your dog desires in their day to day life.

Consider the following life rewards:

• A tickle on the belly

• Verbal praise

• Playing a game of tug 

• A pat on the head

• Playing with a toy

Life rewards teach your puppy that it’s important and worthwhile to listen to you, even in the absence of food.

By using food treats, in conjunction with life rewards, you'll keep training fun and interesting for your puppy while helping build reliability in their behaviour.

 

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