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Traveling With Your Dog: Packing Tips & Road Trip Essentials

Tips for Traveling With a Dog
Bringing your dog along on your road trip will undoubtedly always make any vacation more enjoyable — as long as you do it right! Nobody wants to be unprepared in times of emergency or get halfway to the destination just to realize you left some crucial items on your kitchen counter. Whether you’re traveling with a big dog or a small one, we’ve got the tips and tricks you need to make this road trip with your pup one to remember!

Traveling With Your Dog: A Car Ride Rookie
Our four-legged passengers often have varying feelings about car rides in addition to varying experience levels. Some are ecstatic, bolt out the door and hop in the car as you’re packing it up, then usually refuse to get back out until it’s time to go. Others require some convincing; maybe they’ve had iffy past experiences with vehicles, or perhaps the sound or concept of movement frightens them. Whatever the case, here are some excellent tips for traveling with a dog from our experts at AZPetVet and American Kennel Club that are sure to help make this trip as comfortable (or tolerable) and exciting as possible for everyone in the car.

  • Get your pup used to the car by allowing him to sit in it with you without actually going anywhere, and then follow this up by going for short rides around the block.
  • Avoid car sickness by skipping the meal prior to departure and letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure they have access to plenty of water.
  • Be sure to keep the car well ventilated: check that the rear vents are flowing smoothly. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air is flowing right into it.
  • While your pet may enjoy the wind in their jowls, if you’re going any further than a ride around the block, roll the windows up. Don’t let your pup ride with his head sticking out of an open window, as these high winds can lead to eye injuries, plus you risk your pet jumping out.
  • Never let your dog ride in the bed of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous. If an accident occurs, it could lead to severe injuries.
  • Stop frequently for a good stretch, some much-needed exercise, and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog!
  • Car rides can be boring for everyone, so instruct your children not to tease or taunt the dog in the car, especially if your pet is already an anxious rider.

Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, especially during the summer months. If you must leave the car, designate another passenger to stay with the dog. See our Summer Safety Blog for more information.

What Do I Need to Travel With My Dog?
As far as necessities you might want to keep in your car; there are a few that you can pick and choose from depending on your dog’s specific needs. Plus, any of these supplies are great whether you’re taking a day trip, long trip, or just packing up for a picnic. Consider throwing these in your car:

1. Camera (capture those moments!)
2. Dog Car Harness
3. Food/Water
4. Adjustable Dog Seat Belt
5. Waterproof Car Seat Covers
6. Dog Bed for Back Seat
7. Spill-Proof/Collapsible Dog Bowl
8. Portable Dog Water Bottle
9. Portable Air Conditioner
10. Cooling Pad
11. Dog Calming Treats
12. Chew Toys
13. Comfy Blankets for Sleep and Warmth
14. Towels
15. Poop Bags /Trash Bag
16. Car Odor Eliminator
17. Paper Towels
18. Dog First Aid Kit
19. Pet ID Info/Medical Records
20. Flea/Tick Medicine

Above all, just remember: You’re on vacation! The process of getting to your destination can be stressful, but pets can pick up on that, so it’s important to remain calm. Your pet will sense that peace and settle easily and be well on the road to becoming a seasoned traveler. Safe travels!

Dehydration Prevention for Pets

Dehydration Prevention for Pets

Pet Dehydration Symptoms & Prevention

There are a number of preventatives available for different needs, from chewables to topical treatments to wearable collars. Some cover just fleas, some cover only ticks, and others are multi-purpose, so it’s essential to thoroughly review the product to ensure it’s the right option for tick and flea prevention for dogs and cats.

Dehydration prevention during Arizona summers is a must. Our summers are notoriously hot and dry, so staying hydrated is essential for pets and people, too. All living things need water to remain healthy, and there are days when water intake should be increased. Pet dehydration occurs when water intake falls below recommended daily levels. Additionally, heat can cause pets to experience fluid loss from excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, which can be dangerously dehydrating. Dehydration may also present as a symptom of an underlying health condition or disease.

When a pet becomes dehydrated, it’s not just water that is lost from the body but essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride that help regulate important body functions. Blood flow and fluid volume are reduced, which in turn reduces the flow of oxygen to organs and tissue. If left untreated, dehydration can become life-threatening as organs begin to shut down. If you suspect your pet is dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke, see your veterinarian immediately.

How Much Water Do Pets Need? As a general rule, dogs require at least one ounce of water per day for each pound of body weight. In contrast, a 10-pound cat needs around 1 cup per day of water. Cats and dogs both need different amounts of water depending on their age, size, overall health, and type of diet and therefore should always have access to fresh, clean water day and night. Cats eating a primarily dry food diet need more water than cats eating a wet/canned food diet, and dogs will too.

General Pet Dehydration Symptoms The most common sign of dehydration in cats and dogs is skin tenting – gently pinch the skin over your pet’s shoulders and gently pull it upwards. The skin of well-hydrated pets will quickly snap back into place when you release it. In dehydrated pets, the skin will settle back into place more slowly. In cases of severe dehydration, the pinch of skin will stay up, forming a ‘tent.’ If this occurs, your pet needs immediate veterinary attention.

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

  • Loss of skin elasticity/skin tenting
  • Reduced energy levels and lethargy
  • Excessive panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Thick saliva
  • Loss of appetite/refusing to eat
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea

Signs of Dehydration in Cats Dehydration in cats is dangerous and requires treatment as it can be a symptom of underlying health problems. Here are the signs you need to watch for that can indicate your cat is dehydrated:

  • Listlessness/lethargy
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Refusing to eat
  • Loss of skin elasticity/skin tenting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Thick saliva

Dehydration Prevention Measures Dehydration prevention for pets begins with making sure they have a steady source of clean, fresh drinking water indoors and outside, as well as well-shaded areas to retreat from the sun. If your pet begins to show signs of dehydration, give them a fresh bowl of cool water. You can add a bit of low sodium broth for flavor to help encourage drinking. For more serious cases of dehydration, electrolyte replacement formulations, subcutaneous or intravenous fluids may be required, so a visit to the veterinarian is recommended. Early treatment can get your pet back on track and feeling better and help prevent more serious problems. If you need assistance with possible dehydration or other health problems, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Poisonous Toads in Arizona

Pet Hazards: Desert Toads and Dogs

Desert toads and dogs and cats are a disaster waiting to happen. Every year we treat pets that have tangled with a poisonous toad. Understanding the symptoms of toad poisoning in dogs is essential because toad poisoning is a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate veterinary intervention and care. 

What you need to know about desert toads and dogs and the symptoms of toad poisoning in dogs is a cautionary tale. As we’re coming into the monsoon season, the biggest monsoon-related hazard, for dogs especially, is the poisonous toads in Arizona. And when it comes to poisonous toads in Arizona in terms of things that’ll kill you, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Toad is the second most deadly poisonous toad in the world! 

Poisonous Toads in Arizona

During the hot and humid summer monsoon season, Sonoran Desert Toads (also known as Colorado River Toads or the Bufo Toad (Bufo alvarius)) will begin to emerge from the ground and hop their way into desert washes. And like their namesake, Mr. Toad is not afraid to take a wild ride to seek out water, meaning they’ll hop right on into desert-adjacent suburban yards, pools, and roads. In fact, that’s where the majority of rattlesnake bites and exposure to Sonoran toad toxins occur!

  • Hazard: If you live on the edge of the desert, it’s likely you and your dog routinely walk or hike in the desert. Beware of Sonoran toads in the washes and surrounding areas or near standing water.
  • Solution: Avoidance training can help teach dogs to naturally steer clear of dangerous desert critters such as snakes and toads. Don’t let your dog drink from puddles or washes. Always carry plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated, even on short trips out.
  • Hazard: Toads will also seek out water, so your pool and the pet’s outdoor water bowl are the fabled oases in the desert. But the danger is no mirage. Be careful of where you place water outdoors. If your dog or cat comes in contact with a toxic toad, you’ll need to get to the vet, stat!
  • Solution: Watch your pet’s behavior outdoors. Dogs and cats will be fascinated by toads and their movements and will think it’s a great game to try to catch them in their mouths. Don’t let them! The toad’s slime contains toxins that can harm or kill them. Don’t handle toads without gloves, and wash thoroughly after any potential exposure. Give your pet’s paws a quick wipe with a wet paper towel when they come indoors to minimize risks.

Symptoms of Toad Poisoning in Dogs

Most desert toads are TOXIC to pets, and toad poisoning is a life-threatening medical emergency. If you live in a high-risk area, a little prevention is necessary. It could save you some pretty heavy heartache or the expense of an emergency trip to the vet. Understanding the symptoms of toad poisoning in dogs is essential as they’re observable almost immediately.

  • Severe drooling
  • Head shaking
  • Pawing at the mouth or eyes
  • Muddy red mucous membranes
  • Hyperthermia (overheating)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting of yellow fluid
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils, loss of coordination
  • Vocalization, seizures, collapse, and death

Symptoms of Toad Poisoning in Dogs – What To Do Next

  • Rinse your pet’s mouth out immediately! If possible, use a constant stream of clean water from a faucet or hose.
  • Call your veterinarian or the closest emergency animal hospital!
  • You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.

Seek avoidance training for your dog and consider a refresher course each year. Not sure which trainer to pick? Ask your veterinarian or local animal hospital for a recommendation. Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you.

To learn more about Arizona’s frogs and toads, visit Arizona Game and Fish

[disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately. 

When Is It Too Hot to Walk Your Dog

too hot for dogs

How Hot Is Too Hot for Dogs?

The first official day of summer is quickly approaching, but for us Arizonans, it feels as though it arrived weeks ago. Desert regions are known for having temperatures that exceed 100 degrees for a large majority of the year. But just because temps are high doesn’t mean your dog needs less exercise. Having pets in desert areas requires pet parents to take some specific precautions to ensure their pup stays protected, happy, healthy, and hydrated through the heat.

So how hot is too hot for dogs? Is walking your dog in the heat safe? We just might have the answers you’re looking for!

Walking Your Dog in the Heat

If you are someone who enjoys exercising with your dog, consider these tips:

  • Check the pavement temperature for dogs by pressing the back of your hand firmly on the sidewalk or asphalt for at least 7 seconds to feel if it’s comfortable for your dog’s paws – if your hand burns, your pet’s paws will, too!
  • Seek out cooler temperatures like early mornings before 9 AM or evenings after 6 PM
  • Avoid hot surfaces like asphalt or concrete as it can get too hot for dogs; instead, opt for grass or highly shaded areas
  • Pack a collapsible bowl and plenty of fresh water
  • Limit direct sun exposure, especially for those pups with shorter or little hair
  • Keep the exercise light and tolerable: avoid running, biking, or long-distance exercise
  • Bring cool, damp towels and place them over your pet in the instance of heat exhaustion
  • Consider purchasing protective dog shoes for summer walks and activities

Pavement Temperatures for Dogs: Things You Oughta Know

  1. The sidewalk on a hot day in AZ can easily reach temps upwards of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Even dogs with calloused pads will begin to feel discomfort/pain at around 120 degrees.
  3. Burning and tissue damage will begin at 140 degrees after only one minute of contact with the hot surface!
    • If it feels like 77 degrees outside, the asphalt temperature is likely 125 degrees.
    • If it feels like 86 degrees outside, the asphalt temperature is likely 135 degrees.
    • If it feels like 87 degrees outside, the asphalt temperature is likely 143 degrees.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a common response to long and short-term exposure to temperatures that are too hot for dogs. Dogs are unable to sweat to regulate body temperatures, so they pant to cool themselves off. Unfortunately, this is not the most efficient way to cool down. If a pet gets too overheated and can’t cool down this way, they risk heat stroke. Signs to look out for include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Fast/heavy breathing
  • Salivating
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation/uncoordinated movement
  • Muscle tremors
  • Collapse 
  • Reddened gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

Getting out and enjoying some quality time with your pup is completely possible and easily managed as long as you follow a few common-sense guidelines and remain mindful of your surroundings and aware of your dog’s needs. If you’re still unsure of best practices when it comes to exercising your pup in the desert heat, contact us at AZPetVet and we will help guide you through!

National Pet ID Week: Microchip Tags & Pet Identification Collars

microchip tag

Lost Pets: Identifying Them with Microchip Tags and Pet Identification Collars

One-third of all dogs and cats in the United States are reported missing in their lifetimes. More than 80% are never found. Between 9,450,000 and 9,632,000 pets that wind up in shelters in the US are euthanized. – ASPCA

Pet owners will tell you that the best parts about coming home after a long day are the loving greetings waiting for us. Dogs get excited, usually demonstrated through happy barks, and their tails thump, thump, thumping. Cats will coolly saunter up and rub against our legs, which is simply their way of telling us to “pick up the can-opener already.”

Now imagine coming home to silence. Your pet has slipped free of their collar and escaped from your home or yard. How would you find them? Would they be able to find you? It’s a horrible, helpless feeling unless you’re well prepared. 

Despite our best efforts, some pets have a knack for escaping the house or yard and getting lost. That’s why it’s essential to have your pets microchipped! A microchip tag can mean the difference between a lost dog or cat ending up in a shelter (and potentially being euthanized) and finding their way home. It’s essential for pet owners to ensure information remains current. The problem is that people tend to forget about the microchip tag, which is only as current as the information contained in the National Pet Register. While there are many different microchip tag manufacturers and registry sites, the one we’ve linked to is the most comprehensive and is used by veterinary professionals across the country when scanning lost or injured pets. National Pet ID Week (April 17-23, 2021) is an excellent reminder for pet parents to review their pet’s identification methods, from collar tags to microchips, and make any necessary updates.

What should I put on my pet ID tag?” is a frequently asked question. Including the pet’s name, a current phone number, city and address, and a microchip tag number are ideal, plus any medical needs. Of course, space is at a premium, so customize to include the most vital information first. Since pet ID tags are cheap and easy to get, you can use the front and back of the tag if needed.

Best Pet Identification Methods

According to recent statistics, cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned to their homes than lost cats without microchips. For dogs with microchips, the return rate is 2.5 times higher than those without. But those are just the beginning!

  1. Microchip Tag: The best method for animal identification is the permanent microchip tag. Microchipping is a quick and painless procedure for animals that can make the difference between a happy ending and heartbreak should they get lost or injured. Most veterinary practices and shelters routinely scan for microchip tags in stray or injured animals. If you haven’t talked to your veterinarian about microchipping, do it today.
  2. Pet Identification Collars: All pets (indoor or outdoor) should have a collar and tags with their name, along with your current address and phone number. Vaccination and license tags can also help identify lost or stolen animals.
  3. QR Code Tags: Most of us are familiar with QR codes, which allow us to scan the code with our smartphone to visit a website, get information or buy products. Pet tags are a great option for the technology! Adding a QR code tag to your pet’s collar is another layer of protection for your pet in case they get lost or injured. Anyone with a smartphone can scan the tag or visit your pet’s profile online to view your contact details and pet’s critical information, skipping a trip to a local vet to have the pet scanned for a microchip tag.
  4. GPS Collars: These are an excellent option for pets that spend time outdoors or that tend to roam (cats, we’re looking at you). With a GPS collar, you can locate your pet at any time of day or night. For a great list of the best GPS collar options, check out this article from PC Mag.
  5. Collar Tags: Pet owners can get personalized pet collar tags at local pet stores or order a wide variety of styles online. Make sure your pet’s tags are correct and have the most up-to-date information on them and that the information is easily readable and hasn’t been scratched or worn away. Did you move recently? Check to be sure all tags and information have been updated to include your new address and contact information.

Finally, if your pet doesn’t have a microchip tag, give your veterinarian a call or have it done at your pet’s next wellness appointment. All of AZPetVet’s locations can perform microchipping. Click here to find the location nearest you.