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| Travel with your Puppy
Most of us love our pets so much, it's hard to leave them behind when we have to travel or leave home for any lengthy amount of time. We might not miss them too terribly if we run to the supermarket, but on longer trips, we enjoy having them with us, and know they would much rather come along than stay home alone or go to a kennel.
Kennel stays can be very expensive, especially if you want your pet to have a sort of vacation as well, but sometimes that is the only option – especially if your dog requires a great amount of exercise or attention. Traveling with your pet, however, can be fun for both of you, and quite rewarding. However, it is very important to consider your dog's character, personality and special needs before thrusting him into a totally new environment.
Cesar's Holiday Tips!
- Tire your dog out before visiting or receiving holiday guests. Keep in mind that holiday visits are not typical visits. They may involve more heightened energy than normal, since often we haven’t seen these people in a while. Dog people have a tendency to get excited around others’ pets. Your dog is more likely to behave if it’s just had a nice long walk. If they’re not dog people, your guest may be nervous, insecure and unsure; a tired dog can help these people relax.
- Don’t forget rules, boundaries and limitations just because it’s the holidays! When it comes to aromatic holiday food and sweets and candies lying about the house, there are many temptations for your dog. You have to remind him or her that the rules, boundaries and limitations are the same. Use the holiday as a chance to intensify good behavior instead of intensifying bad behavior. It’s up to you to take the opportunity to make it a great holiday by working on your leadership skills!
- Protect your dog from the cold. Many breeds are not built to handle cold weather. Check out your local pet store for the many ways to handle this. You can buy doggie boots and gear made specifically for cold weather. There are also paw waxes that protect from the cold and aid your dog’s grip on slippery surfaces like ice or snow.
- Let your dog check the weather. Dogs don’t have the Weather Channel, so they don’t know why they are being denied a long walk for the day. Allow your dog to step outside and feel for itself that it is too cold or too stormy to go on a long walk. Instinctually, the dog will understand why it is coming back inside where it’s safe. But, be careful not to allow them to do this too often.
They can learn to use this open door to manipulate and control you. Also be aware that some dogs, if out in the cold for too long, will develop thicker fur and maintain their fat as a natural protection, so they may not feel the cold as intensely as we humans do. This can be an advantage if you want to continue to take your dog for walks in cold weather. However, please keep in mind that many short-haired breeds do not have this natural resistance to cold weather.
- Be cautious when around the fireplace! Animals are instinctual about fire; it is natural for an animal to stay away from fire. However, during this holiday season, many owners like to dress their dogs up. Never use a product which may contain alcohol, such as hairspray, silly string, or entertainment paint, on a dog that will be around fire. Always be cautious near a fire with an animal that is wearing clothing.
A stray piece of fabric can quickly cause the entire outfit to light on fire. A screen is a good way to keep a “done-up” pup safe. Also, never leave an animal alone in a room with a lit candle. As a general holiday precaution, test your smoke alarms and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times!
- Be aware of dangerous holiday items. The festive poinsettia causes dogs to vomit. Chocolate is a poisonous treat. And tinsel has sent many a dog to the emergency room, as it can easily cut up intestines. Paper-based tinsel is generally a safer option, but the plastic or metallic based tinsels should not be used.
- Protect your presents and decorations. Remember that a dog will know if a gift contains something edible, even if you don’t. Ask your guests in advance if there is food inside the presents, and keep them out of your dog’s reach! Keep fragile ornaments toward the top of the Christmas tree; only place sturdy ones near the bottom. Often people use a pen to keep dogs away from their tree. Keep it fun by decorating the pen with ribbons. And, above all, set rules, boundaries, and limitations!
- I don't recommend giving a puppy as a holiday gift. Most often, giving a puppy for emotional reasons turns out badly. Love is never the problem. Who doesn’t love a puppy? But most people don’t know how to keep a puppy balanced, and the puppy is going to suffer the consequences from the first day. In particular, a person who doesn’t know they are getting a puppy will put them in the wrong state of mind to receive the puppy. I highly recommend holding off on affection for a week or, at the very least, until the end of the day when the puppy is quiet, in his kennel and ready for sleep. This is virtually impossible to do if you just received a puppy as a surprise!
I strongly believe that people need to have some basic knowledge about the commitment and responsibility of pet ownership and how to play a leadership role even thought it’s a puppy. The beautiful part about starting with a puppy is that, if you know what to do, you are going to prevent problems. But if you don’t, you are going to create problems. We have to take the same philosophy as adopting a child. You don’t just give a kid away. You have to get the whole family involved. Everyone has to understand the responsibility they are taking on. Watch for signs of dehydration.
- Live in the moment! Be happy! Celebrate! Want to do something special for your dog for the holidays? Be balanced. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be fearful. Don’t be tense. Don’t think about anything that makes you sad, depressed, or angry. Really live in that moment. Believe it or not, that is one of the biggest gifts we can give to ourselves and our dog. Everyone, rich or poor, can practice this simple thing. It has more meaning than any gift you can buy. Laugh. Live in the now, with your dog right next to you and your family around you. Your dog is going to get the benefit of it, particularly if you don’t have days like this on a regular basis. This special day will linger in his or her memory, and, hopefully, you can learn to practice these days more often, not just at Christmas.
Basic Statements and Information on Pet Travel:
- Various U. S. Government Agencies have rules for pet imports, especially the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and units of USDA such as NCIE (National Center for Import and Export)
- Neither USDA nor CDC requires a health certificate for routine pet imports, but CDC requires proof of Rabies Vaccination.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires proof of rabies vaccination for all imported dogs (Click here for CDC rules).
- CDC also has rules concerning other imported animals. Please review CDC's Frequently asked questions concerning which animals can be imported. Animals mentioned on this page include, but is not limited to, horses, cats, turtles, bats, birds, snakes, fish, monkeys, civets, rodents, rabbits, and others
- USDA will not permit foreign substances such as native grass, soil, fresh meat, or vegetables to enter the country (plant and animal disease is the concern). Please review the USDA National Center for Import and Export (NCIE) website for more details.
- Some countries require an Heath Certificate and or proof of rabies vaccination signed by a U. S. government official. To find the nearest office that can do this, please go to this website: (USDA State Offices)
- If you are taking a pet to another country, you may wish to contact that country's consulate or embassy for information. A listing of consulates can be found at: http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/ ( US Department of State website).
- The United Kingdom;s (UK) requirements for import of pets can be found at this website.
- Information on European Union (EU) pet import rules (and pet passports) are at this website
- IATA dog and cat container requirements. These requirements meet or exceed USDA Requirements and are useful for additional information. They can be found from the link above or at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/LAR_33rd_CR1.pdf
- There are companies that specalize in transporting pets - for a price. They are called "Immediate Handlers" or more simply, Animal Transporters or Animal Relocators. These businesses are licensed and inspected by USDA/APHIS's Animal Care Unit. Many of the animal transporters are listed on the member pages of the International Pet Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) web pages. Those not listed on that member site can be found in the yellow pages or via a web search. Using a pet transporter or relocator is not the most economical method of ensuring the safety of you pet, but they can help ensure the safety of your pet and take care of all the details of transporting your pet from your home to your destination.
- USDA standards for shipping dogs and cats can be found in Part 3, Standards of the Animal Welfare Regulations. See sections 3.13 through 3.19.
- Airline have various animal transport rules. If traveling by air, please check with the airline well in advance of travel. A few airline Transport website's are listed below (more later):
- USDA/APHIS State Offices
(certain countries require Government officials to sign health certificate)
- International requirements listed by Country:(go to page)
- If you are taking a pet to another country, contact that country's consulate or embassy for information A listing of consulates can be found at: http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/ ( US Department of State website).
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements on importing your pet.
- APHIS Veterinary Services National Center for Import and Export (NCIE) of animals and animal products.
- Dogs: Please refer to USDA's requirements for dogs brought in to the U.S. from other counties. (NCIE)
Tips and Facts:
- Important: Many injuries, deaths, and escapes can be attributed to either the pet trying to escape the kennel and as a result hurts its paws and/or gums, or due to actual escape. Escapes can be due to a variety of causes such as: a dog can chew its way out of the kennel if it can get its upper and lower teeth between slits or holes in the plastic sufficient enough to apply force; dogs and cats are able to push the door open or partially open and escape; the kennel lock is broken or not properly latched; or the kennel itself is not properly and securely assembled. For further information on the types of injuries of transported pets, please go to the Department of Transportation consumer report page at: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/index.htm Go down the long report to the very last page for animals incidents. The reports are by month and year.
- Tips on Selecting a Travel Container for your pet:
- Look for one that is put together securely, i.e, locking bolts
- Look for metal doors instead of plastic (pets can either chew through or bend/buckle plastic doors
- The strongest doors have 4 metal rods that fasten the door to the container
- Ensure lock mechanism is strong and effective
- No wheels -- most if not all airlines will not accept a container with wheels
- Air lines do not certify containers. The statement "air line accepted" is misleading.
- Look for the strength of the container overall. Does it appear flimsy? Does it look like the bolts holding the container together can become loose easily? Does the door appear strong enough to hold you pet?
- Acclimate: Be sure to "acclimate" your pet to the kennel it will be traveling in. Let it spend varying lengths of time in the kennel several days before travel so that it is familar with it. Some pets are stressed severely by being placed in a strange cage. Also, you may wish to put some article of clothing that you have worn into the kennel during transportation. This may help calm the pet. An old T-shirt that you have slept in for one or more nights will work well.
- Many Animal Welfare Organizations have information on pet travel on their websites. It is easy to find these organizations through a web search on such words as "pet travel" etc.