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How to Keep Pets Safe in the Car

I know we all want to bring our furry friends with us in the car everywhere we go BUT this should be done safely. So how do you make sure that your best friend is safe in this time together?

Weather

The first thing you will want to make sure of for your adventures is the weather. Making sure your friend is not too hot or cold is VERY important to make your car rides as safe as can be. This happens more often in the summer when temperatures get higher. Once temperatures reach 21.1 degrees Celsius it becomes way too hot for our friends to stay in the car. After being in a car for 1 hour, the inside temperature can become as high as 43.3 degrees C! Now you may think, well it’s a bit cloudy, or maybe I’ll just open my windows a little. However, these things do not make a difference, unfortunately. There has been a study that shows that even a light-coloured large vehicle on a hot but cloudy day can still reach up to 51 degrees C!

Seatbelts/Crates

All cats and dogs should be restrained in a vehicle for many reasons.

• If you were to get into any kind of accident with your furry friend you want them to be safely restrained so that they will not hurt themselves
• If your furry friend is loose in the vehicle this also means they have the ability to go on your lap or under your pedals which can interfere with your breaks if you need to stop or your vision can be impaired from this. If they are sitting on your lap as well your airbags can kill them.
• Unrestrained pets also become a distraction which could also get you into a collision especially if you are constantly worried about what they are doing in your vehicle. You wouldn’t get in the car without your seatbelt, don’t let your best friend go in without theirs!

Windows


Something else to look at for safety that you may be unaware of is car windows. As we all love to have our pups looking out the windows because well simply they love it and are adorable. How could you say no? There are some risks here as well. If your pup is able to stand and have their entire head out of the window, they may not be restrained properly which can become a huge issue if they try to leave out of the window or get accidentally thrown from the window. The next reason this is not a good idea, is that they become at high risk for eye, ear, face, and mouth injuries from airborne items. For this reason, I would suggest getting things like ear bands, goggles, and any other protective equipment they can get to keep them safe.

Training

Obviously, if your furry friend is not used to being in a vehicle this can cause a lot of anxiety. The best way to deal with this or prevent it is through training! If your friends are young enough, start with exposure training. This can help get them used to going in the car for many reasons, not just to go to your vet or something they dislike. Also before you can even do this step you want to start with making sure they are comfortable in small areas such as crates. Next, you will also need to train your friend to get used to the type of restraint used in the car such as a seatbelt or crate.

Medications

There are definitely some medications from your veterinarian that can be used to help any stressful or anxious friends. If you are concerned for the safety of you or your friend in the car speak with your veterinarian and they can help you come up with a plan. If this includes medications you will want to do this before you try travelling so you can do a test trial at home because every pet is different and some may not react to the medicine the intended way we would like and that you get the right dosing. You also want to speak with your regular DVM about this to make sure your friend is healthy enough to get medication for this. There are also medications to speak with your DVM about to help with car sickness if that is the concern.

Resources:
AVMA – https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/pets-vehicles
VCA Canada -https://vcacanada.com/know-your-pet/dog-behavior-and-training-traveling-air-and-car-travel

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How to make medication request hassle-free!

Getting your requests to your veterinarian can be quite a process, especially when you are uncertain about the necessary information we need to fulfill the request. Let’s take this opportunity to review the information required and help you understand why it's helpful in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. What do I need to know before I make a prescription request? There are 5 important pieces of information you'll need to have ready to relay to your veterinary team when requesting a prescription. Medication name Medication concentration Medication dose Medication instructions Quantity you need Let me explain what each one is and why we need it. This information can all be found on your pet's medication label.  Medication Name – This is simple enough; it is the name of your medication, and yes, it is very important. If you call and say you want to refill Fluffy’s eye medication, this won’t help us if they are on 3 different eye medications. Knowing the name of your pet’s medication can be the difference between the correct refill and the wrong refill. Medication Concentration – All medications come in many concentrations, and we want to ensure that your pet gets the correct one to avoid the risk of over- or under-dosing. The concentration is either written as milligrams, mg/mL or a percentage. Pills and tablets can be things like 2.5mg, 10mg, etc. Liquids will be in forms such as 20mg per ml, 200mg/ml, etc., and other medications, such as eye ointments, may say something like 2%. Medication Dose – The dose indicates how much of the medication your pet should be given and how often—for example, 1 tablet every 12 hours or a 1/4″ strip 3 times a day. Medication Instructions – We don't need the exact wording of your label, but we need to know how you are currently giving the medication. This may sound something like I give 1 pill in the morning and 2 pills in the evening or I give 3 units every 12 hours, etc. If what you are giving is different from what is on your medication label, then tell us what you are currently giving and why. It is not recommended to change medication instructions without speaking to your veterinarian. Quantity You Need – To ensure you have the supply you need and avoid multiple trips, please be sure to know what amount(s) of your pet's medication(s) you need. This may be given as a number amount, such as 30 pills or the length of time the medication needs to last,  such as 30 days worth. If you tell us 1 bottle, it doesn't necessarily help us as many medications come in multiple-sized bottles. TIP: Create a folder in your phone’s photo album called Medications, take pictures of your pet’s medication labels, and place them in there for quick access!   Keep in mind that your veterinarian pharmacy, like all other pharmacies, will need time to fill your medication. We kindly ask that you give us 24-48 hours' notice for filling medications as our veterinary staff are very busy and may not always have time to fill medications same-day. TIP: If you are like me and have trouble remembering to get medications refilled on time until you use the last one, there's an APP for that!   If it's a regular medication - there is an app called medisafe that lets you track medications and can be used for pet medications as well. You can set custom notifications to remind you when to refill your medication, such as when you have 5 pills left. If the medication is your pet’s flea and tick medication, check out the app "Flea & Tick"  (iPhone) (Android). This app allows you to track when you last gave your pet their last dose and upload a photo of your medication so you always have what it is at your fingertips. Lastly, look for things your clinic may have, such as QR codes on your medication bottles to help remind you to refill when you run low or website pages like ours (Pharmacy Requests) to make it easier for you to request your medication. Stayed tuned for Part 2.   Written by: Ashely G, VT

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