What better place to drive than beautiful California. Up the coast, the wine country, the mountains. Which pretty much means my significant other Cookie and our dog Guillermo get dragged along for weekend getaways.
Just as you should be driving defensively, watching out for bad drivers, road hazards and so forth, you should practice defensive pet traveling.
The first thing to watch out for this time of year is the dreaded Foxtail grass. The grass puts out a stalk with seeds that resemble a stalk of wheat, especially when they dry and turn from green to straw color. What make them dangerous for our pets are the seeds. They have a tiny barb on the end that loves to embed into the skin or enter the nose, ear or eye.
Pets that inhale a foxtail up their nose often sneeze violently and may paw at their face. We often see foxtails enter the feet of dogs at the webbing between the middle two toes. This weedy grass is all over the place and it only takes a second for your pet to pick up one of these things when you stop for a potty break. Google an image of the foxtail grass and avoid them.
Bees and bugs. The flowers really bloomed this year and the bees are loving them too. Bees tend to hang out on the clover in the grass and your pets can easily step on them. If you can find the stinger, remove it by scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail. Don’t grab and pinch it with your fingers because you may squeeze the sac attached to the stinger and inject more venom into your pet.
Just as in people, pets may have mild or severe allergic reactions to bee stings. An anaphylactic reaction is the most severe and your pet may vomit or collapse. Owners may mistake this for a seizure. This is a true emergency and you need to get to an animal hospital as soon as possible for supportive care.
Overheating. Not every place you come across on your travels will be pet friendly. Do not leave your pet in the car unattended, even if it’s just to run in to get a sandwich to go. Cars become virtual ovens in minutes and unlike humans, dogs and cats can’t sweat and take advantage of the breeze from a half rolled down window. Even if you don’t think the temperature in the car feels too hot to you, your pet simply can’t tolerate heat the way a person can.
Bring extra water, pet food, medicine that your pet may be taking — and a bowl. This should be obvious, but with all the hustling to get out of town it’s often overlooked. read more…