Microchips for Dogs & Cats: Why should you microchip your pet?

Microchips for Dogs CatsWhy do we love our pets? It could be because their love and loyalty is so unconditional. Whether we have had a good day or bad, they are always there offering support. In return, they trust in us to provide for them.

Microchips for Dogs & Cats: Why should you microchip your pet?

Obviously, pets need to be fed, exercised and directed. They also need to be identified should they become separated from you. An open door, a hole under a fence, a simple distraction is all it can take for your pet to wander. As many as 80% of unidentifiable pets are never reunited with their owners should they get lost.

Throughout the month of September, the American Kennel Club celebrates AKC Responsible Dog Owners. Responsible dog ownership includes micro chipping your pet and keeping up to date on registration information. Below is a description of how the pet microchip process works.

Micro Chipping your Pet

A pet microchip is the most permanent form of pet identification available today. About the size of a grain of rice, it is inserted painlessly by your veterinarian between your pet’s shoulder blades. There are several different types of microchips on the market in the United States. The 15 digit ISO pet microchip is the world standard. Many countries require this type of pet microchip for entry. Even if you don’t plan to travel with your pet, animal control agencies in cities and towns all over the United States have microchip scanners that can read an ISO microchip, and that is the first thing they will do when capturing a lost pet.

Register Your Pet!

After micro chipping your pet, the next step is registration. All manufacturers have their own database with owner contact information associated with every microchip number. Some manufacturers charge pet owners for registering, but some don’t. Datamars is a manufacturer of the ISO pet microchip. Their database can be accessed at PetLink.net and provide pet owners with free registration and unlimited changes to their contact information.

Pet Identification

The concept of pet identification is quite simple but often misunderstood. It is the pet owner’s responsibility to be sure that their pet can be identified if they get lost. You must stay current on microchip registration information. If you plan to more or switch phone numbers, update your pet’s registration information.

Other Helpful Tips

• Keep rabies tags on your pet
• Keep a collar ID tag on your pet with your current address and phone number
• Keep the pet microchip manufacturer’s tag on your pet if they have one
• Always keep a picture of your pet handy (better yet, one of you and your pet) in the case that identification is necessary.

Pet identification is a simple thing. Ask your veterinarian about inserting a pet microchip. Additionally, don’t forget to register! If you microchip your pet, it could mean the difference between finding your pet or not.

Microchips for Dogs | Microchips for Cats

Dog Safety: Labor Day Dangers for your Dog

Dog safety - Labor Day dangers for your dogLabor Day is almost here and what better way to spend your last summer party than with your pooch? Good food, friends and fun are all essential for Labor Day celebrations, but is your dog prepared for the festivities? Here is a list of dangers for your dog to avoid this Labor Day to ensure he/she stays healthy and happy all weekend long.

Heat stroke – Hydration is crucial for dogs. Did you know a dog can overheat in just a matter of minutes? If your dog has a heavy coat they are more susceptible to heat stroke. Consistently monitor body temperature and be able to notice anything unordinary. Symptoms of heat stroke are panting heavily, a rapid pulse, glazed eyes, a deep red or purple tongue, vomiting, sticky, thick saliva, lethargy, or any unsteadiness or staggering. Heat exhaustion, stress, or stroke is extremely serious and can be fatal. Remember; NEVER leave your pet alone in the car even for a few minutes. This is the most common cause of heat stroke.

Paw burns – Have you ever walked on a scorching patio or beach without sandals? Imagine how your pooch feels this Labor Day when your porch is so hot you could cook an egg on it. Make sure there is a shady place near the party for your dog to hang out. Also, be careful while grilling. A hot grill plus a curious dog can lead to disaster. We recommend putting your pooch inside when the grill is on but if you insist, watch them closely. If you see him get burned or signs that he did (limping, licking his paws, cracked or blistering skin or pads), apply a cold, wet compress, clean the area with pet-safe ointment or aloe vera, and wrap with gauze.

Dogs get sunburned too! – Contrary to popular belief, your dog can get sunburned and needs protection. Hairless, light skinned, light colored, shaved, or pink-nosed pups are especially in danger of being burned. We recommend doing one of two things for pet sun protection. Pick up a non-toxic, fragrance free doggie sunscreen like Vet’s Best Sun Relief spray or another option is baby sunscreen. A lotion works best with heavy coated dogs since you can rub it through the coat to the skin. Essential areas are the ears, bridge of the nose, nose, and the underside of his body.

Swimming time – If your dog loves to swim, this section is for you. Most of us love to enjoy the water during Labor Day weekend, and your pooch probably does too. If they aren’t a good swimmer, a doggie life preserver would be a good idea. Never leave a dog unattended when swimming. Also, don’t let them drink pool or ocean water. Pool water contains chlorine and the ocean contains salt, both of which can be harmful and dehydrate your pet. Make sure you has fresh water available at all times.

Human foods are not for pets – Who doesn’t like barbequed food? But it’s not for dogs, and you must resist the urge to give them a treat from the grill. If you’re having a big Labor Day party, you might want to consider putting up a sign for your guests that says please do not feed the pets. Some foods are toxic to dogs like onions, grapes, mushrooms, avocados, lunch meat, and more. Plus, dogs have very sensitive tummies. Even the smallest amount of food can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea or vomiting.

Traveling by car – Many of us travel to friends or family by car during Labor Day weekend. If you plan to bring your pooch in the car you might want to consider a few things. If your dog has never traveled by car before, get them accustomed prior to travel. Making them feel comfortable will significantly reduce car sickness. Also, a pet restraint is always recommended. This will help keep the pet from being a distraction to the driver as well as keep them safe.

The long Labor Day weekend is meant to be enjoyed by both humans and pets. Be prepared, keep your pet safe, and don’t let one of these dangers for your pet put a damper on your festivities.

Airline Pet Travel: Clearing Airport Checkpoint Security

Airline pet travel - clearing airport securityIt’s everyone’s favorite part of airline travel – the security checkpoint. The crowded lines, removing articles of clothing, and emptying your purse and pocket contents into a box are all reasons why these checkpoints can be a hassle. Now imagine having to do all these things while traveling with a pet. Overwhelming? It can be. With a little preparation and the proper equipment, your next experience with airport security will be a breeze. Here are some helpful tips next time you enter a security checkpoint with your pet.

Pack Light and dress accordingly. You will want to be able to minimize the amount of tasks you will have to perform to clear security. Packing a laptop in a briefcase and a pet in a carrier while dressed in sneakers will make your experience at airport security a difficult one. You will have to remove both the laptop from the briefcase and untie and remove your sneakers before even dealing with your pet. Leave the heavy jewelry and change at home or pack them in checked luggage.

Know your airline’s pet policies! Please be aware that all pet policies are unique to each airline. Knowing your airline’s pet policy can only help during the security process. Find a list of airline pet policies.

Your pet carrier must be airline compliant* and will be X-Rayed. During the security process, your pet’s carrier will be X-Rayed. This is completely normal. Put all of your dog’s accessories into a clear plastic bag inside of your carrier. This will help prevent delays and holdups while scanning your bag. Try to avoid carrying any liquids or gels for your pet. The same restrictions for lotions and gels that apply to you also apply to your pet. (3.4 ounce containers in a one quart plastic bag)

Your pet will be screened by the metal detector. After you place your bag into the X-Ray machine, you will then proceed into the metal detector with your pet in your arms. It is important to remember that your pet might be distracted or distressed by all the people, noise and commotion. We recommend keeping your pet leashed during the time it is out of the pet carrier. This way, if the pet succeeds to wriggle out of your grip, you will able to restrain them from running. Additionally, having a small treat in your pocket may help in getting your pet back into the carrier quickly.

Allow extra time to check in and clear airport security. Delta, Continental and American Airlines will not compensate you for missing a flight as a result of airport security holdups. US Airways will reschedule travelers who have been held up at security only for passengers that arrived more than 2 hours prior to flight time at no extra cost.

Using a little common sense as well as being organized will go a long way to make traveling with your pet safe and fun for you both.

*Airline compliant pet carriers must have a waterproof bottom, adequate ventilation, secure fasteners, and must fit in the space under the seat in front of you. Your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.

Senators Request Change in Reporting Airline Pet Cargo Incidents

Pet Travel: Airline Pet Cargo Incident Reporting

Airline pet cargo - reporting pet incidents by airlinesIt appears that the deaths of seven puppies in the cargo hold of an American Airlines jet earlier this month has incited a request from 3 senators, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), to clarify the word “animal” in congressional statutes when it comes to reporting pet incidents by airlines. In a letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, the Senators state that it was the original intent of the statute to include commercially bred and show dogs as being included as an animal that was to be reported should a death or injury occur in transport, not just an animal that was kept as a pet. Not reporting incidents involving breeder puppies and show dogs would unrealistically skew airline safety records, making it harder for people to make informed decisions about airline cargo travel.

Although the deaths reported by the airlines monthly are single digit, we must point out that the Department of Transportation estimates that over 2 million pets and live animals are shipped each year. The numbers most commonly reported are cumulative (they are not stated as such, I might add). Losing an animal is bad press for an airline, and there are many airlines that treat their furry travelers as very special pet cargo. Read the Air Travel Consumer Report, select a month, and scroll down to the last report for the Animal Incident Report.

Certainly, reporting incidents regarding ALL animals under the responsibility of the airline will encourage even more empasis on safety on the part of the airlines.

Like to discuss? Respond here or join our forum community.

UPDATE: July, 2014 Starting in January, 2015, the Department of Transportation will expand the number of airlines that are required to report incidents involving pets. They will also require more information from the airlines including the number of pets they transport. This information will give pet owners a better picture of an airline’s record when it comes to transporting pets. Good news for traveling pets. Stay tuned for updates…

Dog Park Safety – How to Prepare Your Dog and Avoid Conflicts at a Dog Park

Dog park outings can become unpleasant at times. Know your dog's social limits before exposing your dog to other dogsEarlier this month a Siberian husky named Bear-Bear was roaming in his neighborhood dog park when he approached a leashed German Shepherd. The Shepherd was owned by an off-duty police officer. The dogs play began to play rough and the federal officer asked Bear-Bear’s guardian, his owner’s brother, to call off the dog. But before he could do anything, the officer pulled out a gun and shot Bear-Bear.

This tragic scenario might have been prevented. It is important for dog owners to be educated in proper dog park etiquette and safety. With a little training for yourself and your dog, dangerous situations can be avoided. In an article by Trish King, the Director of Behavior and Training at the Marin Humane Society, wrote, “Dog parks are like going to a party where everyone is drunk. It could be fun, or it could be a disaster.”

Here is a list of recommendations for preparing your dog to visit a neighborhood dog park.

Before Going to the Dog Park

Is your dog sociable? Does your dog behave well with other dogs and people? These are important questions to ask yourself before your visit to the dog park. The earlier you socialize the dogs, the better. If your dog has not been exposed to other dogs, then you may want to consider some socialization prior to going to the dog park. Walk your dog around your neighborhood and meet the other dogs in the area. This is a good way to see how your dog reacts to other dogs.

Vaccinations and shots for your dog must be up to date. Most dog parks require this, but it is also for your dog’s best interest. This will help prevent diseases and parasites. Also, flea medication is a must, or plan to flea bathe your pet after your visit. You certainly don’t want to bring home any unwanted guests!

Be sure your dog is trained in the basic commands. Commands like sit, stay, and come are crucial at the dog park. If an altercation occurs, your dog will be more likely to respond to you and abondon an altercation.

Familiarize yourself to your dog’s play habits. Be able to differentiate when your dog is playing or getting aggressive. Know when to remove your dog if play gets out of hand.

At the Dog Park

Before entering, observe the environment. If the park is over-crowded, or some dogs are not playing in a suitable manner for your dog, do not enter.

Watch for toys. Some dogs are very possessive of toys. This type of behavior could easily lead to a skirmish at the dog park.

No food or treats at the dog park. Have you ever heard the saying “food fight”? This could be taken literally when dogs are concerned. Food is one thing that a dog will fight to protect.

Supervision is key. Don’t be the naive dog owner who thinks nothing can happen at the dog park. While you’re both there to have fun, your dog relies on you to keep them safe.

If a Fight Breaks Out

Remove your dog from the situation. If you notice a situation get out of hand, remove your dog before a fight can begin. This is when a strong “come” command is essential.

Resolve the situation with the other dog’s owner. Be proactive! Never reach for a dog’s collar, even your own. Always keep your hands away from their heads.

Knowing all about your dog’s personality is the key to a successful outing to the park. Also, being aware of what is happening will help with staying ahead of any potential conflicts and insuring a pleasant experience for both you and your dog.

Discuss your concerns about taking your pet to a dog park at our forum.

Lost Pets! Missing Pets! What to do?

Lost Pet Missing Pet identify your pet in case of loss or separationIt’s every pet owner’s nightmare: Your dog or cat is missing from the yard or dashes out the door, and you don’t know where they have gone. This could happen to even the safest pet owners. Before you panic, remember that there are steps that can be taken to recover your furry friend. Also, there are many ways to increase your chances of reuniting with your pet if the necessary precautions are made. Below is a list of what to do before and after losing your pet.

Precautions to Take Before Losing a Pet

Collars with an ID tag

Collars with an ID tag are recommended for EVERY pet, even indoor pets. The ID tag should have the owners name and current phone number. If you are traveling with your pet, keep your cell phone number on an additional tag for your pet. Just remember that collars can be removed or lost. Anyone can find a dog and replace their collar. To ensure your pet’s security, additional steps should be taken.

Microchip and Register Your Pet

Microchips are the best means for permanent identification. When an animal shelter finds a lost dog, the first thing they do is scan for a microchip. Inserting a microchip is a painless procedure and, once inserted, the chip will never expire. Be sure to register your pet’s microchip in the manufacturer’s database with your contact information. If you do not do this, micro chipping is fruitless. Also, remember to keep your information up to date. Should your pet be picked up by animal control officials, they will be able to access this information and contact you.

Keep current pet pictures

Take a photo of your pet with a digital camera and keep it current on your computer. If you don’t have a digital camera, most photo development stores can put your photos on a disk for you. If your pet ever gets lost, you’ll have a photo to show, post and print. Photos can make a HUGE difference in getting your pet back faster.

Know the local animal control agency

Learn where your local shelter is located. Keep in mind, there may be several branches. Pets can travel far, or are picked up by kind strangers who take them home – on the other side of town. Knowing all of local shelter locations in advance can help out in a frantic situation.

What to do if you lose your pet

Carefully check the house

Most pets like to hide or sleep in unusual places. Check under beds, bulky furniture and anywhere else he or she might be. Shaking a food dish or a squeaky toy might help get their attention.

Contact the local animal shelter

If you happen to be away from home and lose your pet, this step would especially apply to you. File a lost pet report with every shelter and animal control facility within a 60-mile radius of the dog’s last location and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible. Even if they don’t have your pet at the moment, make them aware of the situation and to contact you if they happen to hear of anything. Be sure to check their website occasionally. If there are no animal shelters in the area, contact the local law enforcement agency.

Posting Flyers

Flyers are a great way to raise awareness. Describe the dog so an average person would recognize him if he saw him. Include identifying information about him like his collar, dog tags, tattoo, identifying features like scars or unusual colorations, or microchip ID number. A reward might motivate people to search but it is not recommended to put an exact amount.

Be wary of “found” calls!

At this devastating time, you are vulnerable and there are unethical people who may try to take advantage. If someone says they found your dog respond with an incorrect description to see if they fall for it. For example, ask if the dog has a marking on his or her right leg (but doesn’t) if they answer yes….you’re most likely involved in a scam

Many vets, neighbors, shelters and rescuers have found that the fastest way to place an animal back with its family is by following info on tags and microchips. Be sure that your dog is wearing a tag at all times, also be sure to microchip and register your dog.

Making microchips for pets mandatory? Helpful or harmful?

The following recently published article talks about making pet micro chipping and registering a pet mandatory in the UK.


Would requiring microchips in pets and owner registration help reduce the number of strays in pet shelters and the cost of boarding and euthanizing them? Certainly, it will increase the number of reunions between pets and their owners. It would also increase accountability in pet owners encouraging them to turn in their pet to a shelter as opposed to abondoning them. When traveling with a pet, microchips are essential to protect your pet should it be lost or separated from you.

Are there further issues as well? How would the program be enforced? Would mandatory micro chipping in domesticated pets mark the start of greater identification in all animals and eventually in humans?

Discuss this with other pet owners in our forum: http://www.pettravel.com/forum/showthread.php/65-Making-microchips-mandatory-in-pets-a-growing-trend.

New Dangerous Dogs Regulations in Denmark

Dangerous Dogs Rules Pet Travel to DenmarkDenmark recently passed a ban on 13 breeds of dangerous dogs: Pitbull Terrier, Tosa Inu, American Staffordshire, Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, American Bulldog, Boerbel, Kangal, Central Asian Ovtcharka, Caucasian Ovtcharka, Southern Russian Ovtcharka, Tornjak and Sarplaninac.

Although each member of the EU has bans on certain types of dangerous dogs, this is one of the most specific and extensive lists issued to date. It appears that many countries are becoming aware of liabilities involved in the import of these breeds.

Pet owners of breeds that have been characterized as dangerous dogs need to be aware of these restrictions when they travel with their pet.

Pet Travel in an RV

Pet Travel in RVAccording to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, nearly 4 million RV owners hit the open roads with their pets every year. RV life with pets can be challenging, even for the more experienced travelers. Fortunately, you can keep your pets happy and safe with a little work and preparation. The suggestions listed below will help insure a great RV experience with you and your pet.

Know the pet policy of the campground. Most campgrounds and RV parks have pet and noise restrictions. They might charge extra for pets or have leash rules or designated areas for dog walking. Also, a campsite that is a little more remote may increase the chances that a spirited pet won’t bother other campers. (If your pet barks at people passing by, selecting a campsite next to the restrooms makes little sense.)

Let your pet get acclimated with the RV before hitting the open road. Dogs and cats are much more comfortable examining a new space on their own. Give your pet time before travel to explore the RV.

Consider restraining your pet During a sudden stop or accident, loose pets can be hurt or even killed. They can also distract others should they be allowed to roam while the RV is moving. To help keep your pet and family safe, it is sensible to have your dog restrained in some manner during travel. Some people prefer a pet carrier or cargo crate, while others prefer an automobile pet harness. A pet booster seat is another great option for smaller pets.

Take items that are familiar to your pet. A favorite dog bed or blanket, favorite toy or scratching post.

Make sure you have your pet’s medical records and your vet’s phone number. It is also a good idea to research the number of a local veterinarian in your destination town just in case of emergency.

Don’t forget an ample supply of your pet’s food. Also, bring plenty of water from home. The last problem you both need is indigestion.

Provide plenty of stops for your pet when on the road. Like humans, dogs and cats need to take care of business and get in some stretches periodically when on trips. This will help reduce accidents. If your cat is litter trained, a portable litter tray can also come in handy.

Be prepared for the inevitable accident. Have a supply of paper towels, rags, and carpet and upholstery cleaners on hand, as well as floor cleaner.

Do not leave your pet alone in the RV! Extreme temperatures could seriously affect or even kill your pet. Consider the services of a pet day care if you plan to spend considerable time away from the RV once or twice during your trip. Otherwise, inquire in the community center or other campers for the services of a pet sitter.

Obey the rules wherever you stay. Don’t try to sneak your pet into any place not allowed. Please remember: places remain as pet-friendly as the last poorly behaved human allows.

An RV is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about finding pet friendly hotels and restaurants. There is no reason why you and your pet cannot have a great time in a RV with a bit of planning ahead of time.

Pet Travel by Air – Tips for Flying with a Pet

Flying with a petTraveling with your pet by air? Follow these simple steps for a safe and stress-free experience flying with your pet.

Airline pet travel can be an enjoyable experience, but can also be stressful without the proper preparation. It is important to remember (especially on international flights) that there is specific documentation that will need to be completed in advance of travel.

If you are traveling internationally by air, you will need pet passport forms for the specific country you are traveling to. Do not procrastinate! Some countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom all have quarantine policies ranging from up to six months. There are ways to avoid your pet being quarantined in these countries, but you must prepare in advance.

The next step is to find the airlines which service your origination and destination cities. Once you have a few airlines to choose from, take a look at their individual pet policies. Each airline is different with regard to pricing and pet policy. Doing your homework at this stage of the process is very important.

Here’s a tip! Once you find the airline that suits your needs, (and those of your pet) print out a copy of their pet policy. This will ensure a hassle-free experience once you get to the airport. You can find airline pet policies at PetTravel.com.

The next step is to decide whether your pet needs to fly in the cabin of the airline or in the cargo area. This will depend solely on the size and type of animal. Most airlines that permit pets in the cabin specify cats, dogs, and small birds only. (rules on birds vary, however). If your pet is small enough to travel in the cabin, you will need an airline compliant pet carrier. Your pet will need to be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. It must have adequate ventilation, a waterproof bottom, and secure fasteners. A general rule is that your pet needs to be less than 10” high and 18” long to be able to travel in-cabin.

Another tip: call your airlines and ask them how much room there is under the seat in front of you on your specific flight. This will tell you if you will have problems with your pet’s carrier.

Larger cats and dogs and other pets not approved for in-cabin will fly in the cargo area of the plane. There are many myths about pets traveling as cargo such as “the area is a dark cold place where your pet is going to suffer.” Let me tell you, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Did you know that the cargo area where pets fly is temperature and pressure controlled just like the regular cabin? Also, all airline personnel who handle your pet have been specifically trained for this purpose. Airlines have to report all incidents to the US Department of Transportation for recording. Certainly, they want to avoid any problems with traveling pets.

If you cannot accompany your pet, or your pet is too large to travel with checked baggage, you need to contact the cargo department of the airline. They will be handling your pet’s transport, and will deliver your pet to baggage claim at the end of the flight.

Your pet will have to travel in a pet cargo crate that is compliant with International Air Transport Association. The crate will have to have adequate ventilation, (all 4 sides on international flights) a spring lock door, sturdy fasteners, (steel in some cases) food and water bowls attached to the door, no wheels, and live animal stickers on the outside of the crate. Your pet needs to be able to stand up and turn around in the crate. If the flight is a long one, we would also recommend a pet pad to keep your pet dry and comfortable.

No matter whether your pet travels in-cabin or cargo, it is crucial to call the airlines before booking your flight to let them know you will be traveling with a pet. Most airlines only allow a certain number of pets on each flight, so it’s best to make your pet’s reservation early.

The final step is to visit your vet for a health certificate. We highly recommend this although not airlines require it. The form should be completed less than 14 days before your date of departure. The health certificate will state that your pet is up to date on shots and exams and is free of ticks, fleas, and diseases communicable to humans. The cost varies depending on your veterinarian, but it’s something you have to do if you want your best buddy to travel with you.

Groom your pet before traveling. Your pet will feel and look better after a bath and combing. Cut back on your pet’s food and feed them about 2 hours prior to flight time. Be sure they are hydrated, and take them for a long walk before heading out to the airport.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Most of it is common sense. I cannot stress enough the importance of preparation. Give yourself enough time to prepare the documentation and acclimate your pet to his/her carrier or crate. Simple steps such as these will go a long way in insuring a pleasant flight for both you and your pet.