Have pet, can – and will – travel... hopefully!
My dog is sick in the car and gets very agitated. Is there anything I can do to help?
We all want to be able to jump in the car with our dogs and go for a walk somewhere different and having a dog that travels badly is frustrating and limits your ability to travel. Firstly, motion sickness affects dogs just as it does humans and puppies are more sensitive. Signs such as restlessness, salivation, retching and vomiting are common and this experience causes stress and anxiety making subsequent journeys worse. The second cause is fear and anxiety itself. Bad experiences, such as motion sickness when a puppy, add to the fear and this increases the chances of motion sickness. The key to improving things is to change the way your dog sees the car. Start with the car switched off and feed treats in it and get your dog used to it as a nonscary experience. Build up slowly to small journeys with lots of positive experiences at the other end such as treats and praise. This can take a long time and you may need to go back to earlier stages. For those animals with true motion sickness there is a medication available from the vet that can stop this and for longer journeys or during the training phase it is well worth considering. When travelling it is also worth remembering to drive carefully and steadily to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Keep the windows slightly open for fresh air and take regular breaks so your dog can get out.
My dog has been diagnosed with arthritis and is on some medication but I want to know if there is anything else I can do.
Depending on where the arthritis is and the severity the answer can change a little, however there are some common themes. We cannot cure arthritis, only slow the rate of deterioration and control the discomfort. I would expect that your dog is on Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and this should form the basis of treatment; this class of drugs reduces the inflammation in the affected joints and thus the discomfort. There are many different preparations of NSAIDs, and some may suit you better than others for ease of use and effect, but most work best when given continuously and are generally safe to do so. The second part of arthritis management is weight control and exercise. It is really important that your dog is not overweight as every extra bit puts more stress on the joints. Regular, but not overly arduous, exercise is important to keep mobility and also helps with the weight control. In many cases hydrotherapy can help immensely by building muscle and fitness without damaging joints and I strongly recommend this. Joint supplements are popular and have some evidence to show they can help, although for a dog with confirmed arthritis they would not be enough on their own. There are also adjunctive therapies that have been shown to have some effect ranging from acupuncture to laser therapy and these can be added to a treatment programme on discussion with your vet. Lastly, there are some conditions that can have possible surgical fixes (such as hip replacement) but these are very specific to individual cases. Early treatment is important and adjustments may be required over time.
With Brexit a reality will my Pet Passport still work?
As with many other aspects of our relationship with Europe the Pet Passport scheme will be part of the negotiations. As such there is no clear answer but my thoughts would be that it is very unlikely that the scheme would not continue very much as it is (but don’t quote me!).
Cees Bennett BVetMed MRCVS Veterinary surgeon and Joint Venture Partner at: Peterborough Vets4Pets 231-233 St Paul’s Road Peterborough PE1 3RL Tel: 01733 890777 & Bretton Vets4Pets Inside Pets at Home Unit 2 The Bretton Centre Peterborough PE3 8DN Tel: 01733 261094