Warm weather makes us want to set out. Set out to cooler places and enjoy outdoors. It is that time of the year, when families head out for the cottage. Since this set up does not even remotely resemble your urban environment, it calls for a utmost pet safety precautions from your end if your planning on taking your pet along. Your pets are not very different from kids. Both are extremely curious, inquisitive and famously known to get into trouble of all kinds. By being aware of all the things that can cause to get your pet into trouble, only helps in avoiding them and ensures an uneventful stay at the cottage, both for you and for your furred companion.
Here are some important safety measures that you would want to take before embarking on your journey to the cottage:
1. The travel
First things first, make sure that your pet is securely strapped onto a seat belt or is being kept in those special carriers made exclusively for pet transportation, when driving to your destination. Ensure the temperature inside the car maintained at all times & is pet friendly by turning on the air conditioner when needed. Never ever leave your pet locked up inside your car with windows closed or even partially open because it can only be a matter of some minutes before your beloved pet collapses out of suffocation or heatstroke.
By feeding your pet with a light meal at least 3-4 hours in advance before the journey will help in preventing car sickness. Also, give your pet some respite from traveling continuously for long hours by pausing for a break every 2 to 4 hours. This break can be used to give it some time to flex its muscles, stretch itself, exercise and to attend the call of the nature. You can carry a litter box, in case of cats.
All the while make sure that the leash is securely fastened to your pet’s collar. Since pets are basically curious & still retain a part in them that is wild, it won’t be long before you find your pet chase a wild hare or a turkey and then loose its way to your car or worse, get hit by another vehicle. Leashing them therefore helps in preventing such uncalled for tragedies & accidental escapes to a large extent, especially if you are a parent to a very naughty pet.
Another important precaution that you need take regarding your pet’s safety is by ensuring that it does not stick its head out of the window. A sudden brake or debris is all it takes to cause it some serious injuries. Last but not the least, try and be sensitive to your travel companion by not blaring the speakers of car and by keeping the volumes moderate, since dogs’ and cats’ hearing are several times higher than our own.
2. Limit your pet’s freedom
You might think as to what better place than the cottage to let your pets loose and allow them some fun and frolic. Wrong! This in fact, is a place where you need to be more guarded about your pet’s freedom than ever before. Never forget the fact that this place is alien and unfamiliar to your pet.
Letting them loose in an environment like this, is like inviting trouble with a red carpet. Chances of your pet getting lost or hit by a passing vehicle are mighty. Your pet might even become an unfortunate victim of territorial dog fights. Having your pet microchipped therefore is a very good idea. Keep the contact details of local animal shelters in & around your cottage area handy.
3. A healthy pet is a happy pet
Before leaving for the cottage, ensure that your pet does not have any of its vaccinations due, especially against deadly diseases like Rabies or CD (Canine Distemper), both of which can prove fatal to your beloved pet. It should also be safeguarded against tick or flea infestation. Your veterinarian should be able to help you regarding the medications available in preventing lice and flea attacks on your pet when outdoors.
Never bring an ailing pet along with you to the cottage. Have someone take care of your pet while your away, for a travel to a new place can be traumatizing to the poor animal. In any case, keep the phone number of a veterinarian close to your cottage area, handy at all times in case of any unforeseen emergencies.
4. Water and pets
A nice water body is synonymous with fun. Boating, swimming etc., are some of the water sports that we all enjoy immensely and therefore want our pets to enjoy them too. But then, water safety is not limited to us alone, it should be extended to our furred friends too. Get them a pet life jacket, for you don’t want to lose them to an otherwise easily avoidable water accident. Life jackets are called that way for a reason, and that is because- it protects, protects life. It also helps your pet against the fatal ‘hypothermia’ in cold & frigid waters. Here are some things to watch out for:
a. Never let your dog into the water with its leash or chain still on, for these can get entangled to hidden obstacles under water like water weeds, rocks, debris etc.
b. Running or moving water can be dangerous to your pet. The large quantities of flowing water will make it difficult for your pet to swim against its current.
c. Check the temperature of the water. Very cold water can cause hypothermia to your pet, which if untreated swiftly can result in the tragic loss of your pet.
d. Keep a tab on your pet’s energy levels when it is in the water. Get him out of the water the moment you notice a drop in its energy levels, because the chances of a tired dog drowning to its death are higher than you thought.
5. Safeguard your pets against other wild animals and vice versa
You are responsible for your pets and their actions. Care should be taken at all times to ensure that your pet does not harass or attack vulnerable wild animals like ground nesting birds, hares etc. since they are very vulnerable around this time of the year, busy raising their young ones. Your pet can prove to be quite a menace to such animals. You should therefore take care that your pet does not cause any injury to wild animals and birds. Practice a ‘live and let live’ lifestyle when in places like these, esp. with other wildlife around you.
You also need to protect your own pet from more dangerous wildlife like bears, porcupines, skunks. A chance meeting with with these animals can prove to be a fatal or a painful experience to your pet. There are also chances of your pet contacting contagious diseases like rabies etc. from other animals in the area. Keeping your pet indoors and/or on a leash at all times would therefore save you all this trouble.