How Best To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

By Dogs No Comments

Keep your dog’s teeth healthy with regular dental checkups

Read Time: 4 minutes

Does your pet have bad breath? It might be a sign of hidden dental problems or the need for a dental cleaning performed by a veterinary professional. To keep your pet’s teeth in check between annual exams you can use dog-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste, dental treats and bones, chew toys, and water additives. But, even when using these extra measures, prepare to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. You’ll likely need to have your dog’s teeth cleaned more often if they are a small dog breed due to crowding in the mouth or if they are a senior canine.

Techniques for Keeping Your Dog’s Mouth Clean

Fingertoothbrush for dogs

The main techniques for keeping your dog’s mouth clean are by brushing, using dental treats, and having your veterinarian perform dental cleanings as needed. There are also a handful of supplemental teeth cleaning options for maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene. These options include tooth wipes, chew toys, dental bones, and water additives.

Preventative dental care for dogs costs a fraction of the price tag on treating tooth-related diseases. This realization has shown a spike in dental care-related spending by pet owners. And with 8 in 10 dogs showing signs of oral disease by their third birthday, it makes sense to put in the upfront effort to maintain your dog’s oral health.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Getting ready to brush dog's teeth

While 76% of pet owners agree that oral hygiene is important for overall health in their canine companions, only 10% brush their dog’s teeth at least once weekly. But brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way for you to fend off plaque before it turns into tartar, a process that takes 24 to 48 hours.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

You’ll want to use a dog-specific toothbrush. If you can’t locate one made for dogs, try a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush or a finger toothbrush. You’ll pair this with dog-specific toothpaste. Never use toothpaste meant for people. Baking soda and salt should also never be used as dog toothpaste-supplements as they can be harmful to your dog. Plus, your dog will be more receptive to dog toothpaste which is usually flavored to taste like poultry or another dog-approved taste.


Position yourself non-threateningly

To begin the toothbrushing process, kneel or sit by your dog’s head. You don’t want to crowd or restrain your pet. This will only make them fearful and associate toothbrushing with being held down.


Start by getting your dog used to light pressure on their teeth and gums

If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth or handled their mouth, start by rubbing your finger along their teeth and gum line. This is to help your dog become familiar with have their teeth touched. Don’t be surprised if your pup isn’t a huge fan of this. If they are especially resistant, try slowly warming them up to have you touch their teeth over multiple brushing sessions before ever using the toothbrush.


Allow your dog to taste the dog toothpaste

Once your dog has accepted having their teeth touched by you, let them test out the taste of the dog toothpaste. If they aren’t a fan of the type you’ve picked out you can test out different flavors and brands until you find one they enjoy.


Begin brushing, being careful not to apply too much pressure

Brushing dogs teeth

Now it’s time to begin brushing. Gently place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle of the gumline. This will better clear away plaque than placing the toothbrush flat against the tooth. Use gentle circular motions across all top and bottom teeth. Throughout the process, be gentle, reassuring, and always end with a treat and praise.


Try to brush their teeth every few days or once a week.

Note: Some bleeding may occur during this process. Monitor the status of bleeding to ensure it is not severe. While minor bleeding is normal, severe bleeding could be a sign your dog is developing periodontitis. If major bleeding occurs contact your pet’s vet as soon as possible.

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Toothwipes as Alternatives to Toothbrushes

If your dog says no way to toothbrushes, you might be able to get away with using toothwipes. These premoistened wipes can be used daily to wipe the surface of the teeth. Toothwipes are textured specifically for use on dog’s teeth to clean but not damage gums. They are convenient and quick to use with no need for rinsing.

Offering Dental Treats to Your Dog

Dental treats for dogs

Dental treats are lining pet store shelves and they can be great, convenient ways to slip in an extra oral health-conscious decision into your dog’s everyday life. Some dog dental treats on the market today can reduce your dog’s plaque by up to 70%. This is achieved by larger diameter treats with a coating called polyphosphate. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHL) gives its seal of approval on products able to reduce plaque by 10% to 20% depending on the specific uses. A full list of products that received their seal of approval can be found here.

But even with a better doggy smile in order, you’ll want to limit the number of dental treats your dog receives. You don’t want to trade out dental problems for weight problems.

Chew Toys, Bones, and Diets for Dental Cleaning

If you’re trying to watch your dog’s weight, there are other ‘fun’ ways to practice oral hygiene with your pup.

Chew toys and bones give your dog something to gnaw on that will work at the buildup on his teeth and in the crevices of his teeth. This helps to kick plaque to the curb before it hardens and becomes tartar. You can also opt for a dental-specific diet to replace his current kibble. But check with your vet before you make the switch. They’ll be able to guide you to the best brand for real results.

While dental treats, chew toys, bones, and dental health-specific diets can all help to improve your dog’s oral hygiene, it can’t replace brushing and professional cleaning. These products can clean the surface of your dog’s mouth, but they aren’t able to clean under the gumline. This is where plaque really gets established and starts wreaking havoc. So while these dental hygiene options are beneficial, they shouldn’t be the only measure you take to ensure your dog has a healthy mouth.

Cleanings by Your Veterinarian

Professional cleaning by vet professional

While you can practice every other method of canine dental hygiene, professional dental cleanings shouldn’t be skipped out on. Your veterinarian and their trained staff will remove tartar and make any necessary teeth extractions to get your dog’s mouth back to tip-top condition.

You should prepare for professional dental cleaning once a year. But speak with your vet to develop the best plan for your pup. Some dogs may be able to wait longer between cleaning while some may need them more frequently.

How Often Should Your Dog’s Teeth Be Cleaned?

Professional cleanings once per year is recommended by most veterinary professionals. However, your veterinarian will assess your dog and determine the best treatment plan for your pet.

Your pet may need more frequent cleanings if they are older, have advanced dental problems, or are a small dog breed. Small dog breeds are notorious for their bad teeth. This is caused by their mouths being smaller and becoming overcrowded. Their overcrowded teeth are then more susceptible to periodontal disease.

What Does a Healthy Dog Mouth Look Like?

If you take a peek into your dog’s mouth you can potentially spot developing problems before they worsen. Healthy dog gums are pink or mottled. Their gums shouldn’t be red, swollen, or oozing. Also keep an eye out for pale pink, white, blue and purple gums. Basically, if they’re not a healthy pink, it’s time to call your vet.

While your dog’s breath will never revert to its puppy breath stage, you can still spot a rising oral health problem. If your dog’s breath is particularly pungent they may have a dental disease.

Healthy dog mouths will not have any broken teeth or obvious, significant plaque buildup around the gumline.

Common Dental Problems to Watch For

Plaque buildup on dog tooth

Knowing what to look for and what can happen to a dog with unmaintained oral hygiene can help dog owners stay on top of keeping their dog’s mouth properly managed. Here are the most common canine dental problems to watch out for.


Sometimes lumps and bumps will form in your dog’s mouth. While these might be nothing to worry about, you’d rather be safe than sorry. Have your vet check to see if the newly-formed bump is a tumor or cyst.

If it’s a cyst, your vet may need to drain it. If it’s a tumor, your vet will likely suggest it be biopsied to determine whether it is cancerous or not.

What it looks like: Raised lumps on your dog’s gums. Will likely be one solitary lump.


Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, is caused by bacterial buildup in the mouth. While you should start brushing your dog’s teeth more regularly, it doesn’t hurt to have your dog examined by their vet. Halitosis sometimes points to an underlying infection or kidney disease.

What it looks like: You’ll smell it rather than see it. It will be more intense than normal ‘doggy breath’.


Plaque on dog teeth with mouth infection

Plaque is the dark brown or yellowish buildup on your dog’s teeth. It will likely be concentrated around the gumline. Plaque will turn into tartar within 24 to 48 hours. At which point you won’t be able to simply brush it away.

If you notice an increase in plaque or tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth, it may be time for a professional cleaning. Contact your veterinarian for an exam to determine if and when your dog will need to be scheduled for a dental exam.

What it looks like: Dark brown or yellow buildup on dog’s teeth, concentrated around the gumline.

Proliferating Gum Disease

Proliferating gum disease occurs when the gums begin to grow over the teeth. Dogs with proliferating gum disease are more susceptible to developing infections.

What it looks like: Gums growing over teeth, more common in boxers and bull terriers.


Dog mouth with gingivitis

Dogs develop gingivitis just like people. Luckily, you can reverse this dental condition with a change in your pet’s oral hygiene habits. Begin brushing your dog’s teeth more often and making other small changes in favor of healthy teeth. Your veterinarian can help guide you in making the best decisions for your dog as you manage this dental condition.

What it looks like: Irritated gums and an excess of plaque.

Periodontal Disease

Dogs can begin to show signs of periodontitis as early as three years old. Given it’s the most common dental condition in dogs, you’ll want to take special precautionary measures to prevent your dog from developing it.

Dogs with periodontal disease will experience pain, loosening teeth, irritated and swollen gums, and in severe cases, nasal discharge.

Book an appointment with your veterinarian at the first sign of your dog developing periodontal disease. Your veterinarian will be able to develop a treatment plan to help manage your dog’s condition.

What it looks like: Yellowing or brown teeth, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and irritated gums are all signs of periodontal disease.

Signs You Need to Take Your Dog to the Vet

If your pet is up-to-date on his exams but is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact your vet to have his teeth checked:

  • Bad or worsening breath
  • Buildup of plaque along the gumline
  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing or scratching at their mouths consistently
  • Unexplained lumps or growths on the gums
  • Broken and discolored teeth

You want to tackle dental problems before they progress. By contacting your veterinarian as soon as you become aware of your dog’s symptoms you are more likely to resolve the problem before it becomes a major problem for your dog’s comfort and your wallet.

If you haven’t had your pup’s teeth checked in the past year or longer, schedule an appointment to get them on the path to lifelong oral health.

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Does a pet microchip have a GPS in it?

By Dogs No Comments

Pet GPS is a different technology from a microchip

Read Time: 2 minutes

Pet microchips do not have GPS technology. Instead, they use Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that is able to be scanned for information, like the pet owner’s contact information. This means that microchips can’t give your pet’s location if they get lost, but can lead to their safe return when found.


What is a Microchip?

Microchipping your pet is one of the most effective ways to be reunited with a lost or stolen pet.

Vet microchipping a dog

Very Small & Placed Under Your Pet’s Skin

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. It is placed in a sterile applicator and injected in the loose skin, causing no more harm to your pet than you normally feel with having blood drawn.

Pet microchip next to a grain of rice

Helps Your Lost Pet Find You

While a microchip may not exactly help you find your lost pet, it works the other way around. If your pet is taken to a vet or animal hospital, the information on the microchip will allow them to reach out to your and reunite you both.

More Information than a Collar

While a collar is useful in reuniting you with your furry friend, it provides significantly less information than a microchip. It can also be easily taken off by your pet, another animal, or a person. That’s why we recommend equipping your pet with both a tagged collar and a microchip.

How Does a Microchip Work?

If your pet is lost or stolen and ends up at a vet or animal shelter, the first thing that they’ll do is check for a collar and microchip.

A scanner will be used on your pet to check for the microchip. It is placed outside of the skin near where the microchip was implanted. The chip will then use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to transmit your pet’s registration number.

As long as you have registered your pet’s microchip, the vet or animal shelter will be able to see your contact information and reach out about the whereabouts of your pet.

Vet checking for a cat's microchip

How to Register Your Pet’s Microchip

Your pet’s microchip is useless without up-to-date information in a registry. As soon as you get your pet microchipped, register them at any and all registrations that you can find. Some popular ones are:

It’s vitally important to update your information in the registries anytime that it changes. If you move, get a new phone number, change your last name for a marriage, or any other cause of information changing, remember to update your information so that your pet can get back to you safely.

Are There GPS Trackers for Pets?

While microchips don’t give your pet’s location, GPS options do exist. However, they’re extremely different from microchips. GPS devices for your pet:

  • Are worn externally, usually on a collar
  • Are large and heavy compared to microchips making them difficult for smaller animals
  • Cost upwards of a couple hundred dollars
  • Typically require a monthly subscription fee
  • Have a limited range, typically of a couple miles
  • Usually last a couple of days until the batteries need to be charged again

If your pet gets lost extremely often, a GPS tracker may work for you, but be aware of the ongoing cost and maintenance that they typically require.

Read more about how we can help with microchipping your pet.

Examples of GPS Trackers for Pets

What Should You Bring to a First Vet Visit

What Should You Bring to a First Vet Visit?

By Cats, Dogs No Comments

Bring all documentation and medical records you have

Read Time: 4 minutes

Whether you’re bringing a new furry family member to your established vet or taking your pet to a new vet, there are certain things that you should bring with you to the first visit. These include documents like medical records and your own identification but also any information you have about your pet that could help your vet.

Your Pet’s Veterinary Records

a veterinarian writing on a pet’s medical records in front of a white dog sitting on its owner’s lap

If you’re switching to a new veterinarian for any reason, the most important thing to bring with you to the first visit is whatever medical records you have for your pet. The more detailed these records are, the better. Call your previous veterinarian to obtain them if necessary. If you can’t get the records, then anything you have is better than nothing at all.

Your Own Identification

If this is your first time with this particular vet, you’ll also need your own identification, like your driver’s license. Your vet will need to verify your identity and set up your profile with that vet’s office.

Your Pet’s Medications

a cat on a white counter next to different types of pet medication

If you have been giving your pet any medications, you should bring the medications themselves and also a list of how frequently and how much of each medication you give your pet. This is so your new vet can evaluate what you’re giving to your pet and whether the medication is expired or needs a dosage adjustment. Keep in mind that this includes vitamins, flea treatments, and other normal medications, not just prescriptions for an illness or health condition.

Your Pet’s Food and Treats

a woman holding a bowl of dog food about to set it down on the kitchen floor for her golden retriever

Nutrition plays a major role in your pet’s health. For this reason, your new vet will need to know exactly what and how much you’re feeding your pet. You don’t have to actually bring in the food, but take photos of the bag or write down what it is you buy.

Your Pet’s Favorite Treats or Food

Many pets are nervous at the vet. For this reason, go ahead and bring something that will help your pet to feel more comfortable. This could be your dog or cat’s favorite treat or a toy that will help them to relax and feel less nervous. If you don’t feed your pet prior to the appointment, your vet can feed them during the visit, which can help to calm your pet down and make the visit better.

Stool and Urine Samples

Vets test stool samples for parasites and will need one from within 24 hours of your first visit. If you are concerned about your pet having a urinary issue, you can also bring a urine sample for testing.

A List of Your Questions

If you have any concerns about your pet’s health or any questions for your new vet, write them down and bring that list with you to the appointment. Your vet will be happy to answer any questions you might have and the list can help make sure that you don’t forget anything.

Ask Your Vet What You Should Bring

While the above items are commonly helpful to bring to your first visit, every vet is different. It’s a good idea to call your vet ahead of time and ask what they’d like you to bring with you. That way, you’ll be absolutely certain that you’ve got everything you need.

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If your pet is exhibiting concerning symptoms or experiencing a medical emergency, please call our clinic at (407) 352-2579. We’ll help you through it.


Should You Microchip Your Pet?

By Dogs No Comments

A microchip can help find a lost pet

Read Time: 3 minutes
Picture this: Your pet manages to get out of your home, they slip out of their collar with your phone number and name, and completely disappear. It’s a scary situation to find yourself in as a pet owner. But with one small change, you can increase the odds of bringing your pet home safely. In fact, over 52% of dogs are returned to their owners thanks to a microchip.

Are Microchips Safe for Pets?

Microchips are completely safe for pets and have become standard practice. Many pet owners request microchipping when they bring their pet in for a spay or neuter. This procedure is performed in the clinic using a sterile, pre-loaded syringe.

The standard microchip placement for dogs and cats is behind the neck and between the shoulder blades. It’s safe, sterile, and quick. Plus, one microchip lasts a lifetime so there’s no need to worry about boosters.

What Animals Can Be Microchipped?

Dogs and cats should be microchipped regardless of whether they reside mostly outside or inside your home. Rabbits, horses, ferrets, and even parrots can be microchipped, among plenty of other domestic pets.

While dogs and cats are the most common species to be microchipped, you can ask your vet about microchipping any species of pet you might own. You’d be surprised by the types of animals who are being microchipped.

How is the Microchip Inserted?

The microchip is inserted using a sterile, pre-loaded syringe. The injection site for dogs and cats is most commonly between the shoulder blades.
Holding up a microchip syringe
If your fur baby was adopted from a shelter or rescue, there’s a strong chance he or she has already been microchipped. Standard practice for shelters is to microchip upon intake and examination of all rescued animals.

Benefits of Microchipping Dogs and Cats

But why should you microchip your pet? Pet microchips come with a number of benefits. While these benefits are only capitalized on in emergency situations if your pet becomes separated from you, it’s important to prepare for a situation where that’s the case. Better safe than separated permanently.

Let’s check out the benefits of microchipping your dog or cat:

  • Permanent identification if your pet wanders off and is found by an individual or shelter
  • Ability to reconnect with your pet after a natural disaster
  • Lifetime identification as microchips are permanent
  • Quicker reconnection with pets who may suffer from diseases requiring medication

How Do I Find My Pet Using Their Microchip?

You can’t track your pet’s location using a microchip but the person who finds your pet can use it to find you. When a pet is taken to a veterinary clinic, rescue, or shelter they will be scanned for a microchip.

If a registered microchip is located it will give an identification number used to pull up your pet’s profile. This profile will include your name and contact information.

Does My Pet Need a Collar and Tag If They’re Microchipped?

More identifying markers are not a bad thing. In order to scan a microchip, you need a microchip scanner. The average household does keep a microchip scanner in their junk drawer so it’s wise to have a more easily accessible identifying mark on your pet.

Double up with a collar and tag and a microchip to give your pet the best chances of reuniting with you.

Pet Microchipping Myths

Microchipping syringe and microchip for pets
There are always those who support and those who hate pet microchipping. Let’s debunk some common microchipping myths to stop the spread of false information.

Myth #1 – Indoor Cats Don’t Need Microchips

Indoor cats can get out of a house. With that in mind, it’s always wise to prepare for the worst. Cats have a low return-to-owner rate, but inserting a microchip ups their chances of making it home.

Your pet many never get lost. But, by preparing with a microchip, you can rest assured the odds of your pet making it home are greatly improved if they ever do get lost.

Myth #2 – Microchips Are Painful to Implant

Microchips are about as painful as having blood drawn. Many owners have their pet microchipped during their spay and neuter procedures while they are under anesthesia.

Myth #3 – Microchips Allow You to GPS Track Your Pet

Unfortunately, microchipping your pet doesn’t give you an automatic GPS tracker. If your pet is lost the shelter or individual you find them will have to scan their neck for a microchip. However, microchipping scanning is a standard practice now which means it’s unlikely your pet won’t have their microchip scanned once found.

If you’re dead set on finding a GPS tracker for your pet, there are a number of options on the market. These have a higher initial and maintenance cost than other pet identification methods.

Is Microchipping Your Pet Expensive?

owner hugging their pet
Microchipping costs generally fall below $75 for initial implantation. This is a one-time fee for the application of the microchip by the veterinarian.

Most veterinarians will scan for an existing microchip before inserting a new one. This is great if you’re unsure if your pet has been microchipped by previous owners or from the entity they were adopted from. It will also cut the cost of an unnecessary microchip and eliminate potential confusion of ID numbers if your pet is scanned for a microchip in the future.

Can My Pet’s Microchip Number Expire?

Your pet’s microchip number won’t expire. However, you’ll want to keep the pet’s listing up-to-date. Keep track of the registering agency where your pet’s profile is held and keep it updated after you move to a new home or get a new phone number.

It’s also wise to keep an eye on the terms of your chosen registry agency. Some are free, some require a one-time fee, and some require annual payments to keep updated.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Information Updated

Cat being scanned for microchip
If you move or update your phone number you’ll need to update your pet’s profile on the correct registry.

If you’re unsure where your pet is registered, enter the microchip number in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup. This will direct you to the correct registry or manufacturer of the chip. Use the results of this lookup tool to track down the registry or manufacturer you can update your pet’s profile with.

Some common pet microchip registries include:

If you have questions or concerns about microchipping, or would like to schedule an appointment to have your pet microchipped, contact us.

Pros and Cons of GPS Tracking Your Pet

Pros and Cons of GPS Tracking Your Pet

By Cats, Dogs No Comments

A GPS tracker can tell you exactly where your pet is at all times

Read Time: 3 minutes

A beloved pet escaping or getting lost can be one of a pet owner’s worst nightmares. GPS tracking may be an option for you if you want to know where your furry family member is at all times. But before you invest your money in buying a GPS tracker, you should know both the benefits and the drawbacks of the technology and its use in finding lost pets.

The Pros of GPS Tracking a Pet

Pet owners looking for the peace of mind that comes from knowing where their pet is at any given moment may find GPS tracking to be a relief.

Peace of Mind

One of the most important benefits to a pet owner is the peace of mind a GPS tracker gives them. They can log onto an app or a website at any time and check that their pet is exactly where they should be. If for any reason your pet isn’t where you expect, the GPS tracker will let you know their exact location so they’re easy to track down.

Push Notifications Can Alert of an Escape

Many GPS trackers can send alerts via push notification on a mobile device to pet owners if their pet has escaped. The tracker can be set up to trigger an alert whenever a pet leaves the house, yard, or another designated area. This can help pet owners to more quickly find lost pets because they know the instant the pet has gone, reducing the risk of injuries or illness.

Pets Can Safely Explore Outdoors

a child with a dog running down a path in a rural field

If you’d prefer that your dog or cat have the ability to safely explore outdoors, a GPS tracker can help you to not worry while they do. This is useful for pet owners with outdoor cats and large backyards. You don’t have to worry if you lose sight of your pet because you’ll always know exactly where they are.

You Can Better Understand Your Pet

Tracking a pet with GPS can help pet owners better understand what their pet does all day. They’ll know their favorite spots and where they like to explore. This can also help you to understand how active your pet is whenever you’re not there so you know if they need more physical activity and exercise when you are.

Different Features to Choose from

Another advantage of GPS is that there are a lot of different brands out there, which means that you’ve got the freedom to shop around and choose one that fits both your budget and your needs in terms of features. Plus, there are a variety of ranges to choose from, for example, either a range of 25 miles or an unlimited range.

Usable on Multiple Pets

a dog and a cat playing together outside

With many GPS tracking systems, you can monitor multiple pets on the same system. Each would need their own tracker, but they could be registered on the same system and could be watched from the same app.

Find a Lost Pet Faster

a couple hanging up lost pet signs

It’s important for pets to be microchipped and for their collars to have the owner’s contact information. However, with both of those options, you may have to just wait for someone to find your pet and call you. With a GPS tracker, you’ll have a location and can head right there so you don’t have to wait and worry.

Set up Boundaries

You can use a GPS tracker like an invisible fence as well as a tracker. Pet owners can program in boundaries and if the pet reaches those, it can vibrate, beep, or use LED lights to warn the pet that they’re approaching the boundary.

The Cons of GPS Tracking a Pet

Despite the numerous advantages of GPS tracking for pets, there are some disadvantages that pet owners should be aware of before investing in the technology.

GPS Trackers Can Be Expensive

A GPS tracker definitely isn’t within every pet owner’s budget. It can cost more than $100 for the tracking technology alone if you want a tracker with an unlimited range. On top of that, many trackers also have a subscription cost, which could also be up to $100 annually.

Difficulties with the Signal

GPS signals aren’t perfectly clear everywhere. This means that, depending on where you live, there might not be a strong enough signal for you to effectively track your pet using GPS.

Low Battery

GPS trackers are powered by batteries, which only last for so long. You’ll have to keep track of the battery’s strength constantly so that the one time you let the battery get low isn’t the time your pet gets lost.

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Book your appointment to get your pet the preventative care they need at (407) 352-2579. We’ll help keep your pet healthy.


What Shots Does My Pet Need

What Shots Does My Pet Need?

By Cats, Dogs No Comments

Talk to your vet to ensure your pet gets all the vaccinations they need

Read Time: 5 minutes
Vaccinations are a major part of keeping your pet healthy and safe. Shots can help to prevent many diseases that could be harmful or even deadly to your pet. But what shots does your pet need to get and when?

Puppies and kittens can get different diseases and therefore have different vaccination schedules. These vaccinations also differ from what shots a dog or cat needs as an adult.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

a puppy on an exam table in front of a vet in a lab coat holding vaccine bottles

The following shots are those that puppies will need in the first 16 months of their lives. Puppies should receive their first vaccinations as early as 6 weeks old. Some vaccines may be considered optional because whether they’re needed may depend on your and your puppy’s lifestyles. Ask your vet if they recommend any of the optional vaccines.

6 to 8 Weeks Old

Required vaccinations include:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus

Optional vaccinations include:

  • Bordetella

10 to 12 Weeks Old

Require vaccinations include:

  • DHPP, which includes:
    • Distemper
    • Hepatitis
    • Parainfluenza
    • Parvovirus

Optional vaccinations include:

  • Influenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetella
  • Lyme disease

16 to 18 Weeks Old

Require vaccinations include:

  • DHPP
  • Rabies

Optional vaccinations include:

  • Influenza
  • Bordetella
  • Lyme disease
  • Leptospirosis

12 to 16 Months Old

Require vaccinations include:

  • DHPP
  • Rabies

Optional vaccinations include:

  • Coronavirus
  • Bordetella
  • Lyme disease
  • Leptospirosis

What Vaccines Do Adult Dogs Need?

a Corgi dog about to receive a vaccine at the vet

Some of these vaccines need to be administered on a regular basis into adulthood. DHPP and rabies are required but the other vaccines are optional depending on your pet’s lifestyle. Make sure to speak with your vet regarding which vaccinations your dog needs to be safe and healthy.

  • DHPP – every 1 to 2 years
  • Rabies – every 1 to 3 years
  • Influenza – every 1 to 2 years
  • Bordetella – every 1 to 2 years
  • Coronavirus – every 1 to 2 years
  • Leptospirosis – every 1 to 2 years
  • Lyme disease – every 1 to 2 years

Kitten Vaccination Schedule

Kitten at vet clinic

Just like with puppies, there are vaccines that are required, sometimes by law, for kittens to get at certain times. Others are optional or recommended based on your cat’s lifestyle. Speak with your vet regarding what of the optional vaccinations you should get for your kitten.

6 to 8 Weeks Old

Require vaccinations include:

  • FVRCP, which includes:
    • Viral rhinotracheitis
    • Calicivirus
    • Panleukopenia

Optional vaccinations include:

  • FeLV (feline leukemia)

10 to 12 Weeks Old

Require vaccinations include:


Optional vaccinations include:

  • FeLV

14 to 16 Weeks Old

Require vaccinations include:

  • Rabies

Optional vaccinations include:

  • FeLV

1 Year Old

Require vaccinations include:

  • Rabies

Optional vaccinations include:

  • FeLV

What Vaccines Do Adult Cats Need?

a cat receiving a vaccination at the vet

Adult cats should continue to receive the following vaccines:

  • Rabies – every 1 to 3 years
  • Panleukopenia – every 1 to 3 years
  • Herpesvirus – every 1 to 3 years
  • Calicivirus – every 1 to 3 years
  • Bordetella – every year

How Much Do Vaccines Cost?

How much pet vaccines cost depends on the vaccine and your location but typically range between $25 and $100. There may be discounts available at animal shelters if you adopt your pet there.

Why Are Pet Vaccines Necessary

It’s vital for your pet’s health to stay up-to-date on all vaccines required or recommended by your vet. The diseases they protect your pets from could be harmful or even fatal. In some cases, like with the rabies vaccine, it’s required by law because the disease is dangerous and deadly to both animals and humans.

Are Pet Vaccinations Required by Law?

Not all vaccinations are legally required. The rabies vaccine, for example, is required by law. Others may be optional depending on your pet’s lifestyle and therefore wouldn’t be a legal obligation.

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How Much to Feed a Kitten or Puppy

By Cats, Dogs No Comments

Help your pet grow with the right amount of food

Read Time: 6 minutes
What you feed your puppy matters. If you feed him or her right during puppyhood, you’re setting your dog up for a life that’s both healthy and long. But it’s not just a matter of choosing the right foods. It’s also a matter of how much you should feed your puppy.

Knowing exactly how much depends on a lot of factors, including your puppy’s age and what breed it is. Larger breeds are going to need a lot more food than smaller ones.

Are you feeding a puppy or a kitten? Select the option below to jump to that section.


Feeding a Puppy

Puppies need special puppy food. Puppies are growing rapidly and need special nutrition that adult dogs don’t. But how much puppy food should you give your dog and when should you switch to adult food?

How Much to Feed a Puppy

How much you should feed your puppy depends on its age and its breed. Most feeding guides will measure how much you should feed your puppy based on how much it will weigh when it becomes an adult. For example, a puppy that will be 3-12 pounds when it reaches adulthood should be fed ½ to 1 cups of food when it’s 1½ to 3 months old.

Below are general recommendations for how much a puppy should eat based on its adult weight. However, you should still consult the instructions on the package before feeding your puppy. Different food, especially that specifically aimed at large or small breeds, may have different recommendations.

1 1/2 to 3 Months

Adult weight Cups
3 to 12 pounds 1/2 to 1
13 to 20 pounds 1/2 to 1 1/4
21 to 50 pounds 1/2 to 1 1/2
51 to 75 pounds 5/8 2 1/3
75 to 100 pounds 1 to 2 2/3
100+ pounds 2 2/3 + 1/3 cup per ten pounds over 100

4 to 5 Months

Adult weight Cups
3 to 12 pounds 2/3 to 1 1/3
13 to 20 pounds 1 1/8 to 2
21 to 50 pounds 1 1/2 to 2 3/4
51 to 75 pounds 1 1/2 to 4
75 to 100 pounds 2 7/8 to 3 3/4
100+ pounds 3 3/4 + 1/3 cup per ten pounds over 100

6 to 8 Months

Adult weight Cups
3 to 12 pounds 1/2 to 1 1/2
13 to 20 pounds 3/4 to 1 1/3
21 to 50 pounds 1 1/8 to 2 1/3
51 to 75 pounds 1 1/2 to 3 3/4
75 to 100 pounds 2 7/8 to 6 1/3
100+ pounds 6 1/3 + 1/3 cup per ten pounds over 100

9 to 11 Months

Adult weight Cups
3 to 12 pounds Same as for an adult
13 to 20 pounds 1 to 1 1/2
21 to 50 pounds 2 to 3
51 to 75 pounds 2 1/2 to 4 3/4
75 to 100 pounds 3 7/8 to 7
100+ pounds 7 + 1/3 cup per ten pounds over 100

1 to 2 Years

Adult weight Cups
3 to 12 pounds Same as for an adult
13 to 20 pounds Same as for an adult
21 to 50 pounds 2 to 4 1/4
51 to 75 pounds 2 5/8 to 6 1/4
75 to 100 pounds 5 5/8 to 11
100+ pounds 11 + 1/3 cup per ten pounds over 100

When to Feed a Puppy

When to feed your puppy depends on your schedule. If you divide the total amount of food your puppy should be eating each day into regular meals, then you can make up a meal schedule. It’s important to be consistent, so many dog owners feed their pets when they themselves eat – at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

To decrease the risk of accidents, make sure to feed your puppy earlier in the evenings so it has time to digest.

What to Feed a Puppy

Feeding your puppy the right food is just as important as how much you feed it. Special puppy food will provide your puppy with all of the right nutrients it needs to grow healthily. Be sure to check if there’s a specific type of food for the size or breed of your dog.

Dry or Wet Food

So long as your puppy is getting all of the nutrients it needs, it doesn’t matter whether you feed it wet or dry food. Your dog may prefer one over the other, so you can buy food according to your puppy’s preferences. You can also mix wet with dry food.

It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian to make sure that, especially if you’re mixing wet and dry food together, you’re not feeding your puppy too many calories.

Puppy Treats

It’s hard to resist feeding a puppy treats all the time just for being adorable. But it’s important to not feed a puppy too many treats. Treats are an excellent reward, so you’ll definitely want to have some on hand for training. But keep in mind that the proper ratio of dog food to treats should be 90/10. 90 percent of your puppy’s daily calories should be in its regular dog food. Treats should only make up 10% of your puppy’s diet.

So, try to resist that cute puppy dog face unless you’re rewarding your puppy for a job well done in training!

When to Switch to Adult Dog Food

Smaller breeds can switch to adult food a bit earlier than large breeds, which may take longer to grow into adulthood. Usually, switching to adult dog food happens at about two years old, but because it depends on the breed and your puppy’s size, talk to your veterinarian about the best time to make the switch.

Small kitten sleeping

Feeding a Kitten

When you adopt a kitten from a shelter or a breeder, it’s most likely already old enough that you can start the kitten on regular kitten food immediately. But sometimes that’s not the case. If you’ve adopted a very young kitten that is without a mother, you’ll need to bottle-feed the kitten.

How Much Should I Feed a Kitten?

How much and what you should feed a kitten depends on its age and weight. It’s important to feed the kitten the right food so it can grow into a healthy adult. You want to feed the kitten enough so that it’s getting the nutrients it needs, but you also don’t want to feed it too much, which could cause too much weight gain.

Bottle-Feeding a Kitten

Kittens that are less than eight weeks old will need to be bottle-fed. If you’ve rescued a very young kitten, you’ll need to learn this essential skill until the kitten is old enough for solid food.


You’ll need a special bottle from a pet supply store for a kitten. You may have to cut a hold in the bottle’s nipple yourself – make sure it’s just big enough that formula can drip through it. It shouldn’t be flowing out of the bottle.

What to Formula Feed a Kitten

Kittens can’t just drink the milk from your fridge. You’ll need a special kitten formula from a pet supply store. Any other milk could be dangerous for the kitten, even fatal. Kitten formula will have all of the nutrients the kitten needs. Make sure to follow all instructions on the package of kitten formula so you prepare it correctly.

How to Feed a Kitten Formula

First, make sure the kitten is ready to eat by putting a drop of formula on its tongue. If it swallows, then that’s a good sign that it’s ready to eat. If a kitten doesn’t have a stable temperature or isn’t able to swallow, you shouldn’t proceed with feeding it.

To properly bottle-feed a kitten, lay it down on its stomach, never on its back. Make sure to support its head with your non-dominant hand (your dominant hand will be needed to hold the bottle). Be very gentle when you place the bottle into the kitten’s mouth – it should roll its tongue into the shape of a U and then start to swallow, but be patient if your kitten doesn’t get the hang of things right away!

If your kitten is extremely young and the bottle seems too big, you can try using a syringe for feeding at first.

How Much Formula to Feed a Kitten

It’s important to feed your kitten the right amount of its size and weight. The younger the kitten, the smaller and more frequent the feedings.

Kitten’s age and weight Formula (in ml)
0 to 1 week (50 to 150 grams) 2 to 6 ml every 2 hours
1 to 2 weeks (150 to 250 grams) 6 to 10 ml every 2 to 3 hours
2 to 3 weeks (250 to 350 grams) 10 to 14 ml every 3 to 4 hours
3 to 4 weeks (350 to 450 grams) 14 to 18 ml every 4 to 5 hours
4 to 5 weeks (450 to 550 grams) 18 to 22 ml every 5 to 6 hours
5 to 8 weeks (550 to 850 grams) Weaning (every 6 hours)

Kitten Food

Once a kitten is 5 to 8 weeks old, you should be weaning it off of formula and bottle feeding. Five weeks is when the kitten’s premolars come in, which indicates that they’re ready for more solid food. Gradually wean until the kitten is eating entirely solid food.

What to Feed a Kitten

It’s recommended that you feed your kitten specially formulated kitten food until it’s a year old. Kitten food will have all of the extra protein and other vitamins that growing kittens need. Be careful in buying food that says that it is appropriate for both adult cats and kittens. Cats and kittens have very different nutritional needs, so it’s likely that it won’t have enough of what your kitten needs (or too much of what an adult cat needs).

Wet vs. Dry Food

Kittens should be eating a higher proportion of wet food. Their teeth aren’t very strong yet, so they often can’t eat dry food like an adult cat can. You can feed your kitten a mix of the two, but a kitten will require more wet food at first in order to get all of the nutrients that it needs.

Kitten Treats

It’s totally fine to feed your kitten treats, especially if they’re being used to reward the kitten for doing something well, like using the litter box. It’s important, however, to make sure that treats don’t exceed more than 10% of your kitten’s daily caloric intake.

How Much to Feed a Kitten

The amount of food that should be given to a kitten each meal depends on the type of food. Check the packaging for instructions on daily or meal portions. Be careful not to overfeed your kitten – it’s much easier to prevent obesity in the first place than it is to put your cat on a diet later on.
When to Feed a Kitten
Kittens are snackers. They like to eat at least up to four times a day. They also need a lot of calories because they’re growing rapidly – doubling or even tripling in weight. They also have up to triple the energy levels of an adult cat.

If you’re feeding a kitten only wet food, then it’ll need to eat four times a day. If you’re mixing wet food with some dry food, then twice daily may be sufficient. Another option is to free-feed your kitten until it’s between four and six months old, at which point you can switch to scheduled mealtimes.

When to Switch to Adult Cat Food

Unless your kitten is of a larger breed, like a Maine Coon, which reaches maturity at around eighteen months, kittens can generally switch to adult cat food at around a year old. If you’re unsure, consult with your vet to make sure you’re feeding your cat the right food.

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Why You Should Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

By Cats, Dogs No Comments

Read Time: 4 minutes

Unless you’re a licensed animal breeder, it’s important to make sure that your pets are spayed or neutered. This is in part so that you don’t contribute to the already too-large population of animals in shelters but also for health and behavior reasons. For most pet owners, veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering due to the many benefits that come from the procedure.

What Is the Difference Between Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying and neutering are commonly mixed up. They both prevent a pet from having offspring, but each procedure removes a different type of reproductive organ, depending on whether the pet is male or female.

What Is Spaying?

a close-up of a spay scar on a dog’s shaved belly

Spaying is the process of removing a female animal’s reproductive organs, including the ovaries and the uterus.

What Is Neutering

Neutering is the process of removing a male animal’s testicles.

What Are the Benefits of Spaying or Neutering a Pet?

While the most obvious benefit of spaying or neutering your pet cat or dog is that they won’t be able to have kittens or puppies, there are other benefits as well.


Reduced Risk of Cancer

There are certain cancers that can occur in the reproductive organs of animals if they aren’t spayed or neutered. These include testicular cancer in male animals and, in female animals, ovarian and uterine cancers. The organs in question are removed during the spaying or neutering process and therefore cannot develop cancer.


Improved Behavior

two dogs aggressively barking at each other

Some pets may exhibit undesirable behaviors when they haven’t been spayed or neutered. Male pets in particular that haven’t been neutered may be more aggressive and may bite. Spaying and neutering can help to improve these behaviors.


Lower Risk of Injuries

Pets that have access to the outdoors that haven’t been spayed or neutered may wander far from the home. This could result in injuries caused by a car accident or fights with other animals. Pets that have been spayed or neutered won’t feel such an urge to wander and therefore will stay closer to home.


Healthier, Longer-Lived Pets

a yellow lab puppy outside in the grass

Because of the reduced risk of cancer and injuries, pets that have been spayed or neutered are often able to live longer, healthier lives than those that have not. If your pets aren’t wandering as much, then they’re also less likely to contract other diseases that could spread from animal to animal.


No Marking or Spraying

Marking or spraying is the practice of marking territory or pets introducing themselves to other animals. Outside, this may be perfectly fine. It can be a method of greeting other animals. However, when it’s done inside the house to mark territory, then it can be problematic for pet owners. Spaying or neutering can help to reduce or even eliminate spraying or marking, although it’s not guaranteed.


No Heat Cycles

When a female animal is in heat, then other animals may be attracted to her. Spaying your pet can help to reduce this unwanted attention and stop male animals from bothering her or impregnating her.


Helps Reduce Animal Overpopulation

two volunteers at an animal shelter with a pug dog

There are millions of animals living in shelters across the United States. In some cases, shelters have no choice but to euthanize animals that are sick, older, or otherwise less likely to be adopted in order to make room for more. Some areas have a problem with stray animals. By spaying or neutering your pets, you’re ensuring that you and your pets are not contributing to the overpopulation problem.

Are There Risks Involved with Spaying or Neutering?

Both spaying and neutering are very common procedures. In fact, they’re among the most common procedures that veterinarians perform. This means that there’s a very low risk of anything going wrong. However, both are still surgeries, which are never risk-free. Complications are unlikely, though.

When Should You Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

It’s best to spay or neuter your pet at a young age. Which age is recommended depends on the type of pet you have. In cats, it’s best to neuter or spay before the age of five months. In dogs, between six and nine months is typically recommended. However, you should speak with your veterinarian so you can schedule the appointment for the best possible time.

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Pros and Cons of Adopting a Rescue

Pros and Cons of Adopting a Rescue

By Cats, Dogs, Uncategorized No Comments

Having a pet can be a very rewarding experience. Where you adopt your new pet from, however, can really matter. Some people feel better adopting from a breeder while others swear by adopting only rescue pets. So long as where you adopt from is ethical, there’s no one right answer. Before you decide, you should learn the pros and cons of adopting a rescue.

Why Should You Adopt From a Shelter?

volunteers working at an animal shelter holding a pug dog

There are millions of animals that are taken into shelters each year. Some of these animals may be at risk of never being adopted or even being put down. Adopting a rescue could help save an animal’s life while simultaneously freeing up space at the shelter for another animal that needs it. But that doesn’t mean that adopting a rescue is for everyone.

You Could Save an Animal’s Life

One of the biggest benefits of adopting a rescue is that you could be saving the animal’s life. While no shelter wants to euthanize animals, they often have no choice due to the sheer number of animals that they care for. Any animal adopted from a shelter not only saves that animal in particular but also frees up more space in the shelter to help additional animals.

Your Rescue May Already Be Trained

a woman training a corgi dog to do a trick

One of the hardest parts about owning a puppy or a kitten is having to train them. With a rescue, however, this is often already done by the previous owner or by the shelter itself. Having a new pet that is already housebroken can make the transition a lot easier for everyone.

You Could Save Money

No matter what, adopting a pet will cost money. You’ll have to pay for food, toys, visits to the vet, and more. But you can save money by adopting a rescue. There are fees involved with adopting from a shelter, but they’re typically much less than buying from a breeder. Plus, many shelters will have discount days or days on which the fees are waived in order to encourage more adoptions.

A Rescue May Have Fewer Health Problems

Some purebred dogs come with health issues that are specific to that breed. For example, some larger breeds of dogs are more prone to hip dysplasia and some breeds with flatter faces suffer from breathing problems. Rescue dogs tend to be mixed breeds. An advantage of this is that they’re much less likely to have any health conditions associated with a breed, even if that breed is included in the mix.

Rescue Animals Are Appreciative

a ginger cat laying on their owner’s lap, purring while being petted

Some rescue animals have had bad experiences in their pasts. Even if they haven’t, a shelter isn’t the most loving environment. This isn’t the fault of the people who work there, who often love animals, but simply because there are so many animals in shelters that workers have to focus on their basic needs first. They do their best to love every animal, but it’s not the same as having a family. This means that rescue animals are often more appreciative of having an owner or a family.

You Can Reduce Puppy Mills

Puppy mills are breeders that don’t treat their animals very well, often keeping them in overcrowded, unsanitary cages. These puppy mills will continue to exist so long as they’re making a profit, so if you adopt a rescue, you’ll be putting your money towards a better cause.

Why Shouldn’t You Adopt a Rescue?

Adopting a rescue from a shelter isn’t for everyone. It’s important to be aware of the possible downsides before you begin the adoption process.

Shelter Dogs Are Usually Mixed-Breeds

If you’re into dog shows or dog breeding, then a shelter dog most likely isn’t for you. Most shelter dogs are mixed breeds and won’t be suitable for that purpose. It’s possible you won’t know the breed at all. However, mixed breeds are great options for pet owners who just want to add a dog to their family.

Shelter Animals May Not Be Ideal for FIrst-Time Pet Owners

First-time pet owners may not want to adopt a dog or cat from a shelter because their health and behavioral histories may be unknown. Some shelter animals may have problems that first-time owners may have difficulty dealing with. Experienced pet owners may have an easier time helping shelter animals.

It Can Be Difficult to Find a Puppy or a Kitten

four kittens, two orange and two black, playing in a garden

Those wanting to adopt a puppy or a kitten may have difficulty adopting one from a shelter. Shelter animals are often adult animals and while puppies and kittens can be found there, it’s not common. Adopting an adult animal does usually mean that they’ve already been housebroken and trained so you won’t have to do that yourself.

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Keep your pet safe and comfortable in the air

What You Need to Know About Flying With Your Pet

By Cats, Dogs No Comments

While traveling can be fun, it can also be stressful. There’s a lot to organize and arrange before you go, even for something relaxing like a vacation. Traveling with a pet can be even more stressful, for both you and your pet, especially when you’re flying. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to research everything you can ahead of time so you can rest assured that you’ve got everything taken care of.


Decide Whether or Not to Fly with Your Pet

First, you need to decide if flying with your pet is truly the right choice. Typically, it’s not recommended to fly with a pet unless it’s necessary. Flying can be stressful for pets, and in many cases, it’s not worth the hassle to bring them along, especially when the trip is short. If you’re going to be gone for two weeks or more, or if the move is permanent, then you’ll want to bring your pet with you on the flight. If the trip is for only a few days, however, consider boarding your pet instead.


Make Sure Your Pet Meets the Airline’s Requirements

Some airlines may restrict which pets can fly with them. The airline will make its decision based on the following criteria:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Health

The airline may decide not to allow your pet to board the plane at all. If your pet is older and in poor health, the airline may not feel that it is safe for your pet to fly with you. Plus, there are laws regulating pets on aircraft. For example, your pet must be at least eight weeks old and weaned for at least five days before being allowed to fly. Some airlines ban certain breeds, such as snub-nosed breeds, because they have breathing issues that can be worsened on planes.

Cargo Hold vs. Airplane Cabin

a man carrying a suitcase in one hand and a dog in a carrier in the other at the airportIf your pet is qualified to fly with you, then you’ll need to determine whether or not your pet can fly with you in the cabin or whether they’ll need to fly in the cargo hold. Typically, a pet’s size is the most important factor. Pets that are small enough to fit inside approved carriers that can fit underneath the seat in front of you on the plane are allowed inside the cabin. Pets that are too large to fit in those carriers will have to fly in the cargo hold, which is more stressful.

Cargo Hold

Some dogs are too large to fly even in the cargo hold, so check with your airline ahead of time to make sure that your dog meets their size requirements. Additionally, some pet owners choose not to fly their pet at all if they have to go into the cargo hold. This is because it can be stressful for the pet.

Airplane Cabin

If your pet is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, you can bring them into the cabin with you. Your pet’s carrier will count as your carry-on luggage, however, so you may need to check a bag when you wouldn’t normally have to.


Register Your Pet with the Airline

It’s a good idea to register your pet with the airline as soon as you know you’re flying with them. This is because some airlines have limits on the number of pets that can be in the cabin at once. If this is the case, it’s typically first-come-first-served. This means that the sooner you let the airline know that you’re flying with a pet, the more likely you are to be able to bring your pet.

Plus, letting the airline know ahead of time that you’re flying with a pet is a courtesy so that it’s easier for them to make arrangements. For example, if someone is flying who has extreme pet allergies, it’s easier for the airline to accommodate everyone if they’re aware ahead of time.


Understand Airline Fees

Airlines usually charge pet fees. This can be up to around $200 for pets traveling in the cargo hold and up to $75 for pets traveling in the cabin. However, this may differ depending on the airline, so you should research this before you book your flights. It may also depend on the size of your pet. If you have a very large dog, for example, the costs may be even more.


Choose the Right Carrier

a dog in an airport terminal standing next to a soft pet carrierIf your pet is small enough to fit under the seat in the cabin, you’ll need to keep them in a carrier. Your best bet is to purchase a pet carrier directly from the airline you’re flying with. That way, you’ll know that it meets their requirements. If you’d prefer to use your own, airlines typically have size limitations. The carrier must also be a soft one, not a hard plastic one.

Your pet must also be able to comfortably stand up and turn around within the carrier.

Cargo Hold Crates

If your pet is flying in the cargo hold, then you’ll need a hard crate. Pet owners are legally required to line the floor of the crate with an absorbent material, such as a towel or shredded paper. Check your airline’s requirements on the size and other possible requirements of a crate for a pet traveling in the cargo hold.


Take Your Pet to the Vet

Whether a vet visit is required depends on the airline. Many require a signed certificate from a vet issued within ten days of your flight showing that your pet is healthy enough to travel. You may want to book your pet’s vet appointment ahead of time so that you know you’ll be on the vet’s schedule.

Print Required Documentations

You’ll also most likely need to prove that your pet has had all of their required vaccinations. Different airlines may have different requirements for what documentation they want to see. You can keep digital records of these documents, but it’s still a good idea to bring paper copies with you just in case.


Look up Local Pet Regulations

If you’re flying internationally, your destination country may have regulations pertaining to incoming pets. For example, some countries have quarantine periods for any pets flying in. This is another reason why many choose not to bring their pets along for shorter trips. Sometimes, the quarantine period can be longer than the trip itself! Additionally, other countries may have documentation requirements beyond what the airline asks for.


Prep Your Pet for Flight

Flying is stressful for a pet. You should crate train them so that they’re comfortable sitting in a crate for long periods. For many pets, a crate or carrier can be a safe zone that will help them to be less stressed during the flight, especially if they’ve been trained in it ahead of time.

Don’t Tranquilize Your Pet

Whatever you do, however, don’t tranquilize your pet. While this may calm your pet, it can be dangerous for them in-flight. Vets don’t recommend tranquilization for this reason. Plus, the airline won’t let your pet on the flight if they’ve been tranquilized.

Be Careful About Medicating Your Pet

If you’d like to give your pet some anti-anxiety medication or Benadryl for the flight, talk to your vet first. Your vet can advise you on what, if anything, you should give to your pet.


Arrive Early to the Airport

You’ll need as much extra time as possible at the airport. Make sure to arrive even earlier than you would normally.

Minimize Food and Drink

Be careful about how much food and drink you give your pet. There are limited options for where they can relieve themselves. There won’t be anywhere to do that in-flight, but airports typically have animal relief areas that your pet can use. Your pet can go without food for any length of flight, but for a flight longer than four hours, you’ll need to give them some water. A water dish will need to be secured firmly in the crate if your pet is flying in the cargo hold.

Pick up Cargo Hold Pets Immediately

If your pet has to travel in the cargo hold, make sure to pick them up after your flight as quickly as you possibly can. Your pet’s already been waiting for a long time in the cargo hold without you. They’ll be anxious to see you as soon as possible.