Monday, July 30, 2012

Is Two Better Than One? Adopting Two Cats

Can you imagine Romeo without Juliet? Bert without Ernie? Barbie without Ken? Neither can we!

Why not think about creating your very own memorable duo? 

When you adopt two cats, you soon find that you can’t imagine life without them. There are many benefits to having double the cat companionship:
  • Having a constant playmate to chase and wrestle with helps keep cats lively, well-exercised and healthy.
  • Often, destructive behavior in pets can be traced to boredom. The stimulation of a companion can help ward off inappropriate feline behaviors and scratching.
  • Two cats will keep you laughing with their antics.
  • Many cats are social creatures, and will happily groom one another and sleep cuddled together. People who work long hours, travel overnight or spend frequent evenings away from home will find a warm greeting upon returning, but without the guilt of leaving a beloved pet all alone.
  • Two cats will bring their humans double the love. They will offer an endless supply of purrs and head butts. The only thing more heartwarming than the love of a pet is the love of two.
Adopting two cats actually saves four lives - the two you're adopting, and the two that will take their places, given a priceless second chance thanks to your adoption. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between 6 million and 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, about half of which are euthanized. Think of how much easier the work of shelters across the country would be if more families were willing to welcome not one, but two cats into their hearts and homes.

Having two cats doesn't require much additional effort. An extra food and water dish and litter box is worth the joy your instant family will bring. And, being rather compact creatures, cats don't take up much space. As long as your home can provide a bit of separation from time to time, there's no worry about needing a larger home with room to roam.

Not all cats will be instant buddies. If you are interested in adopting two cats (or two dogs), it may be a good idea to adopt two animals that are already buddies, like kittens from the same litter or cats that came to HSEC from the same home. On Friday, we'll meet the HSEC's resident best friends, Mavis and Maude. If you are introducing a new kitty to one that you already own, make sure to introduce your new pet properly to help ensure a good relationship between old and new.

So, it’s the perfect time to bring home two homeless cats! How can you resist? We recommend making the trip to the Humane Society at double speed, two-stepping all the way. After all, two cats certainly are twice as nice!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Just the Facts - June Stats

After a quiet May, we had a much more exciting June in terms of adoptions. Summer is usually a low point for adoptions and donations at animal welfare organizations, so we're happy to see this uptick in our numbers. In fact, the first weekend in June we had NINE adoptions - an HSEC record!

In June we took in 32 new residents, 18 cats and 13 dogs. We are still trying to keep our intake low so that we can remain within our budget. The majority of our intake were transfers from organizations like the Pitt County Animal Shelter - 10 cats and 7 dogs. We also accepted 6 cats and 5 dogs surrendered by their owners.

Happily, we almost balanced out our intake with our adoptions - 29 total for June! This included 4 cats and 11 kittens. 7 dogs and 7 puppies also found their forever homes during the month.

Let's take a look at some of the adoptions for this month, as well as two earlier alums. We love when you send in photos!

In his new home!


Hobbes with his new mommy!
At one point, sick little puppies Calvin and Hobbes were minutes from death. Now just look at them, all better and in their forever homes!

Oofie (aka Jemma)
 In her new home!
When Sammy's new person met him, it was love at first sight. She drove all the way from Pantego to adopt him!

Shorty had some behavioral issues and needed a special home. Well, he got it! Shorty's new person Sandra told us on our Facebook page that he has "made her life wonderful in more ways than I can possibly list. Aww! We love a happy ending!

And lastly, here are two more happy endings for HSEC alums adopted before June.

Zoe (aka Sasha)
Zoe was a tiny pup when she left our facility at the end of February. Look at her now at six months! Don't you love that spot over her eye?

Benji was also a tiny guy when he was adopted. Here he is at four months. Looks like trouble! Those big ears make us think that he's got some more growing to do.

Post your photos of HSEC alums on our Facebook page or send them to us at and we'll feature them on the blog!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Blossom

Longtime HSEC resident sweet Blossom waits at the front door of her new foster home, ready for some love from a family. Blossom's adoption fee has been waived.

Monday, July 23, 2012

King of the House

by Beau Dove

Playful, energetic, instinctual, and interested; these are all words that describe a typical house cat. “The cat is the king of the house” seems to be a universal understanding among indoor cat owners. They jump from chair to chair looking for laps to claim and pounce on any opportunity to start a playful reactionary game.

But what if your indoor cat seems to have lost his/her delightful spunkiness? I have seen how cats blend into the house to which they lay claim. We as humans are constantly occupied, running in and out of the homes, overlooking the cat as it becomes one with the furniture. The routines that we practice in order get comfortable and wind down can make for a very boring environment. The term “fat house cat” is a well-known generalization of those indoor felines that have become ever-so content with their seat in the sun. If you prefer a cat that shares the characteristics of a big pillow, no harm against you. However, there are a few simple ways to regain that kitten constantly on an adventure in their newly claimed kingdom. 
A good scratching post allows your cat to stretch fully
  • Turn on some music when you’re out of the house.
  • Put a bird feeder next to their favorite window. 
  • On tame weather days, open a screened in window to give them a taste of the outdoors.  If possible, allow access to a safely screened in porch.
  • There are a variety of fun toys and obstacles that are specifically designed for indoor cats. Balls with food inside are a sure-fire way to keep your cat entertained. Laser pointers are another big hit for many cats.
  • Switch up your cat's toys every so often, even if this just means a new ball of paper or string.
  • Try growing a little cat grass - many cats love to chew on this edible toy.
  • If you have enough room, an obstacle course or play space would give them a specific place to cure their desires for climbing and perching. Cats love to be up high looking down on us mortals.
  • Invest in a good scratching post that is tall enough for the cat to stretch out fully. If your cat ignores the post, spread a little catnip on it to get his attention.
Consider adding wall shelves for your cat to perch on.
Remember, if you are gone a lot then the time they get to spend with you is very precious! Although you may have had a long day, I am sure that the both of you will benefit from a little playtime. I suggest that you challenge your house cat for dominance of the throne! With toys and games, make them prove that they are indefinitely more agile and witty than you. Make some noise! Cats are fully interested in what you have to say and they definitely are fans of your favorite Pandora station. Of course, invite friends over as much as possible to allow your cat some time to mingle and show off their house.

One final suggestion is to find them a friend. Having another cat or even a dog present will be some extra effort but it would definitely add some excitement to the home. Just make sure that you are ready to take on the additional responsibility, and read up on how best to add a new pet to the household. Don't rely on the new addition to keep your pet company - they still want attention from you as well. But for the right cat and the right house, a second feline can sometimes be just the solution to kitty boredom.

I hope that these suggestions help in the efforts to maintain or regain your house cat’s interest. As you can see, there are many solutions to this problem.  Good luck, and may you all fulfill your duty to entertain the “king of the house”.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Ballad of Calamity Blue

This is the tale of a puppy named Blue
He's got a white nose and floppy ears too
But his cast and his pills
Have run up the bills
Poor old Calamity Blue.

Our story begins with the sound
Of a strange car pulling around.
They pushed a load out the door,
And put the gas to the floor,
Leaving something behind on the ground.

That's not something that good people do,
Throw you out like gum on a shoe.
Left there in the dirt,
Abandoned and hurt,
Poor old Calamity Blue.

Little Blue was rushed off to the vet.
A busted leg wasn't all for this pet
He was battered and bruised,
His tail was removed,
Blue is safe, but now we're in debt!

A wonderful foster came through
And opened her home up for Blue
With the help of some friends,
Little Blue's on the mend.
Lucky Calamity Blue!

But that's not the end for this hound,
Some pain meds - just once! - left around.
While his minder was gone,
The meds bag was torn,
The pills ended up on the ground.

After all he's already been through,
Blue's eaten pills that could dose a kangaroo.
We flew in a sweat
To the emergency vet.
Poor old Calamity Blue.

We're all so delighted to say,
This dog with nine lives is ok.
But this constant vet patient
Really needs your donations
Become a donor or sponsor today!

To our donors, a great big thank you!
It all helps, just a dollar or two.
Being perfectly candid,
We don't take you for granted,
You help us help doggies like Blue.

Blue's injured, but healthy in mind.
A more loving dog you can't find.
We see every day,
It's just like they say,
To err is human, to forgive, canine.

The story's not over for Blue
This puppy so loving and true.
Because of our donors,
He'll find a great owner!
Good old, sweet old, Calamity Blue.

Monday, July 16, 2012

We Are Lennox

This time last week, hundreds of thousands of dog lovers around the world hoped and prayed that the Belfast City Council would spare the life of a dog condemned to death. Lennox, a mixed breed dog, was taken from his loving family, and held in solitary confinement for two years.  A lengthy court battle ensued, various dog behaviorists testified that Lennox was not a danger to the public, and sanctuaries in the United States offered to rehome the dog. Despite all of that, Lennox was killed. Not because of anything that he did, but because of what he looked like.

At the center of the dispute was a Breed Specific Law (BSL), which prevents citizens of Northern Ireland from owning Pit bull or Pit bull type dogs.  Although a subsequent DNA test showed that Lennox was not a Pit bull, the city used measurements and physical characteristics of the dog to enforce their ruling.

Sadly, BSL’s have often specifically targeted “Pit bulls”, American Staffordshire terriers, American Pit bull terriers, or dogs who may be none of the above, but share some of the breed characteristics. These laws are hard to enforce, costly to the public, and often punish responsible dog owners whose dogs have done nothing wrong.  The vast majority of the dogs that these Breed Specific Laws target are neither vicious, nor dangerous.  Blame it on misinformation, misperception, or media hype, but most of these dogs are good dogs who have gotten a bad rap. 

If you would like to adopt or foster a Pit Bull, you’ll always find an adora-BULL face or two at HSEC. Right now three of our residents are Pit bulls or Pit bull mixes - Blossom, Hadley, and Blue.

Blossom has been at HSEC for 15 months. Blossom had a rough start in life. She was emaciated when found under a building with her puppies.  She gave them all she had, and almost paid the ultimate price for it. Luckily, things have really turned around for her. She is a gentle soul who loves to give licks, get tummy rubs, and take walks. Blossom’s skin still gives come clues to her hard beginning, but we hope you can look past that and see what a gem Blossom is. Blossom is housetrained, spayed, up to date on all shots, and would need to be the only dog in the family. Her adoption fee has recently been waived, and she’s waiting on her forever family!


Hadley is a three year old who is full of life and full of love. She is very smart and very eager to please. Hadley loves attention and gets so excited when volunteers take her for a walk. Hadley is a pretty girl with soft fur that she loves to have rubbed. She would love to be a part of an active family. Hadley is housetrained, spayed, and up to date on all shots.


Blue is a beautiful grey male who was thrown out of a car onto our facility’s property in May.  When
we got to him, we found that he was in a lot of pain, and immediately took him to the vet. The diagnosis was a broken front leg and and a broken tail. The leg was put in a cast, but the tail had to be amputated. Blue has been in a foster home since May, and would love to find his forever home. He does not do well with cats, but is housetrained, neutered, and up to date on all shots.

There is nothing that we can do to change Lennox’s sad ending. However, there is plenty that we can do to change attitudes, perceptions, and laws that impact these innocent dogs. Breed Specific Laws are intended to provide peace of mind, but all they have accomplished is a false sense of security and the destruction of animals never shown to be dangerous.

Help us correct this injustice. Perhaps you can’t adopt one of these guys. That’s ok. You can foster. If you can’t foster, you can volunteer. If you can't volunteer, you can donate. If you can't donate, you can crosspost information on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, email, etc. You don't have to feel powerless - EVERYONE can help.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tips for Capturing the Best Images of Your Pet

By Michele Butterfield, Magnolia Design & Photography

We are so glad we've been able to help the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, simply by coming in once a week and spending some time photographing new residents and capturing their personalities, in a comfortable, fun and relaxed environment. Depending on the animal, we get their photos done in less than 2 or 3 minutes, sometimes it takes as long as 10 or 15 minutes. This brings me to my first piece of advice when it comes to getting the best images of your pet.

Patience. Be patient with yourself. Don't be upset or frustrated when your first picture isn't that great. We take an average 25-50 pictures of each animal at HSEC to end up with 3 good ones. The good thing with digital technology is, you can delete the bad ones! 

Be patient with your pet. They have no clue why you are begging them to sit still and look at you. Plan ahead and take them for a long walk or have a play session before you start their photo shoot! This gets at least some of their energy out and they will be more willing to listen and cooperate.  

Get to know your camera. More than likely, your camera has a bit of a delay from when you push the shutter button (the button that takes the picture) to when the picture actually gets taken. The more practice you have with your camera the better you can judge what it is going to do. If your camera has settings that you don't understand, read the manual or get online and learn about them (Google is your friend).

Look at the whole picture. What shows up in the background of your images can definitely make or break your pictures. Clutter and/or distracting objects in the background will take a way from the subject of the photo, your pet.

Sun is no fun! Many people think that the best time to get pictures is in direct sunlight. Nope! Overcast days, shade or later in the evening (around 7:30 in the summer time) are the best times to take photos. 

Look alert! If you followed my advice to get some energy out of your pet, they are probably panting and have their tongue hanging out (if you have a dog). If this is the look you want, perfect. If not, here are some ways to get them to stop panting for a second: high pitched sounds, clicks, squeaks or certain key words (like walk or treat) will get the dog to - very briefly - shut his/her mouth and maybe even tilt his head. This is when knowing your camera and the delay on your shutter will come in handy.

In the end, most of this advice is for dogs...with cats you really have to just wait until they feel like posing for you. If you have an assistant you can have them hold a toy right above the camera, or in the direction you want the cat to look, as you are taking the picture. That's really all the advice I have for cats. Any one with cats already knows, they do things on their own time, at their own pace. You are their pet, not the other way around.

We are all about supporting the Humane Society, so if you adopt a pet from the Humane Society and we have taken their photo, you can contact Magnolia Design and Photography to purchase a print(s) and all proceeds will go directly to HSEC.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bone Appetit

This is my Very Serious Writer pose.
By Nova
(with some help from Anna Geletka)

Hi! I'm Nova! 

I live in Greenville with my people and a cat, but no one cares about cats so forget I mentioned him. My owner Anna writes for the HSEC blog and when she was having trouble coming up with ideas for posts, I stepped in with an amazing idea. This blog is supposed to be about dogs, and what do dogs like better than food?

NOTHING, that's what.

Bowl licking: integral to the process
So why not write a post with some recipes for homemade doggy treats? Anna was intrigued by my idea. I then suggested that in the name of journalistic integrity, we couldn't recommend any treats without testing them first. And then Anna tried to turn my awesome idea into a terrible idea.

"We'll take them to the dogs at HSEC," Anna said.

Wait just a second, that is not in the spirit of the idea. I tried to explain that if the HSEC dogs got to eat the treats, then Nova would not get to eat the treats. Humans. They're sweet, but not too bright. Eventually we worked out a deal. In exchange for bowl licking privileges and a trip to Loreeta's Frozen Yogurt in Greenville next Monday July 16th (dogs get free fro-yo and on that night they are collecting donations for HSEC!), I would gladly share my treats with the HSEC dogs. Well, mostly gladly. After all, I used to be an HSEC dog myself.

Clockwise from top peanut butter biscuit, mint kiss, frozen yogurt
I selected three treats that I thought would generate some good bowl licking opportunities the dogs at the HSEC would like: frozen yogurt, peanut butter biscuits, and mint kiss cookies. These treats are also easy to make and require only common ingredients that most people will have at home already. You can find the recipes at the bottom of this post.

If you want to create your own recipes for dog treats, I recommend that you bring them by my house so I can personally taste test them for you. Just remember to keep your treats low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat, and low-calorie. The treats themselves should be in small amounts. We're much littler than you! Limit dairy products, as most adult dogs are lactose intolerant (small amounts are ok, and yogurt can actually help with digestive problems). Also check out a list like the ASPCA's to make sure that your ingredients are not harmful or toxic.

I guess our treats were a big hit, because Anna didn't bring any home with her.

As you can see, Crush did not care for the treats at all. He would have preferred for Nova to eat them.

Ozzie was chewing so fast that his mouth could not be captured by ordinary human technology (or maybe Anna is not a great photographer). He liked the mint kiss the best but still wanted to give his treats to Nova.

Sadie, Crush's mom, also liked the mint kiss and thinks Nova deserves extra treats for having the world's most awesome idea. And now Sadie has been adopted, and she's enjoying treats in her new home!

 Rocky was content to have these few small crumbs so that Nova can eat the rest. Rocky is part of the fee-waived adoption crowd!

Daisy... well, Daisy's had a tough week, since she landed funny on her leg while playing and now has to wear the Cone of Shame. Her bowl is somewhere beneath the cone. She can have my treats. (Her favorite was the frozen yogurt.)

Do your dogs have favorite homemade treats? Ones that require bowl licking? Post your recipes in the comments or on our Facebook page! Or, let us know how your pets liked the treats posted here. Tell them Nova says hi!

Dog's Eye Photography also recommends the frozen yogurt treats! You can read her post, with lots of great how-to pictures, here.

Easy Frozen Yogurt for Dogs 
(found here)

You will need:
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 ripe banana
- 16 oz plain yogurt

Mash honey, peanut butter, and banana together together in a large bowl. Add the yogurt and blend well. You can use a fork, blender, or mixer (we used a submersion blender). Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray. (There will be slightly more mixture than available tray space. This generates a perfect bowl licking opportunity.) Freeze overnight. Treats can be popped out one at a time and the remainder stored in the freezer.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit 
(found here)

A very easy recipe with common ingredients.
You will need:
- 2 cups flour (we used white flour, you can also use whole wheat or other types of flour)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients. Mix in peanut butter and hot water. Knead dough well.  You can roll out the dough to 1/4 inch and use cookie cutters to make cute shapes, or roll the dough into 1-2 inch balls and flatten with a fork, like human peanut butter cookies. (We found this dough to be quite sticky. If you want to roll out the dough, add flour until the dough is manageable.) 

If you'd like, add an egg wash to the cookies to give them a nice sheen. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes, then let cool in the oven overnight or transfer to a cooling sheet. Cool completely before serving.

These cookies can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for one week, in the fridge for three weeks, and in the freezer for up to six months.

(Anna didn't use cookie cutters or the egg wash. Lazy human. She pointed out that one of the benefits of cooking for your pet was that no one was concerned about presentation. I had my mouth too full of left over dough to answer.)

Mint Kiss Dog Cookies
(found here)

Bad breath? Try a mint cookie! Although if your dog has continually foul breath, you should talk to your vet, as this can be a sign of health problems. (Anna made me write that part. I'm never in favor of the vet.)

You will need:
- 1 cup stone ground cornmeal
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (preferably low sodium)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh mint

No bowl licking with this recipe! Contains raw egg!

Preheat oven to 350. In a saucepan, bring vegetable oil and broth to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the cornmeal. Scoop the cornmeal mixture into a small bowl and let cool. Once cool to the touch, add the chopped mint, cheese, and egg. Stir well. Form 1-2 inch balls, then place on a lightly greased cooking sheet. Flatten the balls into cookie shapes. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and leave the cookies in for another hour. Cool completely before serving.

These can be stored for one week in an airtight container, in the fridge for three weeks, and in the freezer for three months.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Deal of the Century: Fee-Waived Adoptions!

We have some exciting news to share today. Seven HSEC residents have just been approved for fee-waived adoptions, which means that there is no cost to take them home with you!

Our adoption fees are designed to cover or defray the costs incurred while the pet is living at the facility - food, medical care, and so on. But these residents have either lived at the facility for more than a year, or they have special needs and will greatly benefit from finding a home right now.

Don't worry - these animals are just as loving and wonderful as any other pet at HSEC. In fact, since we've known them for so long, we've gotten very attached. It's just time for them to move on to their forever homes, which is of course a huge benefit to each animal, but also benefits HSEC since we can use the space for more needy pets.

Remember, there's no such thing as a free lunch. That concept is especially true of a "free" pet. All adopters must meet HSEC requirements.

We're hoping that this is the little extra push these cuties need to find their homes. And maybe they've been waiting so long because you haven't found them yet! Click on the name under each photo to visit that pet's Petfinder page, where you can get more information and see more pictures.

Blossom is a true lady, sweet, calm, and friendly. She's mastered the puppy dog eyes, so be warned! She is crate trained and housebroken. This mama sacrificed everything to raise her puppies, and when she arrived at HSEC, she was in bad shape. Now that she's been nursed back to health, she is most comfortable around women but is learning that men are good friends too. She needs to be in a home where she is the only dog - she isn't classically dog aggressive, but she will snap if another dog gets in her face. Our February 2012 Blog Dog of the Month!

Lilly is a smart, sociable girl who loves to be outdoors. And doesn't that doggy grin just make you smile? She excelled in foster care, where she learned several commands and had lots of fun camping and canoeing. If you're looking for a dog who will keep up with all your adventures, Lilly's the one for you! Our April 2012 Blog Dog of the Month!

In addition to having the world's cutest ears, Rocky is loyal, well-mannered, and easy to please. All he wants is a calm home (preferably one with other dogs to be his friends), a few treats once in a while (cheese is his favorite), and maybe a few toys to play with. Rocky has irritable bowel disease, a condition exacerbated by the stress of living at the facility. When in foster care, the condition went into immediate remission. Read more about IBD here. Rocky is house trained. He's a real favorite at the facility - we've known him since he was a pup, and we're hoping he gets to go home soon! Rocky was featured as a foster success story on the blog in February 2012.

Mona will always let you know how much she loves you! She's a vocal cat with personality to spare, and her beautiful, silky coat is so wonderful to touch. She loves attention and cuddles. But she doesn't like to share her humans with other cats, and doesn't like to be surrounded by so many felines at the Humane Society. Potential adopters have been mislead by her sulky demeanor, but that's not what she's really like. Give her a treat and some chin scratches, and she's yours forever. Mona needs to be the only cat in her home. Our January 2012 Blog Cat of the Month!

Olive is a striking girl who loves to play and give head boinks. Pictures don't really do justice to her beautiful and unusual markings, which she keeps exquisitely clean. She's alert and curious (some of her neighbors might say nosy), and will often stick a paw out of her cage to say hello. Olive likes attention on her own terms and needs an understanding family that will give her the affection she wants. Our February 2012 Blog Cat of the Month!

Harriet will greet you at the door when you come home and snuggle on your lap every night. She's a beautiful tortie with glowing eyes and is quite the chatterbox, upholding her end of every conversation with purrs and meows. She doesn't always like to be petted, but she loves to be near people and to cuddle up with them. In her foster home, she enjoys limited access to the outdoors, and is available as an indoor/outdoor cat to a home with a safe yard (no busy streets or aggressive dogs nearby). This is the kind of cat who will keep you company when you're sick. Our April 2012 Blog Cat of the Month!

Smokey Joe
Smokey Joe is a laid back, friendly guy who's never met a stranger. He'll greet you with a head boink and just loves to be petted and held. Smokey Joe is FIV positive, a chronic condition that can be managed well with preventative care, and is no barrier to a long and healthy life. Read more about FIV here. Smokey Joe is one of the sweetest cats we've ever had at HSEC. He's looking for someone with a big heart who will look past his diagnosis to see his wonderful personality. Our May 2012 Blog Cat of the Month!

These pets have been waiting a long time for their owners to walk through the facility door. Is one of them waiting for you?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pack Up Your Paws Pt 2: How to Get There

This is Part 2 of our two-part post on vacationing with your pets. You can read Part 1 here.

Now that your planning is done, you can look forward to the vacation itself. And you know how they say that "getting there is half the fun"? Well, that's true of traveling with pets - as long as you're prepared. Otherwise, traveling can be stressful for you and for them. Having a fun vacation with your pet will start with safe traveling.

Each airline has their own rules when it comes to traveling pets. Small dogs and cats are usually able to travel with you in the cabin, if their carrier can safely be placed under the seat in front of you. Some airlines may require you to purchase an extra seat for your pet, or you may prefer to do this for your (and your pet's) comfort. For larger dogs that will have to travel in cargo, buy a sturdy, airline approved cargo crate with a good latch on the door.
Your pilot has turned on the no-walkies sign...

When traveling by plane it is important to think of anything that could happen. Tape a recent picture to your pet’s carrier, and keep one with you as well; it’ll be a lot easier for everyone to identify your four-legged friend, especially if something were to happen during travel. Feed your dog or cat 3-5 hours before you travel. Freeze a bowl of water to keep in their travel crate so it won’t spill during loading, but will melt by the time s/he is thirsty. You can also tape a small pouch of dried food outside of the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet during longer flights or a layover. If possible, book a direct flight. If you don’t want your pet treated like “luggage” think of booking them their own flight via Pet Airways (

When traveling by car, the main thing to remember is to keep your pet secure. Dogs are easier to travel with in general, but more so when driving. Most dogs will be excited to join you for a ride, just make sure they are either fitted for a dog-friendly seatbelt or a travel harness; crates are an option as well, provided you have the room. Do not allow your pet to roam freely in the car, and do not let them sit on your lap - especially if you are driving. Unless they are exceptionally calm and seasoned travelers, cats should be crated. Cats like to hide in new places, and may choose to stuff themselves under the brake pedal or try and make a break for an open door.

A harness keeps you and your buddy safe on the road and is stylish to boot
For those dogs that may be a bit more timid about being your backseat buddy, start slow. Get your pup used to being the car without it running first; feed them a meal in the backseat and reward them for being calm. Start with short 10-15 minute trips and then gradually increase the distance you drive. Don’t just take your dog to the vet or the groomers in the car, as that could make them associate being in the car with a bad experience. Have your end destination be part of the reward during training; take a drive to a local dog park, or pet friendly store/restaurant. For those nonstop barking travel dogs, stuff a toy with treats and they’ll be too busy to bark.

Some dogs and cats get carsick, just like us! It's generally best for them to travel with an empty stomach, although some may do better with a small meal before you go. Experiment to see what's best for your pet, and never deny them water. Nausea may be relieved if the pet can see the surrounding scenery. Your vet may also prescribe anti-nausea medication as a last resort.

You will need to make pit stops for your dog about every two hours, so that they can stretch and empty their bladders. Cats can be expected to make it about six hours without a toilet. This should be calculated into your travel plans. A certain loss of spontaneity is to be expected when traveling with pets. Plan ahead to make sure that your hotel or lodging is pet friendly, and be a good customer - don't sneak pets into places where they are not allowed.

Margaritas on the deck at sunset... you're buying.
Now that you're at your destination, include your pet in your plans. Ask about local dog parks and dog-friendly cafes. Be patient with your baby if they are nervous or stressed out, and try to avoid leaving them alone in your hotel for an extended period of time (even if crated). In no time at all, your pet should be relaxing right alongside you.

No matter where you go or how you get there, keep your pet’s health and well being in the front of your mind. Don’t wait to buy food until you arrive, because your pet’s favorite may not be available. When packing, bring along some comforts of home, such as a favorite toy or blanket. Maintain your normal routine as much as possible; feeding times and play times shouldn’t alter too much while on vacation. Train, don’t drug, your pet into a good traveler and you’re sure to have a great time!

If you're traveling this weekend or next week for the 4th of July, remember that more pets are lost on the 4th than any other day during the year. Make plans for your pets to be safely and securely contained during the firework displays in particular.