Many people will be traveling this Holiday season with their furry co-pilot in tote or in the back seat for a festive reunion with family and friends. It is important to plan ahead and take extra precaution if Fido or Felix is coming along for the ride. Here are some tips to make sure travels are merry and enjoyable for the both of you.
1. By Air, By Land or By Sea! Be fair warned, if you, Fido or Felix are flying the pet-friendly skies expect turbulence even before you arrive at the check in point. This is going to be a chaotic & bumpy ride to your final destination. No one likes to spend the Holidays in those dreaded & crowded airport terminals & long lines. With massive amounts of baggage to be claimed at least one frequent flyer’s suitcase is bound to get lost in transit during the Holiday rush.
If you are flying this Holiday with your pet just keep in mind that delays, cancellations, layovers and poor weather are to be expected. The Holiday’s, especially air travels can put increased stress on everyone involved, including your pet. If your final destination is in driving distance we suggest you pack up the car and head on the road.
If you are flying make sure you get direct flights to avoid long layovers where your pet may be stuck in baggage areas, particularly the cold winter months. Like humans, pet also get car & air sick so we suggest feeding your pet less. You may also want to consider visiting family & friends before the Holiday or delaying & postponing your travels after the busy holiday travel season.
2. Pet Friendly Accommodations. Whether you are staying at a hotel, resort, house rental or with friends and family make certain your pet is welcomed. Call before hand to double check that a welcome mat will be eagerly & joyful awaiting your pets arrival. Often times friends and relatives, although they love us, may not be comfortable with having pets as a temporary house guest. Confirm your reservations in advance to make sure you both have a comfy place to rest your head this Holiday. You may also want to discuss any restricted areas or rules that your pet will need to heed during their stay. If your pet is a pleasant house guest most likely he or she will be invited to many more Holidays to come.
3. Pack Your Pets Suitcase! Make sure to enlist the help of a checklist for all your pets essentials. Nothing spoils a Holiday season then a whiny, grumpy & sad dog that misses his favorite binky or chew toy. Pack the following: collars with id tags, first-aid kit, medications, vaccination records, bowl, food, toys and your vets emergency phone numbers. Don’t forget to bring blanket to make the trip more cozy & comfortable.
4. Brush up on obedience. Traveling will be an adventure for your pet in more ways then one. Your pet will be introduced to new places, scents and people on the journey homeward bound for the Holidays. Make sure your dog understands boundaries and the basic obedience commands like “Sit”, “Stay”, “Down” and “Drop It” prior to the trip. Knowing these simple training commands can make the difference between life and death keeping your dog from bolting, greeting guest inappropriately, and ingesting things that are harmful. Proper etiquette & training will make sure your dog stays off Santa’s naughty list and on the nice list.
5. Silent Night & Safe Refuge. With all the chaos that comes with the Holiday’s it is important to provide your pet with their own place or corner of retreat. With the constant ringing of doorbells, carolers, kids running up & down stairs & the rush of party goers the festivities can be stressful. Your pet will need a moment of silence and a place to regroup away from the over joyous crowd. Make sure to bring their bed, crate and favorite toy so they can relax and enjoy the Holidays stress free.
6. Keep your pet’s normal schedule.With so many things to do, people to see and the overall excitement of the Holidays it is easy to get busy. Often times, quality time with our pets suffer amidst our hectic schedules. With the lack of a schedule around the Holiday’s pets can become overwhelmed and easily stressed. So, what is the antidote to stress? Routine! Make sure to feed and exercise your pet on their normal schedule, this can reduce their anxiety. Set an alarm to remind you of your pet’s feeding time. Also don’t skip your dogs daily walk & playtime, exercise is a great stress reliever & waistline trimmer for the both of you! With so much feasting we humans need all the help we can get.
7. Avoid Certain Toxic Foods. Your pet will be getting a whiff & feasting their eyes on some yummy holiday dishes this season. With those sad puppy eyes gazing at that succulent ham you may be tempted to spoil your pet with some of your holiday favorites. But remember that it is VERY important to stick to your pet’s normal diet while you’re traveling. Stay consistent with feeding times and amounts, and be on guard against illegal snacks. Keep in mind that certain foods are toxic & deadly to pets and can cause gastrointestinal distress. Beware of onions, raisins, macadamia nuts, chocolate and alcohol. Don’t give your dog poultry bones to chew on they can splinter causing serious health issues. Also, make sure to inform other dinner guest & party goers of your pets strict diet and to not share tasty indulgences.
8. The tree is off limits. Make sure the home you are visiting is pet proof. Its important to keep your eyes open for any Holiday pet hazards such decorative Mistletoe, Poinsettia and other festive plants. Pets are drawn to anything shiny and can be easily injured if they ingest or chew on tinsel or ornaments off the beautifully lit tree. Make sure your pet does not drink the water in the tree stand it can contain harmful preservatives or bacteria. Although cats have a huge fascination with climbing Mt. Ever green & booking a stay in the Christmas trees pent house it can be dangerous. Pets should not be allowed around, under or up the tree, enlisting the aid of a gate or barrier around the tree works wonders.
9. Stay Calm & relax. We can’t help but to get over-excited, anxious and stressed during what most deem as the most wonderful time of the year. But please keep in mind that dogs can pick up on your emotions so stay relax & calm this season.
10. Get Vet Checkup! It is important that your pet sees the vet 2 weeks in advance prior to your travels. Make sure your pet is caught up on vaccinations and gets a clean bill of health before the big road trip or long flight. You may want to book an appointment now since your vet office will get very busy as more pet owners are travel with their pets for the Holidays. If you are traveling by airlines you will need proof of updated vaccinations & health certificates from your vet dated within ten days of takeoff. Regardless of your form of travel make sure to bring your pet’s medical records with you when you travel. It important to pack your pets medical records in a safe place that is easily accessible and within reach.
Have a safe & Happy Howlidays!
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