The holiday season is in full swing…and that means folks everywhere are making plans to travel to family and friends to reconnect and enjoy the festivities. In many cases, those travel plans also involve bringing the family pet along. Travel research shows that dogs and cats do more traveling during the December holiday season than at any other point during the year. Here are some tips to ensure that Fido’s trip to Grandma’s house does not end in disaster:
Plan ahead! This seems pretty obvious – but early reservations can make all the difference when trying to travel with a pet. If you are flying, make sure you check the different policies on each airline for a full understanding of the rules and regulations involved. Car rental companies, as well, have different fine print regarding pets. Finally, if staying at someone’s house is not an option, or you just want to make sure you get some alone time, make sure you reserve a room at a pet friendly hotel.
Proper preparation in advance also means getting your pet accustomed to his carrier or harness long before your departure day. This will help guarantee a stress free transition from your home to destination. Another suggestion is to bring a familiar blanket or toy with you to maintain the comfort of home when you are traveling.
Another good preparation plan includes practicing obedience skills before you leave home. There is nothing more stressful than a pet that does not behave during a visit – make sure you do some practicing of the basics: no jumping on small children, no incessant barking, no climbing on the furniture, etc.
Most veterinarians suggest you consult your doctor before leaving on a trip so that you can be aware of any health concerns. And, as a safety precaution, it’s a good idea to attach a second tag to your pet’s collar that includes the contact information of where you are staying during the vacation.
Yes, it can be the most wonderful time of the year – but following these simple tips will help both the two-legged AND four-legged family members have a safe and happy holiday.