It’s that time of year again. Time for family and friends to gather for holiday festivities. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's easy to forget to plan for the four-legged family members. Whether traveling or hosting gatherings at home, pet parents should plan accordingly for housing and care of their pets to ensure everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.
For those traveling it may be necessary to schedule boarding reservations, find pet-friendly hotels, or check with airlines for pet-flying procedures. Many individuals choose to board their pet with the family veterinarian, use a pet boarding facility, or have a pet-sitter come to their home. When locating a boarding facility, you may want to tour the facilities and meet the staff beforehand. It's also important to review necessary vaccinations, flea prevention, and diagnostic protocols that may be required (i.e. fecal test for internal parasites). These steps ensure that each pet receives minimal exposure to contagious pathogens that can be transferred among dogs and cats in boarding settings.
If you choose to take your pets with you while traveling, be sure to locate pet-friendly hotels online. You may also want to look for dog parks along your travel route in case your dog needs to stretch his legs for awhile. For those traveling by air, it is important to contact the airline in advance to determine what may be necessary for the pet to travel such as vaccinations, carrier restrictions, and health documentation.
For pet owners staying at home and hosting holiday gatherings, there are a number of important items to consider. First, does the pet stress easily or become anxious with family or friends in the house? If so, it may be beneficial to consider boarding these pets. Other options include placing your pet in a quiet area of the house and/or giving anti-anxiety or sedative medications if the anxiety is severe.
Tell your guests how to interact with your pets. If a pet is fearful, guests should know not to approach him. Ask your guests to refrain from giving your pets human food and closely monitor pets around guest luggage to ensure no toxic foods or medications are ingested. If you think your pet ate something potentially toxic or foreign, emergency veterinary care should be sought as soon as possible.
The holidays should be a joyful time for everyone. A little planning will help to ensure your pet’s safety and the start of a happy new year.