"Preparing Your Pet for Holiday Travel" by Lillian Sikorski

With the upcoming holidays, there’s planning to be done which may include travel to visit friends and family. Whatever your plans, you need to prepare your dog for their care or travel.

A pet sitter is one option. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. When you interview pet sitters it’s a good practice to ask for referrals and follow up. This is a good choice for some, as your dog remains in its familiar surroundings. 

A reputable pet sitter will require a visit before they accept the job to sit with your pets. Have your questions ready during the interview and pay close attention how your dog responds to the pet sitter. Also, observe how the pet sitter reacts to your dog no matter what your dog’s behavior may be.
Arrange an overnight outing before your actual trip to get a feel for your pet’s reaction to your absence.
Another option is a kennel. A clean, safe and reliable kennel can be a great choice. A reputable kennel will work with your schedule and hopefully the owners or kennel manager will live on property. Please realize the holiday season is one of their busiest times so now is the time to reserve a spot for your pet.
Visit boarding kennels before your departure and become familiar with their routine. If possible board your dog overnight prior to your holiday trip so your dog will know what to expect and not stress. If the facility offers day care and your pup is well socialized with other dogs you may want to include that activity in their stay. Also, remember that reputable kennels will require current vaccinations of your pet before they accept them for boarding. 

If your pooch gets to tag along with you on your trip, there are also preparations to be made. If your dog is not crate trained make sure you select an area in the hotel room where they cannot destroy anything when you are away. When dogs are placed in a new situation they may stress and chew property from being anxious or uncertain of your return. 

If your dog is accompanying you on your trip you can improve the situation if you:
  • Exercise them on a regular basis
  • Walk your pup in the area you are staying to familiarize them with their new environment.
  • Socialize them with other people and dogs that are staying in the same facility
  • Take their bed, favorite toys and chew bones
  • If they are crate trained, use a crate
  • If you watch TV or listen to music leave it on when you leave the room 
  • Don’t make a fuss when you leave or they will think something is up
  • Whether you hire a pet sitter, board your dog, or take them with you, plan ahead so you will have one less worry during this busy time of year.

Enjoy a safe and memorable holiday trip!

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