In the chaos of the holiday season, it can be all too easy to ignore the impact of the tumult on Fido or Socks (or Xerxes, or Mr. Buttons, or whoever else shares your home). Human holidays are a joyous time to visit with family, travel, and host visitors. But dogs and cats can wind up finding the holidays particularly stressful. Here are a few tips to help your furry friends avoid stress during the holiday season.
Taking Your Canine or Feline Family Along
The first big choice is whether to bring your pets along or leave them at home. While the decision depends a lot on your particular pets, there are a few general trends. Cats tend to handle solitude pretty well if you can manage that and get a sitter in to check on them daily or, if you can afford it, stay over.
Dogs present a tougher choice. While they tend to want to stick to a routine, they’re liable to get lonely. On top of that, leaving the dog behind can be expensive. Overnight sitters can run anywhere from $50 to $100 a day. Even if you don’t hire someone for overnight, dogs need to be walked several times a day and fed and played with, whereas cats can generally get by on one visit per day.
If you decide to take your pet on a trip with you, it should have ID tags, and you should carry copies of documents showing that the animal is up-to-date on vaccinations. If your pet is microchipped (which is a good idea if you are traveling with it), the microchip should have your contact information embedded.
Make sure your pet is in good health if you are taking it with you. If your pet is elderly or ill or dislikes travel, it will do better staying at home with a friend or family member or at a boarding facility (ask your vet for a recommendation). It may be difficult to leave an animal in a boarding home but it may also be what’s best for the pet. They will not be happy or even safe on a long trip if they don’t like traveling, even if they like you.
If you are going to another country, plan way ahead—the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggests that you begin doing the paperwork six months beforehand. You will need a certificate of veterinary inspection from a federally accredited veterinarian and may need an endorsement on that certificate from the USDA.
If you are driving, a cat or a small dog should be in a comfortable carrier in the backseat. Don’t travel with your dog hanging out the window or in the back of your pickup truck. Take familiar bedding and toys. For larger dogs, a sling that fits over the headrests on the front seat can keep your dog in the back, so it doesn’t start exploring the armrests while you’re driving. You can also get a harness for a dog and hook it to the seat belt, which many animal-care sites recommend. Whatever you do, don’t let dogs sit right by the driver’s feet.
COMMENTS FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM:
Do you plan on bringing your fur babies to your celebration dinners at friends and family’s homes?. Here are some tips that you need to ensure that both you, your pet, and everyone else has a great time. Make sure you read this so you can handle any issues hat may come up. Happy Holidays!
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