As the leaves fall, and the weather gets brisk, our minds naturally shift into full-holiday mode. And if you’ve got a little Fido or Fluffy underfoot, it is important to start planning early! Going over the river, and through the woods, takes careful consideration if you’ll be traveling with pets.
Some pets love to travel. Most of these characters are members of the canine family. In fact, if there’s a pup around, it isn’t uncommon to see a wagging tail and an attempt to hang his head out of the window (Lori’s Note: please keep your dog’s head safely inside the vehicle at all times during travel). Cats, typically, are on the other end of the spectrum. Claws and lots of caterwauling are what must be endured during the ten minute drive to the veterinarian (to hell with a long road trip!). Of course, your pet, whether dog or cat, is going to fall somewhere within the “Love/Hate to Travel” scale.
How to Prepare For the Holidays At Grandma’s House If Your Pet Really Digs Road Trips
*Comfort is King, but safety is always first! You may be tempted to allow your pet to roam free within the cabin of your car, but it is important to remember that an excited pet can quickly become a safety hazard! A travel crate isn’t your only option. There are pet partitions and barriers that easily snap into your car, creating a safer haven for your dog or cat. Don’t forget that smaller animals tend to do really well with car seats. Of course harnesses and seat belts are your safest bets, but these can take a bit longer for your dog or cat to get accustomed to. Be patient and begin by taking short trips using the harness, working your way up to longer car ride times. Remember: It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
*Pack emergency supplies for your four-legged friends. Extra bottles of water, pet food, and a blanket will help keep your pup content until help can come.
*Food, Litter/Litter Box, Bowls, Bed: The essential pet suitcase contents. Even if you use a common brand of food, you can’t be sure that where you are going will carry it on their store shelves. Foreign food, or being without a place to sleep, can create anxiety for your dog or cat. It is vital to keep his routine and surroundings as familiar as possible. Of course, a few toys or a favorite blanket are nice too!
*Plan your trip and find accommodations that actually accommodate. If it is necessary to split up your travel time over two days, be sure to find a hotel that accepts dogs and cats. LaQuinta offers comfortable lodging and is very welcoming to pet parents traveling with their animal companions. To find a pet-friendly hotel in your destination, the folks at petswelcome.com have created a searchable database by city/state.
*Take his vitals. An updated identification tag (even if he is microchipped and registered) will be a lifesaver should your dog or cat run away while you are traveling. You will also want to remember to take your veterinarian information with you. A record book may not be necessary (in this electronic age), but you will want a way to get in contact with your vet in case of an emergency.
*Hydrate, even if that means more frequent pit stops. It may seem counter-productive to give your pet water on the road, but it’s important that they stay hydrated (trust us, the effects of dehydration are far worse than having to make a few extra stops along the way). On the contrary, you will want to keep your pet’s food intake at a minimum.
What If Fluffy Would Prefer to Only Go to Grandma’s House via Her Picture On A Christmas Card?
Not every animal is pro-travel. In fact, considering that most pets are creatures of comfort, it is likely that they’d like to experience Thanksgiving from the coziness (and quiet) of their warm bed. If that is the case for your cuddly companion, call early for her pet sitting services. Wisconsin Pet Care books quickly for the holidays and we want to be able to accommodate your pet’s schedule as much as possible. The longer you wait to secure pet care, the more difficult it is for us to stick to your dog or cat’s routine.
Should your pet stay or should they go? Only you know for sure. Either way, these helpful hints will help keep the holiday season merry and bright for all the members of your family.