Unless you live in the same town as your family and in-laws, the odds are that you’ll be doing some sort of traveling over the holiday season. While you’re busy packing gifts and sorting out the kids, it’s easy to forget about the pets and wait until the last minute to decide what to do with them. The earlier you sort out pet care during the holidays, the less stressful it is. Here are some ideas on how to deal with pets when you need to travel.
Taking Them with You
If you’re going on a road trip, you may want to take pets such as dogs with you. However, you’ll need to consider:
- Whether your pet will tolerate several hours in the car
- Whether your hosts are pet lovers and whether your pet will get on with any of their animals
- Where your pet will sleep and whether there’s space for them to exercise
- Whether they’ll be happy in a noisy house full of people
While it is possible to take dogs on road trips, you’ll need to make more stops for water, toileting and exercise, so you should take this into account when you calculate your travel time.
It is also possible to take pets on planes, but many animal experts advise against this unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you must take your pet, it’s worth taking them to Heart and Paw before your journey to give them a checkup and to see if tranquilizers are an option. You’ll also need to call the airline well in advance, as they’ll be busy during the holidays and might not be able to accommodate your pet.
Leave Them With a Trusted Friend
Pets are often best left with someone they know and trust, especially social animals like dogs. However, not everyone has a friend nearby that can help out, especially in the busy holiday period. It’s worth looking for local kennels, catteries and other pet care centers that are insured and accredited. Read reviews and consider a visit before you drop your pet off, which will allow you to feel confident about leaving them there.
Leave Them Home Alone
Some pets such as cats and small animals are happier being left home alone with a regular sitter to come and feed them and take care of their needs. When it comes to animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, you may be able to find a neighbor’s teenager who’s willing to come around and let them out of the cage or change their litter tray. Want to keep an eye on them? Consider installing an indoor security camera so you can watch your cat or other pet and make sure they’re getting their daily visits.
Your pets are members of the family, so it’s important to ensure they’re well looked after during the holiday season when you need to visit family. Whether you take them with you or leave them with a friend, you need to guarantee they’re happy and calm during what can be a stressful time.