If you're one of the 91.9 million Americans who will be traveling before the end of the year, you might be taking your pooch with you. Here are a number of tips to keep in mind to make sure you and your pet have the safest and most relaxing journey possible!
Traveling By Car
Don't let your dog sit on your lap when traveling - this can be distracting for you and could send your dog flying with a sudden stop. Depending on the size of the dog, consider a crate, harness or dog safety seat. Don't forget dogs are den animals and feel secure in enclosed spaces. If your dog is not used to riding in your car, acclimate him in advance by taking short trips. Make sure your dog is well exercised before you start on a long car trip and make numerous stops for potty breaks. Don't feed him too much as dogs can get motion sickness and don't feed him in the car while moving. During the breaks, play with him or walk with him to get rid of the pent up energy.
Traveling By Plane
Airports are extremely hectic over the holidays. Check with your airline regarding rules for pet travel. Some require a health certificate and you don't want any surprises as you are about to board a plane. Smaller dogs can be nestled under your seat, but only a certain amount of dogs can be on each flight. There is also a fee. Crate your dog before entering the chaos of the airport. It will be easier for the dog if you don't feed him six hours before departure and make a pit stop as close to the departure time as possible. Some people will choose to medicate their dog, while others will depend on their voice and body language to calm the dog.
Take Your Dog's Favorite Toys
Dogs can get nervous being away from home, Make sure you take his favorite toys, bowls and blanket. These will help your pet feel more secure and comfortable.
Staying In A Hotel With Your Dog
Many hotels are pet-friendly including La Quinta Inns, Loew's Hotels and Orient Express Hotels. There may be charges, extra fees or deposits. Ask if your dog is allowed to be in the room unattended. Some hotels are even offering concierge services for dogs including every from doggie dishes to beds, personalized homemade cookies, a room service menu and even a 24-hour dog walking service.
Whatever you do, make sure your dog has his collar with all the vital information or even better, a microchip. In unfamiliar surroundings, your dog may tend to run away and it's vital that he be returned safely.
Keeping The Holidays Safe For Your Dog
Although the holidays can be magical, pet owners also need to be mindful about keeping their animals safe through this wonderful but hectic season. Let's look at how we can lessen potential hazards for our pets.
- There's nothing like the smell of the holidays, but holly, poinsettias, mistletoe and amaryllis (a type of lily) can all be toxic to your dog.
- Snow globes give us that cozy winter feeling, but they contain antifreeze, another toxin for your dog.
- Candles play a prominent role in many holiday celebrations. Advent wreaths, Menorahs and other lights should be kept up high, away from your dog or his tail's reach.
- If your family has a real holiday tree, this may cause an allergic reaction for your dog. Wrap the base of the tree and stand in plastic wrap to keep you dog from being tempted to drink the water, which can be toxic as fertilizers and other chemical compounds leach from the tree. Consider plastic ornaments instead of glass and hide any electric light chords out of reach so your dog doesn't get electrocuted. Avoid tinsel because it can twist in your dog's intestines and be deadly.
- Dogs love gifts too! We've spotlighted some good websites below!
- Regularly sweep up pine needles as they can puncture holes in your dog's intestines if ingested!
And whatever you do, please don't give a dog to someone as a holiday gift. Too many of these dogs end up in shelters. If someone you know seriously wants a dog, give them a leash and collar accompanied by a note that says they can choose the dog of their choice. Don't forget the Bark Busters gift certificate for training to ensure a well-behaved family pet!
For more Bark Busters holiday tips, click here.