Preparing For Pet Care During Holiday Travel

As the holiday season approaches, many of us are preparing to travel or accommodating friends and family members who will be visiting.  Nearly 40% of all households in the U.S. own one or more dogs, which means that planning for Fido’s care is one of the key considerations that needs to be addressed for a lot of us. During the holidays not only do you need to give consideration to what’s best for you and Fido, but you also need to think about family members you will be visiting with.  Sometimes people your dog perceives as “strangers” or family members who aren’t too fond of dogs are not the best mix.

For those of us driving to Grandma’s house, taking Fido with us may sound like a great idea.  In some cases it’s a great option.  But before Fido jumps into the car with you, the kids, and all the holiday gifts here are some key considerations you need to think about to ensure an enjoyable and safe travel season.

  • Do you have enough room in your vehicle?  Holiday travel usually means packing gifts, suitcases, and things for the kids to do during a long drive.  Fido will need room to travel comfortably.
  • To keep your dog safe while traveling in your car use a crate, restraint or harness. Make sure the crate is large enough for your dog to comfortably move around in.
  • If you have not traveled a long distance in your car with Fido before you may want to do a “practice run” before leaving.  Some dogs become anxious or overly excited when traveling in a car.
  • Never let your dog ride in the open bed of a truck, they must be in a secured crate to ride in the bed of a truck…and in some states it may be against the law.
  • Don’t let them stick their head out of the window, although we love seeing their happy faces enjoy the wind, they can sustain eye injuries doing this.
  • Make sure to pack Fido’s water and feeding bowls, food, toys, and favorite bedding.  You should also bring along all copies of Fido’s vaccination records just case a need arises.
  • Just like humans, dogs need potty breaks too! Don’t forget you’ll need to make frequent stops to relieve your dog as well as feed them and give them frequent water breaks.
  • If your drive is long enough that you will need to stop for meal breaks you need to think about what you will do with Fido when you stop to go into a restaurant.  You never want to leave Fido in the car by himself, so you will need to plan ahead and find a restaurant that is pet friendly or you will need to hit the fast food drive through window. Leaving Fido on a leash secured to tree outside while you grab a quick bite may not seem too risky, but believe it or not there a cases every year where someone’s Fido is stolen.
  • Make sure you have planned ahead with where Fido will be once you arrive at Grandma’s house.  Does Grandma have a dog or cat?  Is her back yard secure and safe? Will other family members who will be joining the festivities be bringing their dog?  You will need to plan for constant supervision of Fido once you’ve reached your destination.  You don’t want Fido chewing Grandma’s expensive furniture or breaking that special keepsake while chasing his tale in her house.  Consider bringing along an exercise dog run or a crate to keep your dog safe, happy and healthy while away from home.

Traveling with your pooch by airplane can be stressful:

  • There is a lot of preparation that goes into traveling by air with your dog, make sure to get the necessary copies of vaccine information.
  • It’s also expensive – whether your dog is flying freight or in the cabin with you, their ‘seat’ can cost between $125 and $175.
  • If you have a small dog, it may be able to ride with you in the cabin of the plane.  If you have a larger dog, it likely will be considered as “cargo” and be forced to travel amongst suitcases.
  • Flights are often delayed or cancelled during the holiday travel season.  Make sure you have talked to the airline and understand what will happen with Fido in the event your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  • Book early – there is a limit for how many pets can travel on one flight!

With all the challenges that can come with taking Fido with you, a better option may be to arrange for a pet care provider while you are away.

Consider using a quality overnight pet care facility like The Folsom Dog Resort & Training Center.

  • When selecting a pet care facility, make sure you have an opportunity to meet the staff and tour the facility.  Ask about the staff’s training and make sure you can trust the company.
  • As basic as it may seem, make sure the facility is insured and has a good safety record.
  • Dogs are happier and healthier when they receive plenty of activity and exercise, especially when they are away from home.  Look for a facility that provides activity options that match your dog’s energy level and that offer outdoor play.
  • If your dog will be participating in group play with other dogs, give consideration to how many dogs will go into the play groups and how many staff members supervise each play group.
  • Ask about your dog’s routine during the day while staying at the facility.  Look for a facility where your dog can do his “business” (go potty) outside.
  • At a facility like the Folsom Dog Resort, your dog can enjoy a doggie vacation while you’re away.
  • If your struggling with unwanted behaviors and “bad manners” that Fido is displaying, you can also have Fido trained while staying at The Folsom Dog Resort! What better way to start the new year than with a well trained dog?

Some dog owners also give consideration to having a friend, family member, or a pet sitter check in on Fido while they are traveling.  Before you make these types of arrangements in an effort to save some money, make sure you have given consideration to the following items:

  • If Fido is an outside dog, does he have a habit of barking non-stop?  Your neighbors will likely be home and not at work.  You don’t want to come home a nasty note from your neighbor on your front door.
  • If Fido is an inside dog, are you sure he won’t chew the furniture while you are away?  Make sure Fido can be contained safely if he tends to misbehave while you are away. Some dogs can develop separation anxiety when left at home alone.  This anxiety often leads to negative behaviors that Fido may not display when you’re around.
  • Is the person who is checking on Fido going to be in town the whole time you are away?  Do they know what to do in an emergency?  How will they know if there is one
  • Will your pet sitter take Fido out of your home to the dog park or a school to exercise?  If so, will they take Fido in a car and if they do have arrangements been made for Fido to travel safe in the car?  If they are taking Fido to the dog park, do they know what to do if a dog fight breaks out?
  • Make sure your pet checker won’t cancel on you last minute.  Making alternative arrangements is often challenging as it gets closer to the holiday.
  • Make sure you can trust whoever will be coming into your home.

Facilities like The Folsom Dog Resort & Training Center often book up earlier than you would think…usually several weeks before the holiday.  If you are considering using a pet care facility, contact them early to ensure you have accommodations scheduled for Fido.

You can contact The Folsom Dog Resort & Training Center at (916) 365-9631

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