Holiday Hazards: Caring for Your Pet During the Festivities

It’s time for holiday celebrations, but before you kiss under the mistletoe and deck the halls, be sure your pet will be safe and secure during the festivities.  Whether you’re in need of a sitter, must consider travel arrangements, or prepare for visitors, ensure your pet is safe and comfortable by combing through the following information.

Leaving a Pet Behind

He or she has been good all year and will be rewarded with holiday presents, yet one of them won’t be taking a vacation with the rest of the family.  You’re faced with the following choices of hiring a sitter, placing your pet in a kennel, or assigning friends and family members to periodically check on your pet while you’re gone.

Each decision has its advantages and disadvantages.  For example, the kennel ensures your pet has company, will be fed, and has access to water, yet you may be wary about leaving your pet with strangers.  Alternatively, you could leave your pet at home and hire a trustworthy individual to stay there while you’re gone, which could be more comfortable for your pet but likely to cost you more money.

Taking a Pet on Travels

Maybe you can’t bare to think of leaving your dog or cat behind and decide to take them along for the vacation.  There are a number of things you need to do whether taking a plane, train, or other form of transportation.  Most airlines offer accommodations but booking a flight for your dog is unlike doing it for yourself.  You’ll need to call rather than book the flight online.  Also, some restrictions and added fees may apply.  Moreover, depending on itinerary and availability, you may need to take separate flights, waiting for your pet to arrive or reserving a temporary sitter if your pet arrives before you.

Some airlines allow you to carry on your pet (the pet counts as your one carry-on item).  If you do decide to carry on your pet, you won’t be allowed to take it out of the carrier.  Aside from sparing it from feeling scared and afraid, a nervous pet is likely to become verbal, interrupting the peace of others during the course of the flight.  Bring along treats and familiar toys, while lining the carrier with a favorite blanket.

Decorating and Inviting Friends and Family

You’ll want to invite friends and family to share the holiday cheer, which means a lot of new smells, sounds, and faces all at once, enough to create a potential frenzy.  Your pet may act up while exchanging  gifts with other pet owners, whether pets are curious about the objects in your hand or smell dogs on others’ clothing.  You know your pet best, so prepare them for company by taking them on walks, to tire them out, or keeping them in a separate room when company comes, so people can come and say ‘hello’ at will with the option to leave quickly.

Of course, if you’re not taking off during the holidays but staying home, a number of things need your attention regarding your pet’s safety and behavior.   We all know pets love shiny new things, so snowglobes, garland, dog Christmas ornament, and Christmas lights are sure to catch their eye and impending attention.  Since cats and dogs are likely to get curious in the least, be sure decorations are not creating a potential health hazard.

It’s a time for happiness and cheer, yet before dipping into the eggnog, be sure you have paved a safe way for your furry loved ones.

Sean Terry is a veterinary technician. He enjoys sharing his insights and experiences through blogging. His articles mainly appear on family oriented blogs.

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