The holidays are quickly approaching, and that no doubt means you'll be planning some road trips to spend time with friends and family. Whether it's your parents, siblings, or friends you've known forever, spending time in another person's space can cause some tension ... throw your pets into the mix and things can get downright hairy!
If you're packing up the pooch and getting ready to head out, the following tips will make your stay a success and ensure you get invited back again next year!
1. Check to be sure your pet is welcome.
Bringing your pet along as a surprise for your hosts is never a good idea. Friends or relatives may not be comfortable having your pet as a guest. Confirm in advance that your pet is welcome and discuss any restricted areas or rules that will need to be followed during your stay.
2. Brush up on obedience.
Traveling with pets means introducing them to new places, scents, and people - and helping them determine which behaviors are appropriate in a new environment is part of our responsibility. Spend some time refreshing your dog's basic obedience skills before you leave and give him the chance to dazzle your hosts with his manners. Simple commands like “Stay,” “Down,” and “Drop It” can keep a dog from bolting out an open door, making inappropriate greetings, or eating something harmful.
3.Give your pet a comfortable retreat.
4. Stick to the schedule.
As simple as it seems, feeding and exercising your pets on their normal schedule can reduce their anxiety. Set an alarm to remind yourself of your pet’s feeding time and don’t skip their daily walks - it's the perfect excuse for some one-on-one time!
5. Avoid digestive disaster.
It’s very tempting to spoil your pet with food and treats while you're away from home. However, it's a risky proposition. Eating foods he's not used to can lead to gastrointestinal distress, so it's best to stick to his normal diet while you're traveling. Let your hosts and other guests know that your pet is well fed, and anyone offering unapproved treats may be cleaning up after him later.
6. Leave no trace.
The best way to ensure you'll receive another invitation is to clean up after yourself. Bring a spare sheet to cover the bedding if you know your pet will insist on sleeping with you; pack your lint roller to remove the fur your pup left on the sofa; and be sure to pick up and dispose of your dog's waste in the yard.
7. Play it cool.
Holiday gatherings can be an emotional time. Remember that your pet will pick up on your feelings, and over-excitement, anxiety, and stress are common emotions when we travel - so relax, stay calm, and have fun!
We wish you waggin’ trails!
About the Author: Amy Burkert runs the award-winning pet travel website,GoPetFriendly.com, which makes it easy to plan a trip with your entire family. Her blog, Take Paws,
is an encyclopedia of pet travel tips, pet-friendly destination advice,
and stories of the adventures she and her husband have as they travel
full-time in their Winnebago with their dogs, Ty and Buster