It’s that time of year again, when we pack up the car and take the trip to friends and relatives homes for the Holidays. The inevitable question comes up; as to what do we do with the family pet? As society has changed and our pets have become family members the answer has increasingly become, “of course they are coming with us!” Would you leave your kids home for Christmas? Okay, bad example, some of you might be tempted! But seriously, pets today travel more than at any other time in modern history.
Here are just a couple of tips on how to make the trip a little more enjoyable, safer, and easier.
In preparation for the trip, make sure Fido or Felix, Sylvester or Sammy have current health records (up to date shot records, conditions, etc…) and pack them up with you. If something were to go terribly wrong a vet would need to know this info prior to treating your animal. You will also need good identification tags and maybe even a spare set, just in case. When traveling with your pets it is common courtesy to call ahead and let your hosts know there will be one extra at the table. Check for allergies or other conditions (fear of animals!) of your hosts that may affect your visit. And get your pet washed and maybe even groomed. There is nothing worse than a smelly family member arriving at your house (Remember your great uncle Pokeweed and how he smelled in between his bi-monthly baths!).
As you hit the road, it is important to note a family member roaming about the car freely during travel is a recipe for disaster. Imagine giving your kids that much freedom and the trouble they could get into! You will need to make sure you have a proper carrier. And though some of you may think it is cruel, the reality is, especially with a dog, a carrier will actually give your animal a higher sense of security and reduce their stress during travel. If your drive takes a couple of days, there are a number of pet friendly hotel chains. Motel 6, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Red Roof Inns, Best Westerns, and Candlewood Suites all have pet friendly properties. It is important to call ahead for reservations and make sure they know you have a pet. Also, don’t be surprised by a pet fee of up to $75.
Once you have arrived, make sure you have brought plenty of toys and treats as well as clean up bags for the furrier of your family members. There is nothing worse than a bored guest. That’s when we start looking in medicine cabinets, drawers, and generally getting into things we have no business getting into; our pets are the same way so keep them occupied so that you don’t end up buying new drapes or carpet for your hosts! Also, who asks someone to come back when they just leave their business on the front lawn! Pick up after your pet! If you do these two simple things your hosts may just fall in love with your whole family as much as you have.
Travel safe and have fun!