The holiday season is almost upon us and many pet owners are starting to make their travel plans. The DogSmith knows how important pet care is -- whether you travel with your pets or if you are leaving them home. If you cannot travel with your pet you may want to book your pet into a boarding kennel which can range from high-end luxury boutique style pet hotels and catteries to traditional kennels. If available, many pet owners choose to let their pet stay with their veterinarian. Whichever you choose it is always a good idea to get to know the staff beforehand. Check to see if the facility is a member of the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA, formerly the ABKA – www.petcareservices.org) and if this will be your pet’s first stay away from home, make several practice visits of increasing duration prior to leaving them.
Remember to make these visits a lot of fun for your pet. This will be especially helpful if your pet has never stayed in a kennel facility before. As an option to kennels, you may want to consider a pet-sitter who can either care for your pet in their home or yours. This approach can have huge advantages including more personal attention and reduced stress on your pet by keeping them in their familiar environment. Much like acclimating your pet to a kennel environment, it will help any transition to slowly introduce your pet to the sitter to ensure your four-legged family member is comfortable. Most professional sitters will include this as part of their service. With a pet-sitter, you also get a house sitter who will take in mail, packages and other similar duties. Again, check to see if the sitter you are considering is a member of an accredited organization and is insured and bonded. It is a bonus for your peace of mind if your sitter is also a dog trainer and animal first aid qualified.
When traveling, having your pet “crate-trained” pays big dividends. No matter where you go or what you do, your pet’s crate is its mobile home where they can feel safe and secure. To download a free guide to crate-training your dog visit www.888DogSmith.com. If you will be traveling by air, check with your airline for container specifications, size limits on cabin travel of pets, check-in times and any other information necessary. Though many airlines have stricter rules concerning pet travel you should also review federal regulations at the FAA website www.faa.gov.
Under even the most ideal conditions traveling by air will be stressful for your pet so visit your veterinarian well in advance of traveling to make sure your pet is up to the trip and you have all of the paperwork required by the airline. Your vet can also advise you on available options if your pet is prone to anxiety when traveling by plane. By a huge margin, most family pets will travel this holiday season over our nation’s highways. If your pet is not comfortable traveling by car you can help them acclimate by taking them on local car trips of increasing duration before you set out on your journey. Make your car a safe, fun place for your pet by rewarding them and using the proper restraints. Here again a crate secured inside your car is a valuable tool to keep your pet safe. A variety of specialty seatbelt attachments and harnesses designed for car travel are also available at most pet stores. Stopping every two hours or so for a walk and a rest will help you and your pet stay fresh, alert and comfortable. But never leave your pet in the car alone for any length of time. A car’s interior can become dangerously hot for your pet even when the outside temperature is cool.
Visit www.AAA.com for a list of pet-friendly motels and more information on traveling by car with your pet. However you travel this holiday season, it is important to keep your pet comfortable, safe and secure. Pack favorite toys and treats, food, appropriate leads, collars, harnesses, crates, blankets, beds, waste bags, food bowls, water bowls, required medicines, and plenty of fresh water so you can provide your best friend with a “home away from home.” For your free comprehensive guide to traveling with your pet visit www.888DogSmith.com.
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