One of the greatest joys of the holiday season is getting together with family and friends. Visitors may come in from out-of-town or we may even travel ourselves to visit loved ones. Holiday parties, with lots of food and drinks, are festive and fun. But as much as we enjoy the holiday season, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming for our furry friends. Before you start drinking eggnog and kissing under the mistletoe, read these pointers on having a successful holiday get together this year.
Any change in their normal routine can be disruptive to pets. One of the best ways to alleviate stress for your animals is to have a safe, quiet place for them to go to get away from the noise and hub bub. A crate or even a bedroom off-limits to guests makes a nice place for a pet to decompress. This is especially important if you have anxious or fearful animals. Never force your pet to interact with visitors if you know he or she will be uncomfortable. Always supervise children with your pets, especially if they are not used to them. Children who have pets at home may believe they can interact with your pet (hugging them, laying on them, etc) as they do their own.
If your holiday guests are bringing a pet with them, it is a good idea to introduce the animals ahead of time in a neutral location to make sure they will get along. Additionally, make sure each animal has a separate, secure space to go in case they do not get along or need a place to get away from each other.
If you are traveling with a pet, there are a couple of guidelines you should follow. First of all, consult with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel. If you are driving , make sure you incorporate a feeding schedule and bathroom breaks into your trip. If you are flying, consult your airline for their specific rules and conditions for pet travel. Be sure to pack medication in your carry-on in case your bags are delayed or lost. Make sure you have enough specialty food with you for the duration of the trip, if your pet requires it. It’s a good idea to keep a list of all medications that your pet is prescribed with you and know the location of the nearest emergency vet, just in case. And last but not least, it is essential that your pet have some kind of identification, whether it is a pet ID tag or microchip. Many pets get lost at this time of year and a tag or microchip with updated information is the best way to ensure you and your pet are reunited.