Saturday, December 21, 2013
The holidays are all about family—including our four-legged family members. If you’re headed on a holiday getaway this season, whether for a white Christmas at Grandma’s house or a sunny vacation to take a break from the cold, you’ll find that, with some pre-trip preparations, your furry family members can enjoy the fun as well. Here’s a look at our top tips for making sure you and your dog have yourself a merry little trip:
Before the Trip
· Book early and check it twice. With hotels in peak season during the holiday week, be sure to make those plans and reconfirm before you hit the road. Book your hotel directly and make a note of the person you spoke with in case of complications while traveling. Also, avoid any check-in surprises by describing the size and breed of your dog.
· Visit Your Vet. If you’re traveling out of state by car or flying anywhere with your dog, don’t forget to visit your vet to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). Finally, be sure to ask for a copy of your dog’s immunization records to carry on your trip.
Packing for Success
· Pack for success. Pack everything you think your dog will need not just for the holiday for a few extra days in case of delays. Medications, food, treats, a crate, toys, an extra leash, an ID tag, and more should all be on your list.
· Be prepared for accidents. It’s not a matter of being naughty or nice—potty accidents just happen, and they happen more frequently on the road. Be a good hotel or house guest with a little emergency bag of supplies: a roll of paper towels, a bottle of Rug Doctor Urine Eliminator spray, and plenty of waste bags.
· Pack the scent of home. While it’s fun to gift your dog a new toy or bed for the holidays, your dog will especially appreciate the comforting scent of home on his everyday bed, plush toys, or blanket.
On the Road
· Plan to travel more slowly. Build in extra potty stops for your dog as well as walks. Always clean up after your dog, even in parking lots.
· Place an extra ID tag on your dog. ID tags are especially important when traveling; consider a second tag with your cell number or, if you’ll be at a relative’s home for a few days, their local address and phone number.
· Buckle up. Icy roads and holiday traffic make it extra important to secure your dog in a seat belt, booster seat, or crate. Not only will pet safety systems keep you from becoming distracted by a dog coming up into the front seat, they’ll also protect your dog and all the occupants of your car in the event of an accident.
At Your Destination
· Designate a pet guardian. In the excitement of a holiday family gathering, it’s easy to lose track of your dog. Make one member in your family responsible for your dog so there’s no confusion.
· Beware of decorations. For all the beauty of holiday decorations, they can be hazardous to your dog. Although your dog may not tamper with your home decorations, the excitement of a new destination, whether a home or hotel, may make that tinsel, strings of lights, or dangling ornament tempting.
· Watch out for holiday foods. Especially if your holidays will be spent visiting family, keep an eye out for holiday goodies that spell trouble to our dogs. Chocolate, raisins, grapes, and liquor all must be avoided. Ham and turkey bones as well as string used to truss turkeys are other holiday hazards.
With just a few easy preparations, you can make sure this is the best time of the year. Holiday travel can be a great way for you to build memories with your dog for a gift that you’ll treasure forever.
About the Authors
Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the publishers of DogTipper.com and the authors of the newly-released DogTipper’s Texas with Dogs (Open Road, distributed by Simon and Schuster). The full-color book features the most dog-friendly locations across the Lone Star State. For more information, visit www.dogtipper.com and www.TexaswithDogs.com.