How to prepare your pets for travel and visitors around the holidays

As the holiday season creeps ever closer, the festivities and family get-togethers begin! Whether you’re having guests over to your home, or traveling to see loved ones, here are some great tips to keep your pets comfortable and safe during the holidays.

Having guests over

  • Prepare a quiet room for pets: New faces and smells can be overwhelming to a pet who is not accustomed to being surrounded by crowds. Set up a “quiet room” in advance to help make your pet comfortable when guests arrive. This room should be cozy for the pet, so make sure your pal has water, blankets or a pillow bed, and even some toys to keep him busy. Use a sign or some sort of indicator to communicate to visitors that the room is off limits. This is also a good way to keep younger guests safe and avoid a potentially panicked pet that might bite or get loose out of fear.
  • Tire out the pet before guests arrive: Take your pet out for a stroll or play an exhausting game of fetch before the festivities start. (Bonus: A walk can be a great holiday-stress reliever for you as well!) Not only are you getting your pet exercise, but by the time your guests arrive, she will be more relaxed, and you can be fully focused on socializing with family and dodging the fruitcake.
  • Give your pet a refresher course in Obedience 101: Before your guests arrive, refresh your pet’s memory about proper behavior. Reinforce good behavior, and let guests know to not give in to those big puppy-dog eyes at the dinner table. Regular brush-ups on training and basic commands are a good idea year-round. If your pet likes to greet visitors with barking or kisses, keep a leash handy as guests arrive. This will let you keep control of the situation and make sure that your pet doesn’t make a run out the door.
  • Awareness: In addition to preparing your pet for guests, it’s important to let your guests know you have a pet, in case someone has an allergy or had a bad experience with animals in the past.
  • Treats for your pets: Be sure to tell guests that people food is off limits to your pet. Prepare a little jar or dish with your pet’s favorite treats. Include a sign that says “Rover approved treats” for when Rover gives your guests his irresistible “please give me a treat” puppy eyes.

Traveling over the holidays with your pet

  • If you are the one visiting family this holiday season and taking Fido along for the ride, consider investing in a kennel for the trip. This will ensure that your four-legged pal will not be able to roam about the car and potentially get injured.
  • If a kennel will not work or won’t fit in your car, then use a pet-approved harness or seatbelt to keep your pet properly restrained during the car ride. Be sure to bring along your pet’s comfort items such as a blanket or their bed, some toys, and their regular food.

Boarding your pet

  • If you have no choice but to leave Rover behind, there are great boarding options available for pets. The most important part of boarding is comfort, not only for your pet, but for you as well. Check out some places in your neighborhood online to see customer reviews, or ask friends and family for suggestions.
  • If you find a place you like, visit the kennel in-person to make sure that the space is adequate and the conditions are up to your standards. Don’t hesitate to ask the kennel employees about what your pet’s daily routine will be, how much play time they’ll get, etc.
  • If you are able to, bring some of your pet’s toys from home, their own food, and even a blanket or an item with familiar scents on it that will comfort your pet.

Whatever your plans are this season, always make sure that your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and that their identification is current and on at all times.

Learn more about the Everett Animal Shelter. Plan a visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out all of our adoptable pets. And be sure to watch our featured Pet of the Week on the Everett Channel.

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