August 29, 2019
Food, laughter, extra people—family holidays can either be a joy or an anxiety trip for your pet, depending on his personality. Holidays are for families, and it may feel wrong to leave the furriest member out. With some planning, preparing for family holidays with your pet can be a relaxing experience for the whole family to enjoy.
To do that, you have to take into consideration the challenges you’re going to face. Travelling, whether it’s in a car or plane can be stressful, especially if it causes anxiety for your pet. New people may be heaven for some pets or a special kind of torture for others. Anxiety, unfortunately, could cause your normally sweet pet to bite, scratch, or exhibit other aggressive behaviours. New sights and sounds can further add to your pet’s discomfort.
That doesn’t mean you can’t all have a great holiday.
When to Take Your Pet Along
First, if you’ll be driving or flying, you’ll have to decide if you want to take your pet along. As much as you may want your pet to be part of the festivities, he might not. Does he like travelling? Travel may cause your pet severe anxiety, so too might the environment to which you’re travelling. Pets that aren’t used to children, for example, may find them distressing. If that’s the case, you both might be happier if you found someone to take care of him at home.
Then, there are the practical considerations. Is your pet fully vaccinated? This is especially important for international travel. It can take several months to fill out and have all the paperwork approved. How does he handle crowds and loud noises? All of these questions can help you decide what’s best for your pet.
When to Leave Them Home
Not all pets enjoy going along, and it’s in their best interest to stay home. Pets with high anxiety fall into this category. The stress of new places and people might make it a miserable experience for everyone.
What kind of pet-friendly accommodation will you have? If there won’t be enough space for your great Dane, he may be better off at a kennel or with a friend while you’re out of town. Think about your schedule too. A busy holiday schedule may not leave you enough time to walk or play with your pet. He may be happier at a high-quality kennel where he’ll get to run and play every day.
Finally, respect your host. Everyone may not love your pet as much as you do. Be courteous to the wishes of those you visit. If they’re allergic or don’t like pets, everyone may be happier if your furry friend stays home.
When It’s at Your House
When you’re the host, you get to fully share the holidays with your pet. However, there are a few things to think about. If the house will be crowded, provide your pet with a designated quiet space that’s away from party goers. A quiet area gives your pet some space to decompress from potentially grabby hands. It could be a pet bed in the kitchen corner, a crate in the garage, or a doghouse in the backyard.
Before guests start arriving, give your house the once over to remove as much pet hair and dander as possible. Guests with allergies will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Finally, decide who is going to take care of what when it comes to your pet. If you’re single, the answer is pretty easy. If you’re not, don’t assume your partner will walk or feed the dog. Your pet’s normal schedule may be off, and you don’t want any accidents because someone thought someone else did the walking on Christmas Day.
Family holidays can include everyone in your family, including your pets. With some thought and planning, everyone can enjoy delicious food and good company. Finding a balance between your pet’s needs, your needs, and the needs of your host, you’ll be able to have a family holiday where everyone feels loved and respected. Preparing for family holidays with your pet needn’t be a difficult task.