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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

            It’s that time of year again. Time for family and friends to gather for holiday festivities.  During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is easy to forget to plan for the four-legged family members.  Whether traveling or hosting gatherings at home, pet owners should plan appropriately for housing and care of their pets.  Planning will help to ensure everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.

            For traveling pet owners it may be necessary to schedule boarding reservations, find pet-friendly hotels, or check with airlines for pet-flying procedures. Many individuals choose to board their pet with the family veterinarian, but there are additional pet boarding facilities available.  When locating a boarding facility, you may want to plan a pre-drop off visit to view the facilities.  It is also important to review necessary vaccinations, flea prevention, and diagnostic protocols that may be required (i.e. fecal test for internal parasites).  These steps ensure that each pet cared for receives minimal exposure to contagious pathogens that can be transferred amongst dogs and cats in high density settings. 

            If you choose to take your pets with you while traveling, locate pet-friendly hotels on-line.  There are several pet-friendly hotel search engines available online that can aid in finding a hotel along your travel route.  For those traveling by air, it is important to contact the airline in advance to determine what may be necessary for the pet to travel (i.e. vaccinations, carrier restrictions, health documentation). 

            For pet owners staying at home and hosting holiday gatherings, there are a number of important items to consider. First, does the pet stress easily or become anxious with family or friends in the house?  If so, it may be beneficial to consider boarding these pets.  Other options include placing your pet in a quiet area of the house, or giving anti-anxiety or sedative medications if the anxiety is severe. 

            Tell your guests how to interact with your pets.  If a pet is fearful, guests should know not to approach him.  Don’t give your pets human food and monitor them around guest luggage to ensure no toxic foods or medications are ingested.  If you think your pet ate something potentially toxic or foreign, emergency veterinary care should be sought as soon as possible.

            The holidays should be a joyful time for everyone.  A little planning will help to ensure pet’s safety and the start of a happy new year.