(Photo: Kampus Production)
Many of us are making plans with the holidays right around the corner. For many people, their holiday plans are staying with friends and family members, and for many others, their plans include hopping on a plane or taking a road trip to spend the holidays with people far away. In the same way, if you take your children with you, you will likely take your four-legged family members on your holiday trip, so it's important to know how to soothe their anxiety around traveling. While cats are notoriously harder to travel with than dogs, it's still possible with the right planning. Keep reading for the best tips to make your holiday travel easier with pets in tow.
Microchip Your Pet
You may see microchipping your pet as part of fear free pet travel to ease your mind, but think of your pet's fears if they couldn't be reunited with you. If you adopted your dog or cat from a local shelter, they're likely already chipped, as it's common practice in shelters, but it's still a good idea to ask your veterinarian to do a quick scan to determine their microchip status. Microchipping gives you and your pet the peace of mind of knowing that if you were separated on the journey, you'd be swiftly reunited.
Frequent Potty Breaks
As a human, it's easy to feel cooped up in a car after an hour or so, not to mention how anxiety-inducing it is when you need a restroom and have no idea when the next one will come up. Plan frequent potty breaks for your holiday travels with your dog if you're traveling in the car. Not only do the pit stops provide them an opportunity to relieve themselves, but they can get the nervous energy they may have stored from the car ride.
If your travel plans include a winter road trip, make sure you put safety first when riding with pets. While letting them lay in your lap to ease their anxiety is tempting, studies show they'll be calmer when secured in a crate or seat belt attachment. While cats only have the option of crates, dogs have more options. Bottom line - when pets are in the car, secure them safely in the backseat the same way you would a baby in a car seat or a small child in a booster.
Prescription Strength Care
Some people's dogs and cats don't tolerate CBD oil or aromatherapy and need prescription medication to ease anxiety and nerves. Some pet owners may feel more comfortable with prescription medications studied and tested more than holistic options. No matter your reason for opting for prescriptions for your pup or cat, it's a valid choice you should explore with your veterinarian. Especially for cats who may be better off sleeping through the journey, these meds are important. Even if you do go the route of more "natural" options, having the prescriptions on hand is part of a strong travel plan in case your pet's nerves get the best of them.
Swaddle Your Baby
When surveyed, most pet owners view their pets as their children and may not even use the term "owner" but "parent" instead. If you are a parent, you probably swaddled your newborn baby to help them stay relaxed and sleep better. Investing in a hugging vest can achieve the same effect as a nervous dog. These vests quickly come on and off with strong velcro, allowing your pup to feel like you're hugging them even when you can't.
Traveling with pets can feel overwhelming. From being in the car for hours to encountering different sounds, smells, and environments, your pets go through a lot. The good news is that it doesn't need to be this way. The trails will be happy by using the above ways to keep you and your pet stress-free on your trip. Enjoy this holiday season with your friends and (four-legged) family!
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