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Do your travel plans make pet say bah humbug?

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The holidays are almost here, which for most means time with fami­lies. Many people will be leaving town to celebrate. For pets, the holiday season means a disrup­tion in routine.

Here are some ideas to help them adjust to your holiday travel plan.

If you are traveling with your pet:

» Some pets ride better not seeing out the window. Cover the crate or limit their view of scenery whizzing by.

» Bring items from home that your pet needs to re-estab­lish a usual routine wherever you are going. Crates and beds lend a familiar feeling in an unfamiliar place.

» Plan your stops well. Gas stations with lawns and fields around them are worthwhile stops for people and dogs in the car. Regular stops let pets exer­cise and then settle down easier in the car. Remember to leash your pets.

» Offer water during stops instead of making it always available. Offer food at the beginning of the day and sever­al hours earlier than usual.

» Talk to your host about their house rules ahead of time. Don’t immediately allow your pet the same freedoms they enjoy at home. Watch what they show interest in; they may go back to investigate later.

» Increase supervision. A big part of housetraining is knowing where to go and how to ask to get there. Sometimes young dogs or any dog used to having constant access to the backyard doesn’t transfer easily from one home to another.

Here are ways to help the house-sitter:

» Make sure you leave a detailed routine for the house­sitter to follow. Tell your house­sitter about any problems you encounter on a regular basis (squirrels, dogs next door, etc) and how to handle those prob­lems.

» Don’t change your pet’s routine to accommodate a house-sitter. Allowing new or different access to areas of the house or restricting them may have unexpected consequences.

» Dogs with separation anxi­ety can have a tough time adjusting to a house-sitter. It can be better to take them with you or board them to avoid their worsening behavior when you return.

» Pets that show aggression toward each other in the home frequently worsen when their owners are absent. It can be a good idea to board the aggres­sor or take them with you to avoid a situation worsening.

Here are some kennel issues to consider:

» Choosing a kennel is highly individual to your pets’ needs.

» If your dog reacts poorly to other dogs, consider boarding them where there are solid walls between dogs instead of just fencing. It will help them stay calmer.

» If your pets don’t get along well at home, board them sepa­rately. A small space and a stressful environment don’t help them develop a better bond.

» Many kennels offer enrich­ment such as walks and play­time. If your dog does not get along with others, ask them to choose a different form of exer­cise.

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