“Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go…”

iStock_000028876858_MediumIf you are one of the 43 million people in the United States who travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, you’re probably busy making plane, train, or car plans to gather with family and friends. Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for air travel and many family members elect to bring their pets along for the journey.

So what are some of the considerations to ponder prior to Turkey Day and how can you best prepare your pet for a peaceful holiday?

Pet Travel vs. Pet Boarding

It’s understandable that you want to include your pets in your holiday festivities. After all, they are a part of the family and many of us consider Thanksgiving to be a particularly poignant, family-oriented holiday.

If you elect to bring your pet on the plane, several important factors will need to be addressed. First and foremost, you will need to ensure your pet’s health (by law) by bringing him or her in for a wellness exam and vaccines, if needed. Airlines require a health certificate, and it’s also just a good idea for your pet’s well-being during any trip.

Because there are many requirements that change depending upon your destination, we recommend using a pet travel agency. They will walk you through all of the steps for the safest, easiest, and fastest way to check off all of the requirements.

As you may recall from our summer travel tips, road trips can be a lot less stressful for your family and your pet (as opposed to flying), but this mode of transportation also requires a little diligence and planning. Issues you’ll need to consider range from frequent potty breaks and rest stops to securing your pet while in transit, pet friendly lodging, and climate control (too cold can be just as deadly as too hot).

Thankfully, boarding your pet is a very viable option and does not need to be boring or stressful when you select a high quality facility. Naperville has incredible boarding options for your pet-–from luxury kitty condos to spacious exercise areas for your canine friend. Give us a call soon since you’ll want to make your pet’s reservation before we fill up.

When Your Family and Your Pet Don’t Mix

It can be easy to overlook those problem pet behaviors until the 11th hour, when family and friends are in close quarters. Issues such as aggression, fear, anxiety, and resource guarding can present some potentially serious problems if not addressed. While there’s not enough time to thoroughly train your dog before you carry out the turkey, it is a good idea to sign up now for classes in basic, ethical obedience and socialization. This benefits your dog in so many ways, keeping everyone safe and happy.

As strange as it seems to devoted pet parents, there are some people who don’t have warm feelings toward our playful pets. If you know a family member who is afraid of dogs or allergic to cats, try and make arrangements to keep them apart during the festivities by boarding your pet or by providing a safe, comfortable room for your fur friend while the family festivities are on. This is also true for pets who display aggression or fear.

Thankful Paws and Claws

If it is not possible to include your best four-legged in the holiday, consider doing something special in advance, such as a trip to a favorite park or a special catnip toy for hours of fun. Offer Mittens or Monty some special, pet-friendly foods, like a delicious cup of steamed carrots, a dollop of mashed sweet potato, or some shredded, cooked turkey (a winner with our feline friends, for sure!).

Most importantly, spend time with them – whether fish, bird, hamster, dog, or cat. What they appreciate most is your time and love.  And, that is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Naperville Animal Hospital wishes you a wonderful, heartwarming holiday!