by Sandi Martinez (Guest contributor)
Christmas is over, and some of us are now putting away the decorations and/or waiting until New Year’s Day has come and gone. Many of us have traveled or will travel somewhere – and may still be still there – wherever ‘there’ is.
Because our animal companions are part of our family, their care is very important to us. We will have left our pets with family members, trusted pet-sitters, or sometimes even last-minute trusted acquaintances.
The tension and fear in your furry friend may be obvious as you pack your bags, leave instructions for the sitter, and begin your stressful preparations for travel. Your animal companion senses your travel anxiety and holiday stress.
While it’s impossible to gauge the inevitable ‘bad behavior’ your little friend will exhibit, here are some helpful tips to alleviate what could be a truly disastrous home-coming!
- Instruct your sitters/visitors to stick to the feeding schedule you have set for them. Prevent the likelihood that the pet(s) will help themselves by keeping food out of reach or even crating pets until after those sumptuous meals are consumed. (However, keeping in the holiday spirit, a small helping of that juicy turkey or ham, would be very happily received! Don’t forget to keep the healthy treats you normally give them on hand.)
- If you allow your sitter/visitor to bring a pet to your home for the holidays, consider how your animal will interact with the furry visitor, especially if they have never met before. Keeping the pets separated is another option; block off doors or crate the animals to help prevent territorial pet disputes from ending up at the Veterinary Emergency room!
- A need for affection and interaction is paramount with furry friends experiencing separation anxiety; keep an eye out for mishaps between your pets, and human visitors. Again, closed doors and crates can be a good thing. (Children running amok or the elderly may trip on the pet(s), therefore increasing chances you will take a human to the emergency room as well!)
- Chances are your sitter/visitors are well inclined to leave underwear, socks, and other shiny, (especially for cats) objects out of reach. Your furry friends will jump at the chance to chew on something, new, unusual, and exciting…
- The Big No-No… No candy for the pet(s). Especially anything that has chocolate or gum-like ingredients in it. Stick to healthy treats.
Again, you wouldn’t have left your pet in just anyone’s hands, but you do want to be clear about the rules you have set up, in order to ensure absolute safety and the best care for your pet, while you are away.
RMSAAM wishes you and yours a Happy and safe New Year!