With the Holidays right around the corner, the last thing you may be thinking about is, “how will my pet be spending the holidays?”  If this inquiry jolted you into stark realization, here is the question you want to ponder before the holidays are upon you.

How will my pet be cared for during the holidays?

This question can include the following scenarios:
Is my pet going with me?
Is someone coming in to care for my pet?
Are my relatives/friends arriving with pets?
Am I arriving at a pet free environment with a pet?
Am I driving a significant distance with my pet?
Am I flying with my pet?
If any of the above scenarios describe what you are doing this holiday season then the following three tips for celebrating conflict free holidays with a pet are for you.
Ask, Prepare and Choose:
Ask if your pet is welcome at the home of another or ask if your guest intends to bring a pet into your home.  Whether you are pet friendly or not, setting up the ground rules for a visit by Fido or Fluffy is key to keeping conflict at bay.  If you are bringing a pet to someone’s home, initiate this conversation and respect the boundaries the person whom you are visiting sets.  If you talk about these guidelines before you/they arrive everyone is clear about how the visit will go and can make choices based on that information.
Having this discussion early gives the pet owner a chance to choose whether they feel comfortable bringing their pet and gives them ample time to decide, for comfort of their pet and themselves, on a different placement for the pet.  Speaking about ground rules gives the host peace of mind that her wishes for the visit were expressed.  This alleviates the whispered conflict conversations about the pet’s behavior in the kitchen.
Prepare early for your pet care or travel.  This isn’t the part where we talk about stuffed toys and food.  This is the part where we use Google maps to locate emergency vet clinics along your route, if you are driving, and at your destination if you fly.  It can be the most valuable use of your holiday preparation time.  What is your peace of mind worth?
When flying assure the pilot knows your dog is on board.  Do not assume the ground crew is speaking to the pilot.  Make a flyer with your seat number, name and cell number, the dogs name and their species for both the top of their crate and the pilot’s hand.
If driving cross-country with your pet, find a vet clinic, preferably an emergency clinic at every 50-mile marker.   Call each place you find before you leave to ask them about their holiday hours and when someone will be manning the fort.  If there are no emergency clinics close by, it may be worth your while to call a few regular vet hospitals and ask to speak with the vet.  Learn their holiday suggestions for their clients.  One sure way to befriend a vet is to say, “I am doing preventive reconnoitering for my holiday visit to Aunt Mary’s.  I would love to stop by and introduce myself.”  This will show your dedication to the pet and respect of the vet’s time.
Choose whether your pet will be safer, happier and more content with you, at a kennel or at home.  If stress will be the operative word if you bring your pet to Aunt Mary’s, when she or several other attendees don’t like dogs, your pet will feel that and react.  If you truly don’t want the pet in your home either because it is untrained, unruly or you home is pet-unfriendly, take a gentle stand for yourself, maybe for the first time and choose to speak to the family member about leaving Fluffy or Fido at home.  The pet owner often appreciates honesty over watching you suffer in silence.  People want to enjoy their holidays.  They don’t want it spoiled by pet misbehavior, or relative misbehavior toward the pet.
There are several more things you can do while traveling with your pet.  I will cover those things next week.  For now don’t forget to bring your Pet’s Pet Passportalong on the trip.  You can download one for free from my website- www.hamiltonlawandmediation.com.  It will keep, at your fingertips, all your pets pertinent information and picture for all eventualities when traveling.  You can also load on your smart phone the Pet Home Alone appfor the iPhone. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pet-home-alone/id711449372?ls=1&mt=8
Happy Holidays and Enjoy your pets!
Debra Vey Voda Hamilton

CR 2013  HLM All Rights Reserved

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