According to PetRelocation.com 63 percent of pet owners travel at least 50 miles with their pets over the holidays. The Travel Industry Association of America says 78 percent of the pets taken on vacation are dogs, with cats coming in second at 15 percent. Traveling with my dogs is a frequent occurrence in my life, but for some it’s a holiday event. There are many things you can do to make your travels with Fido more enjoyable for the four and two leggeds in your family.
Crates and Harnesses in the Car
The ASPCA reports that unrestrained pets are responsible for more than 30,000 accidents every year. Some states require pets to be buckled up or crated in the car. Personally, I am a big fan of crate training and my dogs ride in secured crates in my car on a daily basis. I can barely contain them from hopping in. (We also play “crate games” for agility practice.) If your dog isn’t crate trained or there is a lack of room for one, a dog car safety harness seat belt will also do.
Dogs love routine and often show signs of discomfort when their routine is interrupted. I know it can be fun to hang out longer in your pajamas and visit with family during the holidays. But, if you usually walk Fido at 7 am every morning, keeping him to that routine will keep him settled when you come back and want to visit more with family. I think Fido will be okay with you getting back into your pj’s after his walk.
Turkey and other delightful smells:
A dog’s sense of smell is their primary sense. It is estimated to be 100,000 times better than a human’s. (For more on how dog’s smell, read Canine Senses: How Dogs Smell by Canine Science.) You can only imagine how good that turkey smells to your dog. When I was a child, Doodle, our small Cocker Spaniel, actually jumped up high enough to pull down turkey pan containing the leftover carved turkey. You can only imagine our surprise when we heard the crashing sound from the dining room.
Next: 3 Rules for dogs on Thanksgiving
Rule number one: Make sure the turkey isn’t in reach of your dogs. Doodle was not an athletic dog and still the smell of the turkey turned her into a Border Collie jumping over a 24 inch agility jump. What doesn’t appear reachable on another day, may be on Thanksgiving.
Rule number two: No turkey bones for Fido, no matter how cute he looks begging. Dogs have been known to choke on turkey bones and internal organs can be damaged by sharp shards of bone.
Related: 10 Foods Poisonous to Pets
Rule number three:
No sharing food from the holiday table. The food may be too rich and feeding dogs from the table rewards them for begging, which only encourages them to do it more. Teaching your dog to “go to their bed” or “go to their crate” has many benefits on Thanksgiving and all days. (Stay tuned for many training tips in January. I will be posting blogs in honor of National Train Your Dog Month.) An alternative to table-feeding is to grate some carrots and chop some other fresh vegetables and put it in Fido’s dog dish as a reward when he’s exhibiting good behavior.
Next: What to bring if you are traveling with your dog
What to bring if you are traveling with your dog:
Collar with ID Tags and Leash
Safety Harness or Crate in the Car
Seat Covers and Blankets
Beds and Crate
Sheet for covering a bed in a hotel room
First Aid Kit
Food and Water
Toys and Balls and Bones
Please note: Some facts from this blog were excerpted from two fabulous blogs I read on the subject:
2) Holiday Roads and Traveling with Fido by Susan Sims and Carol Bryant from FidoFriendly.com
Remember to express gratitude to your entire animal household on Thanksgiving (and every day), for the gifts, joy, and love they bring us each and every day. If you are traveling with pets, thanks for posting a comment on any special experiences you are having or any travel tips I may have not posted here.