Holidays are the perfect occasion to spend time with family and friends. And if you’re anything like me and my husband, our dogs are part of our family, so we try to fit them into holiday plans whenever we can! But there are some things you need to prepare for if you are bringing pets along for the holidays this year.
What should I consider when thinking about bringing my dog to someone else’s house for the holiday?
Ask yourself this question and answer it honestly: Will your dog be an enhancement to the party, or will having them present be more stressful than fun to either your host or your pet?
Every holiday season I am reminded by my husband (who did not grow up with family pets) that not everyone loves your dog to the same degree as you do. So while many of our close family and friends would find it rude to say “no” if we asked to bring our pets, they may not necessarily want our two very active herding dogs bouncing around their home; or in the case of Porterhouse, our Border Collie, on visitors’ laps!
Think about leaving your dogs in a kennel or with a sitter if your hosts are having a lot of people over, if some of the guests are sensitive to dogs or if your dogs have behavior issues like stealing food or overeating, having accidents in the house or being intolerant of unsolicited touch. If your dogs are crate trained, you may circumnavigate unwilling houseguests by crating your dogs in a quiet room away from the action.
We’ve decided to bring our dog with us for holiday travel. What do we need to do to be courteous to our guests?
Have a bag packed with any necessities that your dog may need for the duration of his stay. This includes:
- Food in an airtight and spill-proof container, and bowls for food and water.
- Chew toys to keep your dog busy and quiet during downtimes, and in times of stress or boredom. I always pick up some new and extra special chewies for trips to make sure my dogs are interested in them. My rule is one new chew toy per day. That keeps things interesting.
- Your dog’s crate so you can kennel him if you leave the house or if someone is not as enthusiastic about interacting with your dog as he is with them. (Keep in mind that even if you don’t crate your dog at your own house, your dog may get into trouble in a new house that he doesn’t know. So stay safe and use a crate!)
- Your running shoes. If you are planning to bring your dog to a family member’s house with you, be prepared to exercise her more than you ordinarily would. A tired and well-exercised dog is a good dog. So get out there and walk off that turkey you just ate!
- Poop bags, a spray bottle of cleaner and a roll of paper towels…do we really need to explain why?
With the right preparation, your dog can be a welcomed addition to a holiday party. And a word to the wise, if you do need to book your dog in for a holiday stay, book early. Most reputable kennels book up 3-6 months in advanced for holiday weeks.