It's not a holiday without the whole family - yes that means the members with paws, too.
Ideally, we would love to cart our pets everywhere - or at least I would - but it just isn't feasible.
However, there are ways to make your travels less stressful, even if it means plopping Fido in your purse and handing him a biscuit.
If you're planning on traveling for the holidays, you should already be thinking about how to accommodate your pets for the journey, or how to make sure your fur balls will be content and comfortable at home ... all alone under the Christmas tree.
Cats are way more low maintenance and can be A-OK with an abundance of food and water and several clean litter boxes, if you won't be there to shovel them out. Invest in an automatic feeder and water system and it will dispense the proper amount of food and clean water per day. If you have trustworthy neighbors, I'm sure the cats would appreciate a quick visit or a rub on their neck.
Now, on to dogs. They can pose more of a problem depending on which picky relative's house you are staying at. Since dogs require a lot of love and attention, it's best not to board them, because more often than not, they won't have enough interaction or human touch.
With that said, no matter what mode of transportation you are going to use, you should never sedate your pet. Animals, like humans, are uncomfortable in new environments and closed-in spaces with strangers and they may express it by crying or howling. Try to comfort your pet without a sedative; they are dangerous and could be deadly, especially if used while flying, according to MSN.com. If you are going to be separated from your animals, an object that contains your scent will make them feel better. Common suggestions are old T-shirts, towels or pillow cases.
On the subject of planes, be sure to make arrangements and read all of the rules before purchasing your ticket. Many airlines impose a weight and size limit, and only a select few actually have heated compartments. For this reason, it is best to book a mid-day flight to ensure that temperatures are not too low or too high. Delta Air Lines forbids animals to fly if the high or low for the day is expected to be 85 F or 10 F, respectively, MSN reported.
Very young pets or old pets are not good candidates for traveling. They are more susceptible to illnesses, and certain short-nosed breeds such as Persian cats or pugs are very sensitive to changes in the air, according to MSN. A vet can properly assess your pet, if you need a second opinion. A clean bill of health may be requested by an airline if you plan to "check" your dog or cat as luggage. For international traveling, pets must be micro chipped and vaccinated, and you must wait several weeks after the vaccinations before bringing them into another country - if you haven't done this already, it may be too late.
Unless you frequently bring your animals for a car ride, pets are not accustomed to excessive motions other than the pace of their four legs. This can bring on motion sickness in cars, trains or planes, so it is best not to feed your pets on the day of travel. Be sure to give them plenty of exercise and extra food on the day prior.
If you had to be stowed away in a box for several hours, I'm sure you would want to be able to stand and move around. Think about this when selecting a crate. At least three sides should have ventilation to avoid sickness and claustrophobia. If your pets have been pampered and have never needed a crate - or if they have only associated a crate with bad behavior - you must familiarize them with the new "bed" and work to change that message. Try putting some treats or their favorite toys inside of it to get them to go in on their own.
If your pets are not used to wearing collars inside of the house, now is good time to get them to wear one. Anything can happen once you take them outside and if they get lost, this will ensure that they are returned back to you unharmed.
Safe travels and happy holidays!