I have a six year old Westie named Bailey, and she has never missed a family holiday. I am very lucky that she travels very well by car and also as a carry-on companion on planes. I am also lucky to have relatives who accept her in their homes. But just because my relatives are open to her coming over, it doesn’t make the experience stress free for me or Bailey.
Holidays are especially stressful for both dogs and humans. In my families households, Bailey has to deal with other dogs, excited kids, distracted adults, loud music, awesome smells coming from the kitchen and many other things that can easily stress her out. As her owner, I have to try to make the experience as comfortable as possible and also respect being in a different house.
To make the holiday experience the best for Bailey I make sure to do the following:
Remember to be respectful when you are at someone else’s house, especially if they have pets. Know their rules about pets on the furniture, at the dinner table, around babies and kids, etc. Also, be aware of open doors to the outside, open ranges and ovens in the kitchen and other objects that could be harmful to your dog. When I go to my in-laws, we have family coming in and out all day. I put a leash on Bailey so I don’t have to worry about her running out the front door.
The holidays are a very fun time of year and with a little forethought, they can be just as fun for your pet. Happy holidays!