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Planning holiday travel? Don't forget to plan around your pets

By: Laura Newell, Features Editor
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As the holiday season approaches, many are preparing to travel or accommodating visiting friends and family.

According to Jake Romero, with The Folsom Dog Resort and Training Center, nearly 40 percent of all households in the U.S. own one or more dogs, which means planning for Fido’s care is one of the key considerations to be addressed.

“During the holidays, not only do you need to give consideration to what’s best for you and Fido, but you also need to think about family members you will be visiting with,” Romero said. “Sometimes people your dog perceives as strangers or family members who aren’t too fond of dogs are not the best mix.”

For those driving to someone’s house, taking a pet may sound like a great idea. But before Fido jumps into the car with you, the kids and all the holiday gifts, Romero offers some things to think about to ensure an enjoyable and safe travel season.

“Do you have enough room in your vehicle? Holiday travel usually means packing gifts, suitcases, and things for the kids to do during a long drive,” he said. “Fido will need room to travel comfortably.”

He said to keep your dog safe while traveling in your car use a crate, restraint or harness. Make sure the crate is large enough for your dog to comfortably move around in.

If you have not traveled a long distance in your car with Fido before, he suggests a “practice run” before leaving.

“Some dogs become anxious or overly excited when traveling in a car,” Romero said.

He also said, never let your dog ride in the open bed of a truck, they must be in a secured crate to ride in the bed of a truck.

“Also don’t let dogs stick their head out of the window, although we love seeing their happy faces enjoy the wind, they can sustain eye injuries doing this,” he said.

Make sure to pack your dog’s water and feeding bowls, food, toys and favorite bedding when traveling.

“You should also bring along all copies of Fido’s vaccination records just case a need arises,” Romero said.

Romero said to remember that just like humans, dogs need potty breaks too.

“Don’t forget you’ll need to make frequent stops to relieve your dog as well as feed them and give them frequent water breaks,” he said.

Another tip to remember when traveling with your dog is to make sure you have planned ahead with where Fido will be once you arrive at your holiday destination.

“Does Grandma have a dog or cat? Is her back yard secure and safe? Will other family members who will be joining the festivities be bringing their dog?” Romero reminds travelers to ask themselves. “You will need to plan for constant supervision of Fido once you’ve reached your destination. You don’t want Fido chewing Grandma’s expensive furniture or breaking that special keepsake while chasing his tail in her house.”

If a drive is not in your future, next it’s time to consider the safe tips of flying with a pet.

Traveling with your pooch by airplane can be stressful, Romero said.

“There is a lot of preparation that goes into traveling by air with your dog, make sure to get the necessary copies of vaccine information,” he said. “It’s also expensive – whether your dog is flying freight or in the cabin with you, their ‘seat’ can cost between $125 and $175.”

He said a small dog may be able to ride with its owner in the cabin of the plane. But, if you have a larger dog, it likely will be considered as “cargo” and be forced to travel amongst suitcases.

“Flights are often delayed or canceled during the holiday travel season,” he said. “Make sure you have talked to the airline and understand what will happen with Fido in the event your flight is delayed or canceled.”

He also suggests to book fights early because there is a limit for how many pets can travel on one flight.

“With all the challenges that can come with taking Fido with you, a better option may be to arrange for a pet care provider while you are away,” he said.

The Folsom Dog Resort and Training Center offers an overnight pet care facility, Romero said.

“When selecting a pet care facility, make sure you have an opportunity to meet the staff and tour the facility,” he said. “Ask about the staff’s training and make sure you can trust the company. As basic as it may seem, make sure the facility is insured and has a good safety record.”

For more information about the Folsom Dog Resort and Training Center, call (916) 439-7202.