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November 11, 2008

 

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I want to take my dogs with me when I visit my parents in Texas this year, but depending on my mode of travel, I will probably have to leave them in Kansas City. If I drive, I may be able to take my dogs with me. But it is a very long drive (12+ hours) during this time of year, I have to worry about driving in the snow. My other option is to fly. Whenever I fly to Texas, my dogs are sometimes allowed to fly as well. But because they are so big they are only allowed to go as cargo and only if the weather is not too hot or too cold. Due to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), animals are only allowed to fly as cargo during moderate temperatures. The holidays get very cold here in Kansas city so if I fly, chances are that the weather will be too cold for the dogs to fly as well. Check out the ASPCA for more information on the regulations regarding pets flying on commercial flights.

So what do I do with my pets to ensure that they are properly taken care of during the holidays? Since you may also be leaving your pets behind while you travel this holiday season, there are a few options I’d like to share with you. The first thing you can do to have your pets taken care of during the holidays is to have a friend or family member take care of them. Or you could hire a pet sitter. And another option is to leave your pet(s) at a boarding kennel. We will go over the benefits and disadvantages of each of these options over a period of three parts. Today is Part One which covers the benefits and disadvantages of having a friend or family member take care of your pet(s) during the holidays.

Have a Friend or Family Member Take Care of Your Pet(s)

This is probably the best option if you have a friend or family member who is not also traveling out of town for the holidays – Especially if your friend or family member is very familiar with your pets. Your dog or cat will know you are gone and it will help their anxiety if someone else is around that they know and love. If this is an option for you, the next thing to decide is if your pet will stay at your friend’s house or if your friend will periodically come by your house. There are benefits and drawbacks for both of these.The benefit of your pet staying at your friend’s house is that your friend will provide almost constant companionship and monitoring. The drawback of your pet staying at your friend’s house is that your friend may not know your pet’s habits and therefore may not be as observant as required. For example, if you cat likes to slip outside when you are not paying attention, or your dog tends to dig under or jump over the fence when they are outside, or your pet likes to get into the garbage.

The benefit of your pet staying at your home and having your friend or family member come by is that your pet is in familiar territory. Some pets may not do well when they are away from home, even if it is with someone they know. The drawback to having your friend come by is that something may come up where they are unable to make a visit. With no other alternative in place, your pet may be left alone for very long hours with no chance to eat or go outside to potty. Not only that, this would be a great inconvenience for your friend or family member if they do not live within a few minutes of your house. Another drawback is that your pet may have separation anxiety because you are gone so long. Even your friend coming by may not be enough.

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