When it comes to our favourite four-legged family members, the holiday season can be a breeze or a nightmare. Change can be tough on everyone, and even a short stay away this Christmas can cause anxiety and tension for children and pets alike.
Whether you have rented out your property to make the most of the high season returns, or decided to take the opportunity to find a holiday space for yourself and your family, our pets’ comfort helps to make our vacations less stressful and more memorable for the right reasons.
When considering renting properties for your holidays, remember to consider things like outdoor areas, doggy doors, and spaces where your pet can be confined if needed during storms, fireworks or overwhelming stimulations that may cause anxiety. Pet friendly rentals are highly sought after over the holiday season, so considering offering and highlighting these extras for travellers can increase your rental returns.
So how do we make the transition smooth for everyone? Just like children, when it comes to our furry best friends – familiarity, routines and patience are the keys. When travelling for a short getaway, visiting your destination before the move may be out of the question. So comforts that feel like home can reassure your pets and eliminate some of their fears.
Take your pet’s bed, or at least their favourite blanket and toys with you on your travels so that at least it smells and feels like home. Your ‘smell’ is important too. Your pet associates your scent with reassurance. Make sure you have a rug or cushion you regularly use at home to place in a central spot in the house or near their sleeping area as a base for them to come and find comfort.
When you first arrive in your accommodation, it’s important to find a place for our puppy and kittens to retreat to. Use the familiar item here to sit with your pet and reassure them. Any time they display signs of anxiety or distress, (ears back, tail between their legs, whining, crying, pacing) bring them back to their space and sit quietly with them while they relax.
Keeping your regular routine for at least the first few days will provide a stable emotional state for your pet to thrive. If you normally wake at 7am and take your dog outside for a walk, try to maintain this time schedule to reassure them that all is well. Their regular food and eating times will also prevent stress and panic.
In the rush of packing and travelling it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Remember that dogs and cats need to feel loved and comforted too. Have patience with your pet’s initial reactions. Taking the time to sit with your pet and soothe them through the change will set the whole family up for a wonderful getaway you all deserve.
There are also plenty of natural remedies on the market like lavender oil, calming collars, and even homeopathy that can assist even the most anxious furry family member. However, if you have a known worrier, it may be wise to visit your Vet, as prescription medicine may be the best option to assist your pet to adapt and relax.
A little pre-planning can make all the difference to your holiday’s success. After all, what’s a vacation without our best friends?