Your Furry Friends and Their Holidays

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Christmas is a time full of hope and joy. So here are some tips to help keep your family, including your furry family members, in the Christmas spirit.

First of all, make any reservations now if you haven’t and are needing to. Reservations for health certificates/traveling documents, boarding, grooming, and even pet sitting. These tend to book up fast during the holiday season. Make sure your dog has its kennel cough vaccine and other vaccines needed up to date, optimally 7-10 days prior to needing it. It is also a good idea to have your microchips checked, updated, or even placed if haven’t done so. Your pet may also enjoy a pampering day such as yourself if the season becomes hectic. There are many ways and places to consider for pet pampering.

If you plan on traveling with your pet instead of boarding or having a pet sitter, consider visiting the USDA’s website on pet travel to check the specifics for the area you will be traveling in at www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel. Some requirements may include a health certificate, so make sure you allow ample time to obtain the appropriate documents from your veterinarian. Surprisingly, some may require a couple of weeks preparation depending on travel destination.

Keep things as consistent as possible. If you can find a pet/horse sitter to allow your pet/horse to stay in its own surroundings, that might be less stressful. Check with your local veterinarian for advice on trusty pet sitters if needed. Make sure your veterinarian also has documentation about your absence involving the care requests of your pet, as well as the pet sitter. For horses, make sure you have everything involving their care written down for your horse sitters. If your pet is boarding, take along it’s normal diet to allow consistency as well. If there is a concern that the holidays may become stressful for your pet, visit with your veterinarian about options and ways to manage stress and anxiety. Some ideas would be a thunder shirt, allowing them a quiet restful place with soft music to escape to if you have guests, and supplements and therapeutic pure grade essential oils to help promote relaxation.

See the AVMA website (www.avma.org) for more specific details about holiday pet safety.

Let’s not forget our furry family members while gift shopping. They would enjoy new bedding, toys, bling collars, clothing to help keep them warm, or even a step up to a higher quality food. Rawhides may look fun, festive, and tempting, but please avoid them due to potential choking and obstruction hazards.

If your pet/horse is outdoors, remember to bundle them up, keep them warm, and check their water to make sure it is not frozen if the temperatures dip below freezing.

Let’s not forget about the upcoming New Year and celebration as well. This time can be very stressful for horses and pets of all kinds if you live in an area where fireworks are allowed. Remember to be cognizant of your animals and make sure they are in a protective environment. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for horses to run into fences while being scared or small animals to “run away.”

Most of all, remember the reason for the season and His love for us. Hopefully this article will help eliminate some last minute stresses. Many blessings to you and your family during this season!

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