Ohhhh the weather outside is frightful, but holiday puppies are sooo delightful! The holiday season is sneaking up on us whether we’re ready for them or not. And if you’ve recently brought a little puppy into your home and are going to leave town for a few days to visit friends and family over the holidays, you have a difficult choice ahead of you.
You’ll either need to hire a puppysitter, board your puppy, or travel home with your puppy. Depending on how far you’re going to be traveling, and the means of transportation you’re taking to get to where you’re going, your options for what to do with your puppy during the holiday may be decided for you. If you are able to make the choice yourself, here’s a brief overview of how each of your three choices can play out.
Boarding Your Puppy During the Holidays
Boarding your pet is a great solution to your holiday travel. A boarding facility lets pet owners enjoy their holiday travels with the peace of mind that their pet is getting fed regularly and is receiving the proper amount of attention. But, choosing a boarder to take care of your brand new pup isn’t always easy. While it’s incredibly rare to find a bad boarder, some are better than others.
The best advice is to prepare for your holiday vacation but scouting out some dog boarders in your area well ahead of when you’re leaving town. Keep in mind that dog boarders will be busy during the holiday season, so the earlier to tour their facilities and reserve a kennel for your puppy, the better.
Some questions you should ask boarding facilities and things to look for during your tour include:
- How clean is the facility?
- Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
- How friendly and knowledgeable is the staff?
- How clean is the individual area your dog will be staying in?
- What are the vaccination requirements for dogs?
- How often are the dogs taken outside?
- Are outdoor runs and exercise areas protected from wind, rain, and snow?
- Are cats housed away from dogs?
Hiring a Puppysitter Over the Holidays
Don’t feel comfortable taking your little puppy to a boarding facility? No worries, boarding facilities are experienced at taking care of dogs but some pet owners may feel more comfortable having a someone take care of their puppy in an environment the puppy is comfortable in. By hiring a puppysitter, pet owners can ensure that their pup is getting all of the care they require without introducing them to a new environment.
When hiring a puppysitter, start your search by asking friends and family that either have experience taking care of puppies, or are personally familiar with your puppy. Depending on your breed of puppy and the individual temperament of your little pup, some dogs are more comfortable around people they have previously interacted with.
Can’t find someone that you know to watch your puppy? No problem. There are a variety of pet babysitting services that can be found online. When hiring a puppysitter online, it’s a good idea to ask for references, read user reviews about the service, and to set up an introductory meeting between your puppy, the puppysitter, and yourself, to see how they get along.
Whether you hire a friend or a recommended puppysitter you found online, make sure you leave detailed instructions for how they should care for your puppy. Details to provide include:
- Feeding Times
- Amount of Food to Feed
- Walking Times and Distance to Walk
- Toys or Games Your Puppy Enjoys
- Medication Schedule if Your Puppy Requires Them
- The Phone Number of Your Vet Should Anything Arise.
Traveling With Your Puppy
Of course you’ll want to bring your puppy home to introduce the little pal to your friends and family back home. If you’re traveling by car with your puppy, make sure that you have a crate or kennel to keep your puppy in during the drive. While it’s tempting to let your puppy roam free in the car comfortably, you’ll want to have all of your attention on the road for the safety of both you and your puppy. Plot out a few pit stops along the way so that your puppy can get in a quick walk and use the restroom.
Once you’ve arrived to your holiday destination, there’s a few things puppy owners need to consider. First, you’ll want to inform anyone staying where you and your puppy are staying that you’re bringing the puppy. You’ll need to do this for two reasons. First, ensure that no one staying with you allergic to your puppy. If they are, you’ll either want to make another arrangement or have a plan of action — keep them apart, allergy medication, etc. Second, you want to discover what other pets are going to be coming in contact with your puppy. Most dogs will get along just fine, but if your family member has a less-than-social dog you’ll want to keep an eye on that dog and your puppy. If there will be a cat in the house, keep an eye on how the kitty and your pup interact. The cliche ‘fighting like cats and dogs’ is a bit dramatic, but not unfounded. Cats can be very territorial, and will act aggressively towards your puppy.