Prep your pets for unfamiliar locations and people
Your pets are important members of your family, so it only makes sense that you want to spend the holidays with them. However, the holidays do bring about unfamiliar places and people, and pets aren’t always the best at dealing with change. Fortunately, if you follow the tips below, you can prepare them well for these new situations and have a more enjoyable holiday season.
Get them trained. The best and most crucial thing you can do to help your pet stay calm around unfamiliar people is to train them. If you’ve adopted as adults, you can still help them unlearn unwanted behaviors, but some may need the assistance of an obedience trainer to get new, better behavior to stick. Consistent practice and routine will help keep your pet under control, which is the most important thing when they’re in a new place or with new people.
Go for a test run. As part of your pet’s training regimen, you may want to begin introducing them to new faces and places well before you really need them to behave. Taking them to busy street fairs, festivals, and other unfamiliar spaces where they can meet new people is a great way to see how effective your training is. Regularly introducing your pet to new experiences is an important part of socializing your pet, and can help them to become more resilient in new situations.
Pack the necessary items. If you are traveling with your pet, make sure you bring all the necessary medicine and care products they need. Don’t think you can make the trip without a few toys; like humans, pets sometimes need distractions and entertainment. Proper bedding is essential as well. If your pet is not used to sleeping in a crate, you may want to bring comfy pillows and blankets that will help them get their rest. The bottom line is, if you make wherever you are traveling feel more like home for your pet, the better they will feel.
Know their limits. Every pet comes with their own unique set of do’s and don’ts. For example, while it is common practice to pet and even hug a dog, not every dog likes to be petted, and most dogs do not enjoy being hugged. The same goes for cats — each one is different, with their own likes and dislikes. When you have guests over, let them know how to interact your pet. Also, let your guests know of other behaviors that may cause your pet stress. By giving your company this information, you are enabling them to interact with your pet in a positive way, which keeps everyone (your pets included) in good spirits.
Give them space (and quiet time). Just as you need some time alone, so does your pet. Look for signs that your pet is overwhelmed, and then take them to a quiet place where they can decompress so that they don’t lash out at anyone. Balancing “people time” with “alone time” is the key.
Preparing to Travel with Your Pet [Red Cross]