Tips on Keeping Fido Feeling Festive While You are Away
Greater Severna Park area pet experts give some advice on choosing the right pet care.
The holidays are closing in and that means that pet owners are once again faced with the difficult question of what to do with their pets as they set forth to relaxing vacations and to bustling family reunions.
The unfortunate reality of holiday travel is that many pet owners will be unable to find a reasonable manner in which to bring their furry friends along on vacation as many airlines don't offer options for animal transport and most families choosing to drive have already filled their vehicles to near capacity with luggage, food, and presents, leaving little room for Sassy or Fido.
This inability to find feasible transportation options will have many owners looking to animal shelters or kennels to house their beloved pets over their long holiday excursions.
In order to find the most suitable living conditions for their pets, owners need to take time to research and visit several different kennels to make sure that the pet-sitting professionals they have chosen to care for their precious animals are going to provide nutritious food, clean shelter, and plenty of room to run in an atmosphere that is warm and caring.
It is also very important that pet owners make sure the kennel facility has detailed protocol in case of emergency.
According to Mark Boback, owner of Noah's Ark Veterinary & Boarding Resort in Millersville, there are many different questions that pet owners should ask kennel operators regarding safety when selecting a pet kennel this holiday season.
These include questions like: "What do you as a kennel do in emergencies? Do you have a vet on call? Do you have somebody on staff at night? Is your kennel clean and organized? Do you have smoke detectors? Do you have a security system?"
Questions like these can determine whether or not the facility is properly equipped to care for your pet at all.
"I think they should make reservations early," said Boback when asked if he had any suggestions for owners who are planning on boarding their pets. " (Pet owners should) take this time now to tour and inspect the different kennels in the area because they'll get a good feel for the kennel, the atmosphere, and the people."
"Customers should ask for references if it'll make [them] feel more comfortable," added Boback.
With all of these questions to ask and aspects to consider, it's no wonder why some people will choose to simply leave their pet at home while away on vacation.
Noah's Ark Operations Manager Rico Evangelista explains that there are many dangers, however, involved with leaving a pet at home and unsupervised even for short periods of time especially during the holidays.
"One of the problems is that pets get into things or eat food that could cause issues," Evangelista said. "Especially during the holidays, toys, tinsel, poinsettias, and other things could be toxic for them."
"There has been a couple of times that I've already seen where [pets] have eaten something off the Christmas tree that they're not supposed to get into," he explained. "One dog ate a plastic holly decoration and he ate everything, including the berries."
For those families who don't yet have a pet, a very popular practice during the holidays is the tradition of introducing a new puppy, kitten, or other furry friend into the family. This practice is beloved by children everywhere who look forward to creeping down their bedroom stairs to find a big, red ribbon tied around the neck of their beautiful new pet.
Dr. Stacy L. Rine of the Severn River Animal Hospital sees this practice often and suggests that prospective owners take into consideration the conditions in which these animals were bred.
"I don't particularly recommend the pet stores," said Rine. "I think either finding a rescue group or, if you want to get a particular breed, I would try to go with a high-quality breeder, somebody who shows their dog, somebody who only breeds them once or twice a year, those types of things."
So this holiday season, whether you are in the market for secondary pet housing or for the newest addition to your family, make sure to consider all the different factors and questions that are important to you so that you and your favorite furry friend can have a safe and happy holiday.