Long before we opened Houndstooth, we'd pack up the car a few days before Thanksgiving and head west. Well, Midwest, actually, to spend the holiday with my family. And we learned a few very important lessons along the way. Like...
- Know where the emergency vet is, just in case your sister's dog and your dog "get into it" after Thanksgiving dinner. Ahem.
- Read up on your hotel's "pets left alone in the room" policy. Yep, there's a story there...
- Prepare for your food-motivated hound to be less food motivated in a strange environment.
- Realize that you can't predict what Customs officials will do or say.
Let's break things down into a few specific categories to help.
Be sure to include...
- A first aid kit because you never know.
- Medical records, including their rabies certificate (required if you are crossing into Canada).
- More food than you think you'll need, by at least a day.
- More treats than you think you'll need, by quite a bit.
- Something that will sooth upset tummies (or entice nervous pets to eat). We're big fans of...
- Honest Kitchen Turkey/Pumpkin Pour-Overs
- Open Farm Bone Broth
- Canned pet food
- Canned pumpkin
- A second leash and collar, because one will inevitably break (or be forgotten!)
- Travel food and water bowls. The classic Springer bottle is always a favorite. This bowl is also really nice and compact.
- Paper towels and other items to clean up messes (like Wee Away).
- Something that smells like home — a toy or blanket, for example.
Keep pets secured in the backseat every time the vehicle is in motion (or stopped at Customs!) for their safety and yours.
The safest way to travel is with your pet in an airplane-approved quality crate. But not everyone has enough room for that sort of thing. Including — at the moment — us, as we currently lack a reliable van. Second best is a crash test rated carseat harness. Which we have at the shop...but doesn't fit our dogs as well as we'd like. (Our dogs, as you may know, are oddly shaped.) So we use:
- A Kurgo seatbelt tether, connected to each dog's harness (always connect to the tether to the harness, not the collar).
- A carseat cover, for easy cleanup when Sierra (inevitably) lets us know she is DONE with this journey!
Give you and your pet some time to decompress. If they are used to dog parks or a backyard, check out SniffSpot to see what's available and nearby.
As everyone gets settled, you may realize you've forgotten something important —or that there's something else your pet needs to enjoy their adventure. If you're traveling from Vermont, might we suggest that you find a locally owned pet supply shop to pick up any last-minute needs. If you're traveling to Vermont, stop by Houndstooth! We'd love to meet you!
Have a safe and happy holiday season!