Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Travel with Pets This Holiday Season

If you’re a pet owner and are planning to travel this holiday season, you may be trying to decide whether or not your pet should come with you. While some pets have health or other issues that make options like staying with someone you trust or boarding a better choice than traveling, plenty of pets can travel just fine.

When it comes to doing any type of travel with pets during the holidays, planning is one of the things that can make a huge difference between a very stressful experience and one that goes quite smoothly. Since you obviously want the travel experience you have with your pet to fall into the latter category, we want to share our best tips about what you need to know to have a great experience:

Hitting the Road

Unless your pet hates driving, this form of traveling is generally quite simple. The main thing is to create a space in your car that’s both safe and comfortable for your pet. Depending on the size and temperament of your pet, some owners prefer using a carrier for the majority of their time on the road, while others prefer to utilize a barrier that gives a pet more freedom in the back but prevents them from jumping to the front. It’s also helpful to pack a small bag with everything from pet food to any medication your pet may need during the duration of the trip.

Flying with Your Pet

Before we share our tips for flying with a dog or cat, we want to mention that the US Humane Society states that air travel can be risky for pets and recommends you weigh all the risks when deciding whether to transport your pet by airplane. Much of this stance stems from tragic experiences that occur when larger pets are placed in the cargo area. The risk of that type of air travel is part of why airlines like Southwest only accept in-cabin pets for travel.

If you have a dog or cat under 20 pounds, most airlines will allow you to fly with them in the cabin. The average one-way price for bringing a pet with you on a flight is $100. Some airlines require you to pay in advance, while others ask you to make a reservation but will only accept payment when you check-in for your flight.

One topic that comes as a surprise of many dog owners is the lack of easily accessible areas for dogs to relieve themselves at airports. Many airports require you to leave and then go back through security if you want to take your dog outside to the bathroom. So if you have a connecting flight and are only going to be at an airport for a short period of time, your best bet is to bring a potty pad and find a discreet spot inside the airport for your dog to relieve itself.

If you’ve previously traveled with your pet during the holidays and have other helpful tips, we’d love for you to share them with us through Facebook or Twitter!

Which Holiday Plants Are Toxic to Cats?

Although the holidays can be a very special time of the year, it’s important to be aware that all the increased activity can be a bit stressful for cats. In addition to keeping a closer eye on your pet’s temperament during the holidays, cat owners need to know about the holiday plants that can be toxic to their animals. While most people already know that antifreeze is highly toxic to cats (and dogs for that matter), there are a handful of fairly common plants that may not be as obvious as risks. So with that in mind, here are the three plants you need to know about:

1. Mistletoe

Before we cover why mistletoe is a plant that you should keep away from your cat, we want to clear up a very common misconception about a specific holiday plant. That plant is the poinsettia. Even though there’s a widespread belief that this plant can be harmful to both cats and dogs, animal experts agree that poinsettias are non to mildly toxic and don’t deserve their bad reputation. While many pets don’t have any symptoms upon exposure, the worst are generally slight gastrointestinal discomfort after eating this plant or a mild rash if skin contact is made.

So even though poinsettias are actually safe to display around your home, a common holiday plant that isn’t such a good idea is mistletoe. In addition to experiencing more significant gastrointestinal upset, ingesting mistletoe can cause signs of positioning that include a low heart rate, change in mental function or difficulty breathing.

2. Holly

Another popular holiday plant that can be quite dangerous for cats is holly. Because it’s poisonous for cats to eat, symptoms of consumption include decreased energy, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you have any reason to believe your cat has eaten this plant or the others we’re covering, get in touch with your vet right away.

3. Lilies

Even though they’re most common during the Easter season, plenty of people like to incorporate lilies into their Thanksgiving or Christmas decor. Of the three plants we’ve covered, these may be the most toxic to cats. If a cat eats any part of this plant, it can cause kidney failure. Signs of lily ingestion include depression, loss of appetite or vomiting.

By keeping your cat away from mistletoe, holly and lilies during this holiday season, you can take a big step towards protecting it. And on the subject of the holidays, if you have any concerns about your cat gaining excess weight during this colder season of the year, our lean cat formula provides all the nutrients your cat needs while also keeping calories at an optimal maintenance level.