With Christmas looming on the horizon – there are only 10 weeks until you can open your presents! – now is the perfect time to start planning a holiday getaway with your dog.
I know what you’re thinking: it’s not even Halloween yet, how can I possibly be thinking about Christmas and New Year’s? Trust me, others are already thinking about it and making their plans and if you wait too long to make yours, there won’t be much available.
If you want to spend a peaceful holiday with family and friends, dogs included, far away from the buzz of the city, there is no better place to do it than a quiet snow covered mountainside. The white landscape provides a sense of peacefulness and serenity, providing the perfect place for you to relax before the hustle and bustle of 2019 begins.
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If you’re browsing holiday rental websites to find the perfect place for your pet-friendly holiday getaway, you’ve probably already started a list of essentials you’ll need to take with you. A camera is, undeniably, on the list, because I know you’ll want to capture all those snow-covered moments with your dog.
I’m sure you’ve also thought about the clothes you’ll pack – including warm and comfy leggings, gloves, and hat. You might have even made a note to buy waterproof snow boots, like these boots from Hunter. They’re definitely on my wishlist.
But have you thought about what your dog will need for the trip? It’s important to understand the essentials of a happy, snowy holiday getaway with your pet, if you want to make sure that you’ll both have a great time.
Is it a long drive?
Unless you’re lucky enough to live near the mountains, it’s fair to say that you’ll probably drive to your location. When given the choice of transportation, if driving is a feasible option, it’s what I personally recommend, especially when pets are included.
The problem with flying is that unless your dog is a registered service dog, she won’t be able to fly with you in the cabin. There are so many risks associated with putting your dog in a plane’s cargo hold, so it’s fair to say that this should be your very last option.
Driving gives you control over your travel schedule. You can stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs and give your dog a potty break. This will make the trip much more enjoyable for the entire family.
Why not try using lavender essential oil to help your dog relax in the car. Long car rides can be exhausting for your pet – and you, too. Remember that while you know where you’re heading, your dog might not understand what is happening. Helping her to stay calm can make a great deal of difference.
Beware of motion sickness
Stress during the journey can lead to sickness for your pet. Unfortunately, you can’t completely cure stress, but using calming remedies before and during the ride can make sure that your pet doesn’t get nervous about it.
It’s helpful to plan your dog’s meals so that she doesn’t have to travel on a full stomach. However, to avoid further issues, you should also time your meal accordingly, so that your dog doesn’t get nervous about not eating.
Additionally, it’s fair to note that motion sickness can affect anybody, including your dog. My sister and I both get car sick and anxious at times like this, so I can just imagine how a dog might feel. If you’re driving on a small mountainous road to your holiday home, your pet might feel especially vulnerable.
Letting some fresh air in as you drive can also help to settle an iffy tummy, so crack your window just a bit. If you know that your pet is often sick in cars, consider giving her a medication for motion sickness, but if in doubt, it’s best to ask your vet for advice.
Those little chalets have steep stairs
Who wouldn’t love a cute chalet in the snowy mountains for a holiday getaway? They’re so quaint with their rustic decor! For anybody who wants a break from their everyday routine, there’s nothing like a cozy house with a view of the snowy mountain. Everyone feels like an adventurer from a past century when they stay in a chalet. It makes for a picturesque holiday – and an instant Instagram hit, too.
There’s only one problem with those cute rental houses: they tend to have those open wooden steps that can scare your dog. Pet Carrier Verdict has, thankfully, a handy article that provides plenty of useful tips to help your dog conquer her fear of walking upstairs or downstairs.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t carry your dog – although I have to admit I often carry Georgie down the stairs. But with a little help, training your mutt to use the chalet stairs can be a most effective solution.
Nobody likes cold feet or paws
Did you remember to pack your gloves and fuzzy socks? Great! But what about your dog? Ultimately, while you can find some boots for dogs, I’m not a fan. I just don’t think most dogs feel comfortable walking in boots and they can be a real hassle to get on and off of your pet.
You need to look after the skin and paws of your pet in winter. The combination of the dry, cold air and the snow can lead to sore paws, flaking skin, and itchy feet for your dog. Keep a towel by the front door to dry your dog after a walk in the snow. Pay special attention to her feet and the skin in between her toes. If your pet has long hair, it’s best to trim its fur before the holiday so that ice balls and salt crystals can’t cling to it and affect the skin.
Unfortunately, you can’t stop your pet from walking on the cold and gritty surface and the de-icing chemicals. Consequently, you should make sure that you can wash her feet to remove any offending substances. My homemade paw balm is also great for protecting those little paws from the harshness of winter.
Playing in the snow
Should you play in the snow with your dog? Of course, why wouldn’t you?! Most dogs love the snow, and there’s nothing like a snow day to revitalize you and your mutt!
Besides, keeping your dog active in winter is essential for her health. If you’ve got a private garden at your holiday chalet, you can hide treats in the snow for your dog to dig and find.You can even build a small agility course in the snow with areas for jumping and short tunnels.
If you don’t have a private backyard, a snowball game in a nearby field can be just the thing to keep your furry friend entertained. However, remember not to encourage your dog to eat the snow – too much of it could make her sick.
Provide a comfortable retreat
Ultimately, if you’re packing your favorite things to take with you for your holiday, why shouldn’t your dog take her favorite things, too? It’s a good idea to bring items your pet is familiar with so she doesn’t get nervous in a new location. For example, try to bring your dog’s favorite bed with you on your trip. Her favorite chew toys and blanket are essential to her overall comfort and peace of mind. Don’t forget to bring her food and water bowls, too!
Create a routine even on holiday
You want to make the most of the snow. Skiing, hiking, ice skating, and going out to the nearby village at night for dinner. But you also need to establish a holiday routine with your dog. Avoid stress by keeping her on her regular feed and walk schedule.
Are you ready for a snowy New Year’s Eve? Get your pet (and yourself) in a celebratory mood this winter with these essential tips to make it a great holiday.
Will you be going away with your dog for the holidays? I’d love to hear about your plans in a comment below!