The holidays are for making memorable moments together, not just with two-legged family and friends, but also with our furry, scaly, finned and feathered family members. As pet parents prepare for the busiest time of the year, Petco shares tips and advice to make the holidays safe and enjoyable for pets and pet parents.
“It’s our priority year-round to provide products, services, advice and experiences that keep pets healthy and happy,” said Rebecca Frechette, SVP of Merchandising for Petco. “During the holidays we aim to help pet parents make the busy season stress- and worry-free, so they can focus more on spending quality time together, celebrating their special bond and creating lasting memories.”
When it comes to holiday travel, seasonal décor and festive gatherings that revolve around food, Petco suggests preparation is key to minimizing potential health and safety hazards for pets. From finding the right pet sitter or ensuring you have the right travel gear, to using new pet technology to stay connected with pets while you’re away, Petco has pet parents covered.
- Plan ahead: The first step of holiday pet travel is to decide if your pet will stay home or come along. If the pet is comfortable with traveling and enjoys being along for the ride, pet parents must plan ahead for the road trip or flight to ensure it’s a safe and stress-free experience. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the safest way to travel by car with a pet is in a carrier secured in the back seat. For pets traveling by plane, pet parents should contact the airline in advance to learn about their specific requirements, try to book a non-stop flight, bring all vaccination records and a note from the veterinarian confirming the pet’s healthy state. Don’t forget to pack the pet’s necessities when traveling — like food, water, treats, favorite toys, leash, collar and I.D. tag, litter and disposable litter box, and clean-up products.
- Find a responsible pet sitter: For pets more comfortable staying at home, pet parents should find a responsible pet sitter who will either stay at your home with the pet, or will care for your pet in their own home. An online service like Rover.com can help connect you with the right sitter for you and your pet. Provide your sitter with a detailed checklist including feeding and treating schedules, habitat cleaning instructions, emergency contacts and general care and maintenance information for each animal to help them take the best care of your pet.
- Use pet technology to stay connected: Pet parents who love getting regular updates from loved ones can stay connected endlessly with pets with the Petcube Play Interactive Wi-Fi Camera. The device is remotely controlled from a smartphone app, allowing pet parents to talk and play with their pets using a 2-way audio stream, a built-in safe laser toy and camera with a night vision feature. For pet parents who like to keep tabs on their cat’s or dog’s food intake while they are gone, the PetNet SmartFeeder dispenses portions based on the pet’s age and weight. It will also alert the pet parent through a smartphone app when the pet has eaten and when the food is low. Want to know if Fido is keeping active while you’re away? Track and monitor your pet’s activity with the WonderWoof BowTie Activity Monitor – this Bluetooth-connected smart bowtie attaches to the dog’s collar, and monitors daily activity, giving pet parents real-time updates through WonderWoof’s smartphone app.
- Be aware of tinsel, frosty temperatures & seasonal foods: Keep pets in mind during holiday decorating by placing glass ornaments, tinsel and lights high up on the tree to prevent potential pet hazards. Poisonous plants such as mistletoe and poinsettias should be kept out of pets’ reach. Consider booties and a sweater or coat to keep pets warm on winter walks and use pet-safe ice melt rather than salt for clearing walkways, as salt can be irritating to pets’ paws, mouths and stomachs. Calls to ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center increase by 20 percent during the holidays, so avoid feeding pets table scraps like turkey skin, stuffing, chocolate, bones, onions, sweets, spices, walnuts and macadamia nuts.
Once pet parents have covered all bases around pet safety for the holidays, it’s time to make some memories! Pet parents can get an adorable photo keepsake with their pet and help pets in need at the same time with Petco’s annual Photos with Santa on December 10 and 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. local time. For a donation of $9.95, pet parents and pets can strike a pose with Santa, with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting animals in need through the Petco Foundation.
Petco and Unleashed by Petco’s assortment of products, treats, toys and accessories — fit to make the holidays safe and less stressful — are currently available on Petco.com and in Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores nationwide.