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A Helping of Preparedness with Gratitude for Dessert

With this in mind, our Thanksgiving gifts to our readers include some helpful tips for animal travelers and sitters, and holiday pet safety resources. To lighten the load, we’ve wrapped it all up in a heaping bowlful of thankfulness for our many animal responders and other community members who devote time and energy to be ready to jump in when needed.

But first, the practicalities! Planning a trip with your pet?
Here’s a checklist of “must-do and must-have” items:

·  Current pet health and vaccination records 

·  Make sure pets are vaccinated appropriately for their destination 

·  Get an “Emergency Use Only”prescription refill from your vet if your pet is on critical medications.

·  Update your Pet ID documents, and microchip registration info if you recently adopted or are fostering pets.

·  Take new ID photos of you with your pet (s).

·  Get pets microchipped if they’re not already!!!

·  Check travel carrier for cracks, and make sure latches and closures are secure. 

·  Get accurate details from airline if your pet is flying.

·  Have visible ID on your petAND on carrier.

·  Take a “Caution-Pet Inside”sign with you for use at your destination. Too many pets escape through an open-door during vacations. This simple precaution can save a lot of heartache(and save your vacation).

·  It’s also a good idea to keep pets in a quiet room during holiday meals, or just give them a break from amped-up energy and bustle.

·  Get contacts for EmergencyVet resources where you’re going. 

Pet Staying Home with a Sitter? Get our “Animal Emergency Prep Guide for AnimalSitters” and review all your animals’ needs with the person(s) caring for them.This document has lots of info for travelers and Airbnb hosts, too.

Is your pet going to a boarding facility? Check with the facility and your vetto make sure your pet has all the necessary vaccinations.

After more than two years of pandemic living, many of our pets have grown accustomed to less interaction with other people and may be more attached to their “parents” and familiar surroundings. 

New or elderly pets may be more protective of “their” people, food, and toys and may feel overwhelmed strangers or exuberant children. Think about aspects of holiday travel and revelry that may be new and unsettling to your pet.

Spend time acclimating them to the type of situations they might encounter during the holidays. Noisy, boisterous kiddos? Other animals?Unfamiliar hazards such as swimming pools, slippery stairways, or icy sidewalks?

Practice your situational awareness from your pet’s perspective.Be prepared for minor pet tummy ailments. Just like us, travel, new surroundings, and excitement can all cause gastrointestinal distress. Get your vet’s advice about feeding and medications to take with you… just in case.


·    Consider your pet’s comfort, and pack extra bedding, pee pads, trash bag and pet-safe wipes in case you’re stuck in traffic.

·    It’s a good idea to keep your pets’ harness and leash on during car travel, and plan ahead for rest stops where you can ALL get some exercise. 

·    Remember to take a towel for drying wet fur and muddy paws.

·    Carry a Pet EmergencyContacts card in your wallet.

Veterinarians and animal welfare agencies report that, sadly, more pet emergencies happen during major holidays than any other time. We get distracted and our awareness slips. Well-meaning guests give pets “treats”.
All sorts of exciting objects and delicious smells are everywhere!
Keep the holidays happy by doing everything possible to keep pets healthy. Use your “situational awareness” skills to assess the hazards around your home or the place where you’re spending holiday time. Remove dangerous items from your car when you can or make a pet-safe haven somewhere where they’ll comfortable and have toys and food to keep them occupied.

A few key considerations:

·      Decorations are dangerous!

·      Many common human foods are highly toxic to pets.

·      Anxious or bored pets may chew on luggage, shoes, toiletries, or other items within their reach, even ifthey would not normally.

If the worst happens, know what to do.

We’ve provided important resources information for pet poisoning, eating of non-digestible items, and toxic foods. If your pet is prone to eating stuff he shouldn’t, talk with your vet about the best emergency medications to pack.
And, again, if you’re traveling, get Emergency Veterinary contacts ahead of your trip, and keep pet health and vaccination records handy.

It might seem obvious, but your animals, small or large, might not be as up for an onslaught of petting, “pony rides”, or games.
It’s always a good idea to spend some time explaining proper animal etiquette to visitors, especially kids and teens. Plan time to accompany them and supervise interactions between visitors and your pets, equines, and family farm animals.

Avoid a trip to the ER!

·      Insist that guests wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, or boots around your hooved animals.

·      You provide the treats, limit the quantity, and demonstrate the safe way to offer them.

·      Set ground rules at the start of guest stays that will keep people and animals safe.

·      Check gates and latches frequently if guests are meandering around Animal areas.


Like a great holiday meal, we want to end with a sweet treat. Ours is a heartfelt helping of gratitude for all those who are always there for animals.

To the veterinarians, vet techs, animal control officers, firefighters and police officers, Search and Rescue volunteers, shelter workers, animal disaster volunteers, technical rescue teams, emergency dispatchers and hotline operators, and resiliency educators, and the family members who support their efforts.

THANK YOU for your compassion and your commitment, and for inspiring future generations. As a community, let’s express our thankfulness by working together to help our responders stay safe and well, reach out to help our neighbors, and spread the joys that comes with our bonds with animals.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season, Julie & Shilo
The HALTER Project


·      EMERGENCY PREP & PLANNING FOR ANIMAL TRAVELERS - Tips & Checklists for Animal Owners, Hosts, and Sitters

·      Poison Prevention for Pets

·      ASPCA Pet Poison Control

·      Pet Poison Helpline 855-764-7661

·      Toxic Foods List 

·      “Pet Inside” sign