With the weather changing and holiday festivities just around the corner, it’s time to take a little pause. At my house, we’re making a list of things that need to get done to wrap up 2021 and head into the new year feeling organized. From year-end wellness exams to end-of-the-year donations, I’ve got it all covered in my End of the Year To-Do List.
Schedule your wellness exam now. Routine visits with your veterinarian are important to your overall health. I get a wellness check every 3 to 6 months, so getting one at the end of the year means my next one will come along just before allergy season. Now, that’s what I call perfect timing!
Get Prepared for a New Season
Make sure you have what you need for colder and rainier weather:
▪ Warm clothing like a dog jacket, pullover fleece, t-shirt, or snood—dogs get cold, too!
▪ Paw protection from rain, snow, and other toxins
▪ Rain protection like a raincoat, and a fleece-lined, rainproof harness and an umbrella big enough to cover you and your human on rainy day potty breaks.
▪ Enrichment activities for rainy/ snowy days
▪ Extra supplies like pet food, pet prescriptions, and preventatives if you live in areas that are prone to flood or snow
▪ If you don’t already have an emergency “go bag” for your pet, now is the time to create one. (See sidebar at right.)
Get organized before the new year arrives by identifying and then checking off important tasks on your to-do list.
Mix & Mingle Checklist
Whether you enjoy perusing the open-air shopping markets or attending swanky holiday pup-parties, be sure to pack a few essentials just in case. My must-haves include:
▪ Poo bags
▪ Travel-sized water container and water
▪ Snacks and treats, in the event we’re out late
▪ Updated tags, a secure collar or harness, and a leash to wear during the outing
▪ Pet stroller, rolling crate, wagon, sling, or other means of transportation, just in case I get tired, injured, or overwhelmed on the outing and need a break
Hitting the road and bringing your pet?
Invest in a safe, secure travel crate and pack your pet’s health records just in case you need them along the way. If you plan on boarding your pet or visiting a doggie daycare while you are on your trip, do your research and call the facilities ahead of your arrival to make sure your pet is properly vaccinated and has all required records prior to check in.
Traveling without your pets?
Start researching your options for an inhome pet sitter or boarding facility months ahead of your intended travel. Pet sitters and boarding facilities fill up quickly, especially around the holidays.
The end of the year is a great time to donate some gently used pet toys, clothes, beds, crates, and blankets to a shelter or rescue to support homeless pets. Be sure to wash everything before dropping it off.
Donations of dry or canned pet food are always needed by animal welfare organizations, pet-specific food banks, and other assistance programs that welcome people with pets.
If a 100% contactless donation method is more your style, purchase supplies from your favorite non-profit’s Amazon, Chewy, or other wish lists. Or make an online monetary donation. Most organizations have donation information and options on their website.
Become a Volunteer
The end of the year is a hectic time for all animal welfare organizations and most rely on volunteer support. If you’ve ever wanted to volunteer for your local animal shelter or rescue, now is a perfect time to take the leap.
Follow Boogie at @littleboogieshoes on social media.
Cat and Dog Emergency Go-Bag
Your pet evacuation kit should include:
• Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
• 3 to 7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
• Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
• Litter or paper toweling
• Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
• Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
• Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
• Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
• Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires. (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
• At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
• A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
• Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
• Especially for cats: pet carrier, toys, scoopable litter
• Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner
You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.