“Should I take my emotional support animal to visit relatives at Christmas?” is a question that lots of ESA owners ask themselves in the run-up to the holidays. Christmas is a truly special time of year and many people like to spend it with family. For most ESA owners, your pet is also considered a member of the family. So of course you’ll want to take your animal along when you visit relatives for Christmas.
When you introduce your ESA to your family, it can be an exciting but also nerve-wracking experience. Will they get along? Will your ESA cause any inconvenience? Will your animal be happy in the new and unfamiliar environment?
Taking Your ESA To Visit Your Relatives For Christmas: Challenging, But Rewarding!
Taking your ESA to visit relatives can be challenging, but it is worth it. Having your ESA with you when you visit relatives for Christmas is an incredibly rewarding experience. Introducing your ESA best friend to your family and watching them get along is extremely heartwarming. Another big benefit: if time with your family can get a little stressful, the company of your ESA will be invaluable in preserving your sanity!
So, yes… bring your ESA with you to visit relatives for Christmas. Just make sure you prepare the trip well in advance.
Reasons You May Need To Have Your ESA With You At Christmas
If you suffer from anxiety, PTSD, a phobia, or a nervous condition, it may be essential that you take your ESA on your Christmas trip. Traveling to visit relatives can be anxiety-provoking in many different ways. Some people are nervous travelers. For many, social situations can bring on anxiety and even panic.
If you suffer from depression, it may also be essential that your ESA tags along on your Christmas vacation. Christmas can be a poignant time, laden with emotions and heavy with memories of the past. It is not uncommon for sadness to emerge during this bittersweet time of year. For people who are prone to depression, the presence of their emotional support animal can be invaluable.
There are many strong reasons to take your ESA along with you on your trip to visit relatives this Christmas. Before you embark, it is important that you consider the logistical issues and do the necessary planning.
Know Your Rights When Flying With Your ESA
If you are traveling to your relatives by air, it is essential that you understand your rights when flying with your ESA. Airlines are not allowed to ban specific breeds of emotional support dogs, but there are certainly some restrictions when it comes to traveling with your ESA. There’s also strict procedure around letting the airline know in advance, often in writing, that you will be traveling with an ESA.
Some types of ESA will not be allowed to travel on most airlines. Certain animals are deemed to be unsuitable for air travel due to their size, hygiene habits, or temperament. It is always wise to check ahead with the airline when you are planning to fly with your ESA.
Warn Relatives Ahead Of Time That You Will Be Bringing Your ESA
Make sure you let your relatives know ahead of time that you will be bringing your ESA. Check for allergies among house guests, and be sure nobody has a phobia of your particular species of ESA. Bringing your ESA anaconda or tarantula along to your relatives with no prior warning may not be the best idea!
Caring For Your ESA While Visiting Your Relatives
You should bring your own food for your ESA. You know what your animal’s dietary requirements are, and it is important that your ESA stays in good health. The last thing you need is your ESA dog binging on Christmas chocolate and then getting sick.
It’s also important to make sure your ESA gets enough exercise over the Christmas period. An energetic animal will need walking every single day, even Christmas Day. Also, ensure that your ESA has suitable, comfortable bedding, in an area with the appropriate temperature, as well as a supply of water and a place to go to the toilet.
(You might also want to remind Santa to bring a little something for your ESA. A nice juicy bone or a squeaky toy will make your ESA’s Christmas Day extra special!)
Allow Yourself As Much Alone Time With Your ESA As You Need
Remember, the reason you are bringing your ESA to your relatives’ is that you love your animal and you need its company. Your ESA improves your mental health in a real way. Christmas with relatives can be a stressful experience, so be sure that you allow yourself all the alone time with your ESA that you need. Put yourself first; don’t be a people-pleaser. If you need time alone with your ESA, just politely excuse yourself. Your family will understand.
What If You Are Staying In An Airbnb With Your ESA?
If you are visiting relatives but not actually staying in their home, an Airbnb can be an ideal sleeping option. It is important that you know your rights when staying in an Airbnb with your ESA.
Airbnb does not require that you let your host know in advance that you will be bringing along your ESA; nor are you required to show your host documentation. However, it’s always a good move to let your host know that you are traveling with an ESA.
Taking your ESA to visit relatives for Christmas can be a special experience that you, your ESA and your relatives will enjoy. But it is essential that you do it right. Plan ahead and make sure suitable arrangements are in place. This way everyone involved can have a relaxing, hassle-free and merry Christmas.