With the holiday season right around the corner, many families are planning to visit their families and that, of course, means their four-legged family members, too. To ensure safe travels for everyone it’s important to take heed of a very real pet travel safety issue — pets and distracted driving.

When we think of distracted driving, typical "culprits" come to mind including: texting, eating, applying makeup, chatting on the phone, or even daydreaming. Seldom considered is the fact that traveling with an unsecured pet is a very real and dangerous distraction.

When holiday season travel means leaving your pet at home, finding the right caretaker is an important decision. Having a family member or friend watch your loved one is typically the first choice, but when that is not possible, the alternatives seem to come down to either hiring a pet sitter or boarding. Both have their own advantages and special considerations.

The Petco Foundation, in partnership with Halo Purely for Pets, recently announced its Holiday Wishes grant campaign, designed to help animal welfare organizations save more lives at the holidays and year-round.

It was an early spring morning when I pulled into the parking lot. I started reading my book as a way to pass the nearly three hours before the shelter would open. Seven kittens were to be available that morning for adoption to the first comers. When the door opened I was ushered through double doors to a room in the back. As I approached the cage one tiny kitten stayed at the back while the others romped around. She sat perfectly still with unblinking eyes staring into space. I would find out later that this tiny kitten weighed 1 pound, 2 ounces.

Few situations are more traumatic and stressful for pets than being given up by their families, whatever the reason. While FAAS is always willing and able to properly shelter and care for animals needing new homes, bringing your pet to us as a first step is not always the best solution.

If you feel you need to re-home your pet, please consider the choice carefully and follow a few guidelines to ensure the best outcome: