How to Travel with Your Pets for the Holidays
Holidays are a time of year we like to come together with those that we love most, and that includes our furry family! More often, pet parents are opting to bring their pets with them to holiday celebrations. We now see an ever-increasing amount of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and leisure spaces making it easier to travel with your pet. But before setting out to make more holiday memories with your four-legged friends in tow, be sure you’ve properly prepared so that travel is as easy and stress-free as possible for both you and your best friend.
Pre-Travel Pet Planning
Before you set off on your pet-friendly holiday destination, there are a few things you should do to ensure a safe and easy trip.
- Consult with your veterinarian to confirm that your pet(s) are up-to-date on all vaccinations. Also, be sure to discuss your upcoming trip with your vet and ask if they have any concerns or advice. They also may prescribe motion sickness or other medications they think you may need to make the trip as pleasant as possible.
- Research and create a list of the emergency veterinary clinics in each of your locations in case of an emergency.
- Download pet-friendly travel apps. They can give you recommendations for accommodations, walking trails, veterinarians, and more making the trip as stress-free as possible for you and your pet.
Pet Packing List
After you finish packing your bag, be sure to pack your pet’s. Include the following (as applicable):
- Pet food (you can always buy some along your journey, but bringing along a few meals is a good way to keep your pet’s tummy settled during the throes of travel).
- Food and water bowls
- Your pet’s favorite familiar objects like beds, blankets, and toys
- Leads and leashes (always have at least one extra)
- Cat box and litter
- Dog waste bags
- A copy of vaccination records
Whether you travel via plane or car, you’ll need the appropriate way to bring your pet along. Regardless of how you travel or what type of pet you have, be sure to feed your pet at least 3 to 4 hours before you depart to reduce the chance of an upset stomach and/or vomiting.
Feline friends should be transported in a comfortable carrier or crate. It needs to be large enough for your cat to stand and turn around. If you are flying to your destination, the cat carrier will need to also be able to fit beneath the seat in front of you on the plane. If you are driving, secure the carrier or crate with a seatbelt in the rear of the vehicle.
Depending on the size of the dog, airline policies vary. Confirm policies in advance with all airlines you are traveling on and plan accordingly. If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to make sure additional paperwork is completed in advance as most international locales require extra documentation for pet entry. Aside from the on-plane portion of air travel, be sure to have an extra leash and collar and dog waste bags easily accessible. Plot out all of the Pet Relief Facilities in each airport and plan pre- and post-boarding visits into your itinerary.
In the car, dogs should be contained in a crate, carrier, or by a pet harness. As much as you may want to give your dog a free run of the car, it is unsafe for everyone, including them. Be sure to buckle them in so they are comfortable but still secure in the back seat.
Another word about car travel…
Stop every two hours to give your dog a short walk and potty break on a leash. This gives them a moment for a healthy physical stretch and an opportunity to explore, which gives them a nice mental stretch as well.
Keep Calm and Enjoy Your Holiday
In conclusion, the very best thing you can do for your pet while on your holiday vacation is to stay calm and keep things as normal as possible for your pet. While you may be excited to see your family, your pet may be less enthused or overwhelmed with the amount of changes. Try to feed, walk, and play with your pets on their normal schedule.