Heading out for the holidays with Fido or Fluffy in tow? Bringing your pet with you can be a great alternative to boarding or housesitting, as long as you plan ahead and make sure you are prepared with pet-friendly accommodations. There’s few things worse than showing up at Grandma’s, dog in tow, only to have her stare in horror at your dog and say, “I didn’t know you were brining HIM,” while pointedly stroking her Persian cat and glaring at you.
Assuming you know what you’re going to do when you get to your destination, there’s a few things you can do in advance to make sure the trip itself also goes as smoothly as possible. Perhaps the only thing worse than the scenario I described above is showing up to Grandma’s like I described with a motion sick dog covered in vomit.
1. Stay secure.
Small pets should be in crates or carriers that can be secured with a seatbelt. Large dogs should be secured with a harness. Not only does this prevent the pet from getting underfoot, it keeps them from becoming a projectile during an accident. More pets are killed after car accidents when they start running around on the road than die during the actual traffic incident.
Manufacturers are starting to listen to consumer demand for safety-tested harnesses after some independent testing showed that many dog seat belts don’t hold under the impact of a collision. Kurgo’s enhanced strength Tru-Fit Harness is an example of the newer, stronger safety harnesses.
2. Have paperwork in order.
If you’re flying, you will likely need a health certificate signed by your veterinarian. Check with your airline to see what their requirements are. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten panicked calls from owners at the airport wanting us to fax a health certificate over to the United counter- and it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Even if you’re driving, a copy of your pet’s vaccination history is a good idea.
3. Know your needs ahead of time.
Have a hyperthyroid cat? Flea allergic dog? Get those medications ordered and socked away before the day you need to leave. If you know your pet has travel related issues such as anxiety or motion sickness, schedule an appointment a week before you leave with the vet. We’re got ways to help.
4. Try to maintain a routine.
If your pet is used to an 8 am and a 5 pm feeding, do everything you can to stay close to that. The more that is consistent, the less stress they will feel. Exercise is also a great way to help alleviate travel anxiety. Tagg the Pet Tracker has an Activity Tracking feature that will allow you to monitor your pet’s daily activity so you can see if you are maintaining the level of exercise to which your pet is accustomed, or if you need to add a few minutes to that afternoon walk.
With a little planning and flexibility, there’s no reason your pets can’t enjoy a safe and happy holiday right alongside you, no matter where you end up. Got a travel tip I missed? Share them below!