Travel Tips for You and Your Pets

The Holiday Season is upon us and Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner! Whether you’re a new pet owner or seasoned pet parent, here are some useful tips for traveling with (or without) your pets.

When traveling, preparation and training are key. You must take your pet in to the veterinarian for a medical checkup to make sure he is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and is healthy enough to travel. You should also be training your pet, from a young age, to become accustomed to traveling by car, plane, and crate.

Traveling by Plane

Whenever possible, book a direct flight to not only lessen total travel time but decrease stress for both you and your pet during your journey. You also won’t have to worry about your pet being left out on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or being mishandled by baggage personnel during layovers. If direct flights aren’t available, try booking your flight during non-peak times when there are less passengers and more cabin room.

It is also important to buy a USDA-approved shipping create. Your pet should be able to sit, stand, and turn around in the crate comfortably. Secure the crate door, but don’t lock it, so that any airplane personnel can open it in case of an emergency.

Always arrive early to both account for travel time and attending your pet’s needs. Tell any and all airline staff you are traveling with a pet so that they can take any necessary precautions. If your pet is traveling below the cabin, do not be afraid to at least ask staff if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded, if you are worried about possible mishandling.

Traveling by Car

The best thing you can do to prepare your pet for long car rides is taking them on many short rides prior to your road trip. These trips are essential as you find out important information such as whether or not your dog gets too anxious or car sick.

Securing your pet is a crucial component of car safety that is not taken seriously enough. Hundreds of pets get injured or killed every year from not being properly restrained when their owner is involved in a car accident. Additionally, pets that are given free reign in cars pose a very real danger to the driver, causing distractions that can lead to accidents.

Introduce your pet to pet seat belts, pet car seats, crates, and pet car barriers so that he is used to at least one of these restraints well before you embark on your trip.

Sometimes, our pets just aren’t travelers and if your pet cannot tolerate cars or planes, you should have one or two pet kennels, dog sitters, or friends as back up plans in case you must leave your pet behind.