For many of us, the holidays often include traveling. Some of us will fly, while others will take long road trips in a car or on a bus. Some pet owners leave their pets at a boarding facility or with a sitter, but some pet parents choose to take their pets with them on their travels.

Traveling with pets is often easier said than done. If your holiday travel plans include taking your pet along for the ride, check out our tips for safely traveling with your pet!

General Pet Travel Tips

  • First, it’s important to make sure your dog or cat is comfortable with travel. If it isn’t a good option for your pet, you should consider leaving your pet at home with a sitter or bringing them to a boarding facility.
  • Depending on where your travels take you, you may need a health certificate signed by a veterinarian and other documentation for your pet. This is usually required when taking your pet across state or international borders.
  • Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification tags. You might want to consider microchipping your pet to increase the chances of being reunited with your pet if it becomes lost.
  • Make sure your pet is welcome where you plan on staying. Find pet-friendly hotels or campgrounds, or stay with friends or family if they are comfortable with it!
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of food, water, and medicine for the trip. Taking extra is a good idea, in case of travel delays or bad weather.
  • You should also bring first aid supplies and your pet’s medical records.
  • I think we can all agree that the holidays can be stressful. Bringing a blanket, toys, and other familiar items from home can help make your pet comfortable in unusual surroundings.

Tips for Traveling by Air

Airlines have a lot of regulations for pets, so it’s best to plan in advance if you’re traveling by air with your pet. You’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with your airline’s pet travel policies and regulations.

Many animal rights organizations caution about the dangers of air travel, especially in baggage compartments. If you have the option of traveling by car, it is probably easier and safer. If it’s necessary to travel by air with your pet, here are some tips for a smooth experience for you both!

  • Check the airline for all of its restrictions for flying with pets. Many airlines have restrictions on breed and size.
  • Flights have quotas on how many animals can travel in the cabin, so it’s best to book your flight a month or two in advance.
  • Buy an airline-approved carrier and get your pet comfortable with the carrier before the trip.
  • Most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel.
  • Talk with your veterinarian and make sure your pet is healthy enough to fly.
  • Exercising your pet at the airport can help increase the chances that it will sleep during the flight.

Tips for Traveling by Car

  • It’s important to make sure your pet is comfortable riding in the car. If your pet doesn’t ride in the car often, you can start out by taking a few small trips and gradually lengthening the car ride.
  • Plan to make frequent stops so your pet can go to the bathroom and get exercise. The break will be good for you too!
  • Properly restraining your pet in the car is a must. A free-roaming pet might interfere with your driving or get injured. Small pets can be put in a crate, while larger pets should be restrained with a harness.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car. The temperature in cars can reach dangerous levels very quickly.

By planning ahead and following a few guidelines, you can help ensure a safe trip for you and your pet. We hope you have a great holiday season with your furry friends!