If you’re going on a long trip for the holidays, you might be thinking about bringing your dog or cat with you. After all, your pet is a member of the family, and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without your beloved companion by your side.
But traveling with a pet for an extended period of time requires lots of extra planning and preparation on your part. Of foremost concern is the animal’s comfort and safety as it traverses vast distances in the confines of an automobile or airplane — an ordeal that can cause stress, anxiety, and destructive behavior.
To reduce the risk of accident or injury and increase the chances of a successful journey together, try to follow these expert tips for traveling with pets.
- Secure the animal in a portable travel pet crate or safety harness instead of letting it roam freely
- Since pets are prone to motion sickness, do not feed your dog or cat for several hours prior to your departure time
- Provide plenty of water during the trip
- Take frequent exercise/potty breaks to allow your pet to get some fresh air, stretch its legs, and do its business
- Never leave cats or dogs alone in the car for lengthy periods, especially in extreme temperatures
- When possible, transport your pet in the cabin rather than the cargo hold
- Only book direct flights to limit overall travel time
- Always travel on the same flight as your pet
- Label your pet travel crate with your home address and phone number, as well as the contact information for your lodgings in the destination city
- Reduce anxiety by placing familiar objects in the crate, such as one of your T-shirts, a favorite toy, or a microwavable heating pet pad
- Make sure your pet’s shots are up to date, otherwise the airline might prohibit boarding