With the approach of the holiday season, you may be considering traveling with your pet to see friends and family.
During the holidays we want to be near those who matter most to us, and that often includes our pets.
However, travel with a pet can be a struggle for both us and our fuzzy friends. Before the holidays get started, here are some tips, tricks, etiquette, and gear to make traveling with your pup easy on both of you this season.
As much as we love our pets, it can be hard to remember that others may not feel the same. Whether it’s due to allergies, fear or lack of space, there are reasons you might not be able to bring your pet along with you.
If you’re staying in a hotel or Airbnb, make sure to review the guidelines to make sure your pet is allowed. If the website doesn’t state the policy outright, be sure to ask. The last thing you want is to get all the way there, only to find that your dog is not allowed to stay.
Likewise, if you’re staying with family, ask to bring your pet. This is a nice gesture even if you bring your pet every year. Circumstances may have changed – like the arrival of a new baby in the family or an increase in the number of people expected. That may mean that your dog won’t make the cut.
Always remember to clear your travel plans with your vet. This is especially true if it’s your pet’s first time traveling. You can never quite predict their reactions to new situations, and your vet might be able to offer some insight (or medication) that would make the travel much less stressful on your dog.
Take a lot of breaks! Though it depends on the size and age of your dog, it’s generally a good idea to stop every couple of hours to let your pet stretch their legs, get a snack, go to the bathroom, and drink some water.
Factor these snack stops into your travel time too.
If you’re traveling on an airline, make sure your dog will fit. Frequently the regulations are that your dog must fit under your seat, and the airline often gives a weight limit to explain that size. Don’t try to be dishonest about your dog’s weight to get it onto the flight. They will just wind up being uncomfortable, or you could be denied passage when you try to board the flight.
Check with your specific airline on their guidelines, or, check for train or bus tickets to your destination instead!
What you pack greatly depends on your individual dog and where you are going. One constant, though, is a water dish, water, and enough dog food to last the trip.
With all the change that’s going to be happening with travel, your pet will likely appreciate receiving their usual food instead of an unfamiliar brand you picked up at the gas station when you realized you forgot to pack it!
If you have a smaller dog, a carrying crate might be useful. Especially if you’re traveling on an airline.
In fact, certain airlines mandate it. Check with your airline for guidelines on what you might need to bring.
A common piece of gear when traveling in the car is a seat belt harness for dogs. However, all are not created equally, and some may actually be dangerous. Be sure to do your research and to get the right size for your dog.
If you decide to travel for the holidays with your pup, be safe and have a happy holiday season!