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The Best Ways To Travel with Your Pets During The Holidays

Published on: December 1, 2017  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

The Best Ways To Travel with Your Pets During The Holidays http://www.starwoodanimaltransport.com/blog/best-ways-to-travel-with-pets-during-holidays

Holiday travel is a tradition, isn’t it? This is the season of get-togethers, from informal afternoon teas with fancy decorated cookies to lavish open houses and dinners. And, of course, many of us take mini-vacations to travel farther and spend more time with friends and loved ones. Since this is also the season of sharing, it’s only natural that you want to bring your pets along for the trip. 

If you’re headed over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house – or visiting friends on the other side of town – traveling by car makes the most sense. If you’re making a coast-to-coast journey or plan on spending the holidays with friends that just moved overseas, air travel is in your future. 

No matter your mode of conveyance, with multiple pets, you’ll want to check out our article on helping them travel well together. 

Look at your trip from your pets’ perspective

Not to cast aspersions on your furry beloved, but some pets are happier – and healthier -- staying home. Elderly, chronically ill, and poorly socialized dogs and cats are all good examples. They may be fine at home, but put them into strange surroundings, with people, sounds, smells, and other animals, and it’s simply too much. 

It’s smart to check in with your vet before traveling with your animals, especially if this is a first-time experience for either you or your pets. This gives you a chance to ask about details such as:

  • Making sure vaccinations are all up to date.
  • Renewing any medications your pet requires, to ensure you have an adequate supply for your trip. (If you’re flying outside the country, you’ll need several health documents for your pets, so visiting your vet well in advance of your trip is essential.)
  • Lightly calming options you can use to help a nervous pet feel less anxious en route. Note that if your pet is flying, tranquilizers are forbidden. Vets recommend against it, and airlines and pet transport professionals such as Starwood will not accept sedated pets. A woozy dog or cat is at greater risk than one in full control of his mind and balance. Nonetheless, for auto trips, a Thundershirt or aromatherapy alternative may be a big help to keep your pet calm. 

And speaking of vets, be sure your regular veterinarian’s number is stashed in your phone. Also, identify where the nearest animal emergency clinic will be to your destination. Should something happen, time is precious. 

That brings up the importance of double-checking your pets’ ID tags. Are they still there? Do they include your cell number? Your home number won’t help if you aren’t there. Every dog and cat should have a microchip, too. That’s something else that’s required for air travel – and if you’re headed overseas, you’ll want to register your pets’ microchips with Global Pet Registry as well as your home-based service. 

Practice makes purrfect

If this is your pet’s first travel experience (other than those dreaded vet visits), introduce them to their crates as soon as you can. The key to pet comfort is familiarization. Once they see that kennel as their home away from home, they’ll be well on their way to becoming a confident traveler. And if you’re taking a road trip, introduce that concept, too, by taking progressively longer drives with your pets crated up. By the time you hit the road for real, there won’t be any surprises. 

Use restraint(s)

Pets can be badly injured or killed in accidents, just like people, so they also need in-car restraints. Dogs under about 15 pounds and cats should ride in their carrier, secured with a seatbelt. For larger dogs, a variety of harnesses are available, but do your research because they are not all the same, in safety or ease of use. 

Bone up on the details of good holiday petiquette

Wherever you’re going, you and your four-legged companions will be welcome guests during your visit if you’re well-prepared. One thing that will secure your place in your host’s heart is a special gift – something especially for pet lovers. 

Never leave home without your camera

How can you document this momentous experience without taking plenty of photos? You know your friends and family expect a day-by-day (or hour-by-hour) account of your progress and activities along the way. And once you get home, you’ll be able to relive the fun you had traveling with your pets during the holidays.

Flying with your pet