8 Tips for Safe and Stress-Free Holiday Travel with Your Pet

18 Nov 8 Tips for Safe and Stress-Free Holiday Travel with Your Pet

The Holiday season can be a stressful and hectic time of year for families – and often their pets. When people travel to visit family over the Holidays, they often want to take their dog or cat, but there are some steps that can make or break a trip with animals. Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association offers some tips to keep your family’s pets happy and healthy when traveling.

  • Be sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. A quick wellness check-up from your veterinarian is advisable, especially if your pet gets car sick or has anxiety issues that may require medication to keep them comfortable on your trip.
  • Have the proper paperwork. If you’re traveling out of state, you will need a health certificate and proof of vaccinations. Be sure that your pet is wearing his or her ID and that information associated with their microchip is up-to-date. In addition to the health certificate, most airlines now require a ‘letter of acclimation’ from your vet stating that your pet can travel at certain temperatures during the winter.
  • Plan ahead. If you’re driving, allow extra time for potty breaks. Be sure to check pet policies (and fees) of airlines, rental car agencies and hotels.
  • Travel on less busy days or times. When flying, this will mean shorter security lines and smaller crowds; when driving, this means less congested highways and easier ability to stop for potty breaks when needed.
  • Acclimate your pet to travel. When driving, your pet should ride in a crate or restrained in the back seat for their own safety and yours. When flying, they are required to be crated. Don’t wait until the day of travel to make sure your pet is comfortable being contained.
  • Pack for your pet. Be sure to bring enough food, the litter your cat is used to, even a familiar pet bed and favorite toy, if possible. If your pet is on medication, pack enough for the trip plus a few extra days just in case you are delayed.
  • Keep your regular routine as much as possible, including meal times and regular walks.
  • Be aware. Holiday meal leftovers can cause stomach upset, chocolates and sweeteners like Xylitol are toxic to dogs, and tinsel and other Holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Monitor their wellbeing throughout your visit just as you would if you were at home.