What is a holiday when you can’t take every member of the family, and that includes your pets? Many people feel as though their dog or cat is a major part of their family and couldn’t bear leaving them at home or in a kennel for an extended period of time. The truth is that not every pet can handle long-distance travel, so be sure to thoughtfully consider whether your pet’s overall temperament and/or any physical conditions or illnesses they have may create an overly stressful travel experience for both them and you.
Here is a simple list of things you need to remember to do if you are traveling with a pet:
- Puppies, kittens and senior pets need a visit to the vet to be sure they are fit to travel.
- Bring your pet’s health records along. These could come in handy in an emergency.
- Get your pet acclimated to its crate or carrier months ahead of travel time.
- If flying, book the flight on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, as these are lighter travel days.
- Know your airline’s pet policy and don’t try to get around it. You may have to eat the price of your ticket when you are not allowed to board.
- Bring a harness or crate to assure your dog or cat is safe in the car. Use pet pads for accidents.
- Feed your pet lightly the day of travel and no sooner than 4 hours ahead of time. Keep them hydrated during the trip.
- Never leave them unattended, either in the car or at the airport.
- Leave early and take your time. When in the car, stop frequently for walks. When heading to the airport, get to the ticket counter early in case the check-in lines are long.
- If you are traveling internationally, know your destination country’s pet import rules.
- Bring supplies – leashes, treats, pick-up bags, medicines, dog or cat food.
- Contact a pet-friendly hotel should you need one and talk to them about their pet policies.
- Bring pet towels for easy cleanup.
If you follow these steps and make sure you have everything you and your dog needs, you can both have a safe, comfortable, enjoyable trip and holiday.