Many people will be traveling to visit family and friends for the holidays. More than half of these people will be taking their pets along with them!
However, traveling with your cat or dog will take some planning ahead of time in order to make sure that the travelling part of your trip is as fun and stress free as possible, for both you and your pet!
*If you are traveling by car and your pet is not used to being in the car, you should take him or her for short car rides around the block, to a store or a park, increasing the distance every time.
*Never allow your pet to roam around loose in your car. This is very dangerous as not only will it be a distraction for the driver, but your pet could also be seriously injured should you have an accident. Place your pet in the back seat in either a travel crate or carrier or, for big dogs, you can use a safety harness attached to your car's seatbelt system.
*If your pet is not used to a crate or a carrier, you will need to help them become accustomed to it prior to your trip. Start by leaving the door open and place your pet's favorite toy or blanket inside. This will lure your pet in to investigate and once satisfied that it is safe, they may even settle down for a nap.
*Most airlines have very strict rules regarding the size of pet's carrier in relation to the animal's height and weight. The carrier will have to be airline approved. Before booking your ticket, make sure that you check with the airlines first to find out about their regulations.
*To fly with you in the cabin, your pet and their carrier cannot exceed 22 pounds and should be 18 inches or less in length and 11 inches in height.
*Before leaving on any trip with your dog or cat, make sure that they are up-to-date on all their vaccinations and keep a current copy with you. You should also consider obtaining a current health certificate from your vet at least 7 to 10 days before the start of your trip.
*Your pet should also have current ID tags with your phone number, home address and your pet's name and/or breed. You should also consider attaching another tag that contains the address and phone number of your holiday destination.
*If your pet will be traveling in a soft sided carrier, never leave your pet unattended in the carrier, as they may panic. Always place a thick towel on the bottom of the carrier as well.
*If you are flying with your pet, give them a light meal at least 6 hours before departure and do not offer any water within two hours of the flight. It is a good idea to place a small bowl of frozen water inside your pet's carrier so that they will have some moisture to lick during the flight.
*Be sure to walk your dog before you leave home for the airport as well as right before you enter the terminal. Remember to pick up any waste that your pup leaves behind.
*If you are going to be travelling my car, allow your pet to relieve himself at least every two to three hours, especially if he is just a pup or is older.
*Bring plenty of clean water for your pet on your car trip. Different towns have different tasting water and your pet may not like the taste. Once you have arrived in your destination, you should slowly mix in your 'home' water in with the local water to allow your pet to get used to drinking the new water. Also, remember to pack plenty of your pet's favorite pet food, just in case you cannot find it at your destination.
Photo Credit: Daquella Manera