Travel is expected to be way down this holiday season as people choose to stay home among a spike in COVID-19 cases across the United States. Despite a major decline in travel, some of us will still be hitting the roads and even the airways. No matter what way you are traveling this holiday season, if your plans include bringing along a furry friend, there are some important things to keep in mind to ensure that your travels with your cat and dog are as stress free as possible!
The most important step to take when traveling with your pet is to plan, plan, plan, and do so well in advance! This is especially true if your travel plans include flying and/or hotel reservations.
Although many more airlines and hotels accept pets these days, there are numerous restrictions and regulations and they vary greatly. A hotel listing may say ‘Pets Welcome’ but when you go to check in, you find out it's only dogs under 20lbs that are welcome, and you’re pretty sure your German Shepherd weighs a bit more than that!
To avoid major stress for both you and your pet when traveling, we highly recommend that you do your homework in advance!
An excellent resource for pet-friendly accommodations and travel is www.petswelcome.com. There you’ll find hundreds of pet-friendly hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and even vacation rentals throughout the USA and Canada. They even have a trip planner where you can enter your route or destination and create an itinerary based on the locations of pet-friendly properties along the way, including cafes, parks, and beaches.
When making airline or lodging reservations, never rely on online booking, always call and speak to someone. Ask them to specify their pet policies in detail, ask plenty of questions, and only make your reservations when you are 100% sure you understand the policy thoroughly.
The following tips will help you learn how to travel with a cat or a dog during the holidays and all year round.
Driving With Pets
Planning a road trip this holiday? Whether you are driving a long distance or just down the road there are several ways you can prepare for a safe and easy trip with your pet.
If you are driving with a dog without a crate always keep them in the back seat. Traveling cats should always be kept in a carrier, with the carrier secured by a seatbelt.
Be sure to bring your pet’s medical records and ID tags, and especially make sure they are wearing ID in the car. Sadly, there are many incidents of pets getting loose after an automobile accident.
Plan for frequent or as needed bathroom breaks.
Bring a water bowl and plenty of freshwater to keep your pup and kitty hydrated.
Never leave your pet in the car unattended for more than a few minutes. Obviously, a pet should never, under any circumstances be left unattended in a car in warm weather, but be aware that cold weather can be extremely dangerous too.
Flying With Pets
The Department of Transportation has confirmed that many dogs have been lost, injured, or have died during flights. All of the top animal organizations in the United States agree that putting animals in the cargo area is extremely dangerous. The Humane Society, the ASPCA, and PETA all strongly advise against air travel with a pet unless they are small enough to fit under your seat.
Unable to travel with your pet in the main cabin? It does not mean your only option is to put them in the cargo area. Luckily, there are pet shipping agencies available. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association https://www.ipata.org/ is an online resource connecting people with professional pet shippers around the world.
Packing For Travel
Whether traveling by car or by plane, staying in a hotel or with relatives, being in a new place, around new people, and higher than normal activity can be a very stressful situation for our pets, so packing the necessities is important!
Pack your pet’s regular food, leash, and collar.
Remember to bring any medications they are taking.
Bring 2 ID Tags, your regular one, and one with the information about where you will be staying. (I always make a DYI tag, see directions below)
If your pet is microchipped, prior to travel is a great time to make sure their info is up to date.
Don’t forget your pet’s bedding and toys, along with any items that feel and smell like home!
Pack some basic first aid supplies and products that can help if your pet begins to feel under the weather, more on this below!
A Little Extra Help
While familiar items from home help, no matter how much we try to make our pets comfortable and happy during times of travel, they still may experience stress and anxiety.
Under the Weather has several products that are ideal for just such situations!
Digestive upset is also common when our pets feel stressed. And let’s face it, dealing with a pet that is vomiting or is experiencing diarrhea at home is bad enough, but dealing with it while traveling is a whole other level of aggravation!
Under the Weather’s Bland Diets provide a quick, healthy, all-natural meal that is ready in minutes by simply adding boiling water, making them super easy to use when traveling.
And when you need a little extra boost, our Ready Balance Gel is highly effective at firming stool and quickly restoring digestive balance.
Bundle and Save! Although all of these products are sold separately, Under the Weather also offers a “Bundle and Save” option with our Travel Bundle for Dogs!
RELATED: DOES TRAVEL MAKE YOUR DOG QUEASY?
A Few Additional Tips
Many of us will be staying with relatives over the holiday, perhaps in an unfamiliar town and/or an unfamiliar house. Your pets may feel some anxiety around their new surroundings and some may be overwhelmed by the activity of a busy house with many people.
It’s extremely important to always be aware of their stress level. A dog for instance, that is not familiar with kids, should be monitored very closely or kept separated from them entirely.
If possible, bring your pet’s bed or crate and place them in a quiet area where your pet can retreat to if needed.
Keep a very close eye on your pets as people are coming and going. Hundreds of pets go missing over the holidays, and sadly, more than 80% of unidentified pets who are lost are never reunited with their owners. That’s a frightening but real statistic, and being vigilant about keeping your pet safe is always important, but even more so over the holidays.
Be prepared for emergencies by locating the closest vet or emergency services, putting their contact info in your phone, and familiarizing yourself with the route you would take to get there.
We all know the holidays can be hectic, and sometimes stressful for both humans and pets alike! But with some proper planning and preparedness, you can enjoy a happy and healthy holiday with all the important people and pets in your life!