It’s that time of year again. Before we know it, we’ll be booking holiday flights and/or mapping routes for road trips. It is important to include your pets in your holiday travel arrangements, and not wait until the last minute to plan for their care. If you’re leaving your pet at home, you should consider if you’d rather board your pet or have someone care for him in your home. However, if you’ve chosen to take your pet with you, this checklist may come in handy to make sure you are adequately prepared for traveling this holiday season.
Visit your veterinarian before a trip.
Make sure you let your vet know about your travel plans, particularly your trip’s destination. Your vet can inform you of any vaccines your pet will require or health certificates you will need handy if crossing state lines or traveling by plane.
Enroll with pet insurance.
Traveling with your pet opens up the opportunity for an unexpected accident or illness to occur. Consider enrolling your pet with pet insurance a few weeks before you travel to ensure you're protected wherever your trip may take you. Remember, PetPartners pet insurance can be used at any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada!
Pack plenty of food and water.
Make sure you have enough food for your trip and then a little extra in case your trip stretches longer than you anticipated. You may not be able to find your pet’s particular brand of food when away from home. Changing food abruptly can lead to diarrhea--something you do not want to have to deal with on the road! Also, make sure water is readily accessible, and that you stop often enough for him to rehydrate.
Plan regular breaks.
Just as you need a bathroom break and opportunity to stretch your legs, so does your pet! Plan to let him out of the car to run around, go potty, and get some fresh air. If you’re traveling by plane, determine where pet-friendly bathrooms are located in the airport so your pup can have a potty break during your trip.
Take your pet on a practice run for road trips.
If your dog hasn’t been on many long car rides, do a practice run. Your dog is probably used to going on quick trips to the store or to run the carpool, but he may not be accustomed to longer rides. Do a mock road trip with your pet, letting him sit where he will sit on the long trip, and stopping to stretch and have potty breaks. This is the time to work out the kinks so your actual trip can go off without a hitch.
Use a restraint in the car.
Speaking of riding in the car on long trips, make sure your pet is properly restrained in your car all the time, but especially on road trips. For a cat or small dog, a carrier or crate is probably your best bet. Larger dogs may prefer to have more freedom, but should still be restrained. Try Mighty Paw’s Car Harness. The harness doubles as a collar for walks which can come in handy when everyone is jumping out at a rest stop for a bathroom break.
Be prepared to fly with your pet.
Give the airline a call to ask whether your pet can ride in the cabin or if he will need to ride in the cargo hold with the baggage. There are weight limits for riding in the cabin and most airlines place a limit on the number of pets that can ride in the cabin on a particular flight. If your pet must ride in the cargo hold, book a nonstop flight and take temperatures into account. During the winter months, your pet will be more comfortable during the day when it is warmer. Also remember that certain short-nosed dogs may have trouble breathing well during a flight and it is often best not to fly with these breeds.
Always make sure your pet has ID.
Now is the time to make sure your pet’s tags are up to date with your current phone number, and to microchip your pet if you have not already done so. If your pet gets away from you when you are traveling, you want to be sure you can be reunited. PetPartners can offset the cost of microchipping with their Defender and Defender Plus Coverage.
Enjoy the trip with your pet!
Most importantly, have fun with your pet on your travels! Make your trip an adventure. Traveling with your pet is a great time to make memories and to expose him to new sights and smells!