Tips For Traveling Safely with Pets During the Holidays - PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

Tips For Traveling Safely with Pets During the Holidays

by MetLife Pet Insurance
4 years ago

The holiday season is a fun opportunity to take a family vacation or even just a weekend getaway.  However, leaving your best four-legged friend at home or in boarding can add unneeded stress to your travel plans.  

The good news is with a bit of thoughtful planning beforehand, you and your furry family members can enjoy safe travels this holiday season.  

1. Get the all clear from your vet

If your pet hasn’t been traveling in a while, make sure to discuss the trip with your vet.  He or she should ensure your furry friend is in good health prior to traveling.

This is a perfect time to make sure your pet is up-to-date on all shots.  Remember to get copies of any vaccination and health records you will need if you will be flying. It’s a good idea to keep these in a safe, dry place, and carry them with you.

2. Driving

If you are traveling by car, a little planning and the right travel gear can make a world of difference.  If you will be traveling with a pet who’s not accustomed to car rides, begin getting him acclimated to the car before your trip.

Start by simply sitting in the car with your dog or cat. Then take him for brief rides, gradually increasing the length of the rides as your pet grows more comfortable.

Reward your pet with a treat at the end of each trip.

Crate – A crate is a good way to keep your dog secure in the car while also minimizing driver distraction.  A standard, metal crate is great if it fits. If not, a plastic travel crate works well. Both can be purchased at most pet supply stores.  

A crate should allow enough space for your dog to stand up, lie down, and turn around.  Make sure the crate offers plenty of ventilation. You can put soft padding on the bottom and add your dog’s bed for comfort.

Harness – A harness is another way to keep your dog safe, both in the car and on daily outings.  Your harness should:

  • Have an attachment that clips into the seat belt to restrain your dog in the car.
  • Easily attach to your dog’s leash for comfortable walks.
  • Fit snugly without restricting or chafing your dog’s neck or chest.

You can check out 2018’s top harnesses for car travel, all of which have been crash-test certified by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS).

Travel water dishes – are an easy way to keep your pet hydrated during the drive.  Consider a splash-free water dish or a no-spill pet bowl like this one.

3. Flying

Rules differ by airline so make arrangements and know the rules regarding pet travel for your air carrier.  Some airlines allow small breeds to fly in a proper pet carry-on bag provided it can fit under the seat.  Other airlines only allow pets to travel in the cargo area.

For the individual policies of each airline, see BringFido Airline Pet Policies.

4. Plan ahead

Before leaving home, research the closest veterinary hospitals in the area of your destination.  Hopefully, you won’t need them, but the unlikely event you do, you will be thankful for the information.

To find a listing of Veterinarians & Pet Emergency Hospitals in the United States, contact:

This is a good time to double check with your microchip company and make sure your information is up-to-date.  

Add your cell phone number to your microchip contact information and your pet’s tags if it isn’t there already.  This will ensure you are reachable should your pet get lost while away from home.

5. Bring what you need

Remember, traveling is stressful on your pet too.  He or she will be most comfortable if you maintain his usual diet and surround him with some of his creature comforts.

Items to bring for your pet:

  • His usual food, as switching pet food can cause dietary distress
  • Dog/Cat treats
  • Fido (or Fiona’s) usual doggie or kitty bed
  • A few favorite toys
  • Sufficient supply of all of your pet’s medications for the duration of the trip (plus a few days’ extra to be safe)
  • Food and water dishes
  • Collar, leash, and harness
  • Baby wipes and extra towels

Items to bring for peace of mind:

  • Your local veterinarian’s contact information
  • List of Veterinarians and 24-hour Emergency Hospitals along your route and near your destination
  • Pet Poison Control
  • Current color photo of your pet
  • A flashlight for night time dog walks
  • Cat litter and litterbox
  • Pet health records and proof of vaccinations

PetFirst Pet Insurance is ready to go with you wherever your travels may take you. Make sure your pet is covered for any illnesses and accidents that might occur – get a quote today. Wishing you and your pets pawfectly safe travels this holiday season!

Guest Blogger: Lauren Lee

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