It’s hard to believe but the holiday season is officially here. A lot of people will be traveling by car to their destination, many with the family dog. While some pets enjoy riding in the family car, others find it stressful.
The American Humane Society has provided us with a great list of tips, whether traveling by car or air, to help minimize stress. Making this an enjoyable trip for both the two and four legged family members.
General Tips for Safe Travel With Pets:
Properly identify pets with ID tags and microchips — Make sure your pets have ID and current rabies tags and are microchipped. To be extra cautious, give your pet an extra tag with the address and phone number of where you will be staying for the duration of the trip, in case they get lost after you arrive.
Train pets to travel in their crates — Whether you’re heading to your holiday destination by plane, train or automobile, getting your pets used to their crates will make the entire traveling experience less stressful. Even when not at home, pets still view their crates as a safe haven from stressful situations.
With a crate, size does matter — Crates should be large enough for pets to stand and turn around in comfortably. Remember to keep water inside the crate or allow for breaks every 3 hours where your pet can drink and stretch. Stainless steel water containers that hook onto wire crates are easy to use and clean up well.
Never leave your pets unattended — Just as you would never leave a child unattended, never leave your pet alone in a car.
Bring their health records— Many of us can’t remember the last time we got a tetanus shot, let alone remember all the shots and medications our pets have had. Take your pet’s health records just in case he needs to see a veterinarian during your trip. Be sure to check with your veterinarian to see if they would recommend heartworm prevention or treatment for fleas or ticks for the area you are traveling.
To fly or not to fly — As a rule, puppies and kittens, sick animals, animals in heat, and frail or pregnant animals should not travel by air. Animals that are “pug-nosed,” like pugs, boxers and Persian cats, should not fly in the cargo area of a plane. You should also plan ahead because many airlines have restrictions regarding pets and because your pet may need a health certificate to fly.
Tranquilizing pets is not recommended — Sedatives are not encouraged when flying because it’s difficult to monitor the animal’s breathing, which can be impaired by the combination of sedatives and high altitude.
Boarding is an option — If your animal is too large to fly in the cabin with you, staying at a boarding kennel may be a safer choice. Or you could hire a licensed pet sitter to take care of your pet in the comfort of its own home.
Try to keep pets on the same “schedule” — Stop when you would normally let your animals out at home and at feeding times.
Plan lodging ahead — Research your route, make reservations and carry a list of pet-friendly lodging along the way. Also, ask for a room on the ground floor so it is easier to walk your pet. Don’t let your pet stay in the car.
Be prepared for emergencies or delays — Keep pet dishes in your car, as well as extra water and pet food, in case of car trouble or bad weather.
The American Humane Association wishes everybody safe and happy travels this holiday season. For more information about American Humane, go to www.americanhumane.org.
* The cutie above, Sophie Bean, is packed and ready for her holiday travel.