The holidays are upon us! This year’s celebrations might look a little different than usual, but we’ve got you covered with tips for a safe (and even relaxing!) journey should you and your pooch hit the road.
No matter what your mode of transportation, the single best practice to keep your dog safe is to confine them in a kennel, carrier, or on leash if out and about. Carry recent photos of your dog to help identify them in case they get lost and make sure they wear a highly visible and durable pet ID tag listing your personal contact information.
If you dog is predisposed to anxiety or motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about appropriate medicines or natural sedatives for your chosen mode of transportation. Feed your pet their usual meal one to two hours before travel (two to four hours before if they are prone to motion sickness), and bring along familiar toys, chew items, or a favorite blanket for comfort.
Cars and Trucks
Your dog should be restrained for a car journey of any length – an unrestrained dog can become a flying projectile during a sudden stop, and road debris can cause serious injury if your dog rides with its head out the window. Secure your dog in the back seat and use a pet travel safety harness, car seat, or a carrier fastened by a seatbelt. Use a crate or carrier properly secured to the truck bed if traveling by pickup.
Exercise helps relieve stress, so schedule some time before you leave and after you arrive at your destination. Take breaks for potty and play along the way (about every four hours) and be sure to use a leash. Last, be mindful of temperature – extreme hot or cold in a car is just as harmful for dogs as it is for humans.
Planes and Trains
Buy an airline- or train line-approved carrier. Your dog will need one whether they join you in the cabin or travel in the cargo hold. Check the airline or train line website for requirements. Carriers may also require health or immunization records or other information.
Use direct flights to avoid mix-ups during transfers or possible delays in getting your pet off the plane. Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded into the cargo hold.
Open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place at your destination, then clip a leash on your dog so you can safely examine them. See a veterinarian immediately if you notice anything wrong.
Not every hotel is pet-friendly, so be sure to research pro-pet chains in advance – Best Western, DoubleTree, Choice Hotels, Marriott, Four Seasons, and more allow dogs. There may be charges, extra fees, or deposits if your pup will be joining you for a stay.
Combining the holidays and travel can seem like the perfect recipe for stress, but a relaxing trip is obtainable for you and your furry companion. A little planning and some basic precautions can keep everyone calm and safe, wherever the holiday season takes you!