You haven’t seen family in months and can’t wait to travel to spend the holidays with them. There is only one small problem. What should you do with your dog or cat when you travel? You never want to leave a pet home alone for more than several hours, and your furry friend let you know exactly what she thought of staying in a boarding facility the last time you traveled. Can she really join you in the car or on a plane this holiday season?
First Make Sure That Your Pet is Healthy Enough to Travel
If you have a puppy, kitten, or senior pet, traveling may be too stressful for both of you. We recommend that you schedule an appointment with your dog or cat’s regular veterinarian to see if the vet agrees that it’s okay for your four-legged friend to travel with you. It is also a good idea to look for alternative care arrangements for pregnant, sick, or injured animals.
From a behavioral standpoint, consider whether your pet likes traveling in the car. Even if he does, traveling by airplane is a whole different scenario and can be extremely frightening for some pets. Dogs and cats with an anxious attachment to their human family members may have an especially rough time flying alone in cargo hold. You know your pet best, including what he can and cannot tolerate.
Prepare to Travel with Your Pet Several Days in Advance
Should you plan to travel by car and stay at a hotel, you will need to check your accommodations first to see if dogs or cats are welcome. Some hotels and motels are happy to welcome pets who arrive with their human families but may charge a pet deposit or a higher fee each night you have the hotel room.
We also recommend looking up the area where you are staying online and jot down the name of an emergency veterinarian should you need it while traveling. While we certainly hope nothing goes wrong with your dog or cat, knowing who to contact in an emergency will make it less stressful for everyone involved.
Be Sure to Keep Your Pet Warm While Traveling
If you plan to travel by car and place your pet in her personal carrier, consider adding an extra blanket and keeping a sweater on your dog or cat as well. You will want to ask about the temperature of the cargo hold where your pet will stay in an airplane if you are getting to your destination that way. If you do put clothing on your pet, make sure it is loose enough for her to move around comfortably while preventing most of her body heat from escaping.
Be sure to place a seatbelt around your pet’s carrier in the car and require him to stay in it. The last thing you need is for your dog or cat to be walking around in the car distracting you while you are trying to drive a long distance.
Don’t forget to bring mittens or shoes for your pet to keep feet warm when stopping for a break every few hours. Regardless of how you arrive or the type of pet you travel with, it’s always an adventure when your furry friend is a road trip companion. If you are traveling in our area and you do have a pet emergency, don’t hesitate to bring your pet to us. (Please note that CVETS does not offer routine vet care.)