Hooray! Holiday Season is here, and that means vacation time!
Where are you planning on spending your holiday? Sunning yourself on a beach in the tropics? Cozying up in a ski lodge between sessions on the slopes? Or perhaps you’re just going to visit the family.
Either way, if you’re a dog owner, you’re going to need to start planning ahead now to make sure your furry friend stays safe and comfortable during the trip. There’s nothing worse than a cranky, unhappy dog or cat during a car ride, or arriving at the airport with your pet only to be turned away because you didn’t follow the airline’s regulations.
Jacklynn and Zoe have had many travel adventures together, and they wanted to impart their wisdom to you so that you and your dog are able to make it to your travel destination safely together! Here are Zoe’s top five tips for traveling with your pet during the holiday
1. Get a Health Certificate From Your Vet (even on road trips!)
Before traveling with your dog, it’s a good idea to take him for a checkup, not only to make sure he’s healthy and safe to travel, but also because most airlines as well as state border officials will insist your pet has a health certificate before allowing you to board or cross state lines.
2. Make sure you have a proper travel carrier
When traveling with your dog by air, it’s important that you carry your pet in an airline approved carrier. This means that your crate must adhere to IATA (International Air Transport Association) guidelines, which you can find here. All of the travel carriers sold on our website conform to IATA standards, so if you need to pick up one for your pooch, you can check out our selection here.
Even if you’re traveling by car, it’s still a good idea to have a carrier. You might think that your dog will be more comfortable sitting in the backseat, but the truth is he’ll be safer and more secure in a carrier or crate, and less of a distraction to you as the driver.
3. Keep your pet calm during travel
Dogs can get restless and anxious when cooped up in a crate for long hour, so make sure you pack plenty of things to keep your little one feeling safe and comfortable – a stuffed toy, a blankie, a bone, whatever reminds them of home and seems familiar.
Some pet owners medicate their dogs – we don’t recommend this unless your dog has a major anxiety disorder, as it can create an unhealthy dependence on pills. If you can’t calm your dog with a soothing tone or his comfort toys, homeopathic alternatives to medication are available, such as >>Rescue Remedy Pet<<, a blend of calming flower essences that reduce anxiety in pets.
4. Find the right hotel
If you’re not going to be staying with friends and family during your travels, we highly recommend you research hotels before deciding to stay at one. Make sure the hotel you’re staying at allows pets – not all of them do. Hotels that do welcome pets will be friendly toward your dog, and can point you in the right direction to dog parks and other pet-friendly activities and locales.
If you’re having trouble finding a good pet-friendly hotel in your area, we recommend you check out www.BringFido.com. You can browse their website for pet-friendly accommodations, attractions, restaurants and more, and you can also call their customer service center to speak to a pet-friendly travel rep!
5. Exercise good control
Dogs love exploring new places, but with that love comes friskiness and excitement, and your little one might sometimes forget his manners. Make sure to enter the hotel room before your dog, which asserts dominance and shows him who’s boss, and don’t allow him to wander around unattended.
It’s actually best that you take your dog for a walk before settling into the room – your dog will be restless after the long travel, and allowing him to stretch his limbs, take in some sights and become more familiar with the environment will make him calmer and easier to control once you are in the building. It will also burn off some energy so he is less likely to howl and disturb the neighbors, which can be terribly embarrassing.
And of course, regardless of where you are, make sure to keep extra vigilant about what your dog is up to. All the new sights, sounds and smells are both exciting and distracting, especially during the holidays where there are bowls of chocolate and candies as well as lights and decorations. It’s all too easy for your dog to eat something that he shouldn’t, or tangle himself into some kind of trouble, but if you keep your eye on him and use a firm hand he should stay safe while you both enjoy your trip.
If you follow these tips, you and your pooch are sure to have tons of fun together while staying safe and comfortable. If you have questions about any of these tips, please ask! We’re more than happy to help.
Do you have any pet travel tips? Please tell us about them in the comments below! And if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends!