Tips for Holiday Travels with Pets

By: McAfee Animal Hospital Last Updated: December 4, 2013

Cat-and-VetThe holidays are in full swing and traveling to see family and friends may be on your agenda. If your pet will be joining you in your commute to the holiday festivities, follow these tips to plan for a safe and happy trip!

1. Clear your travel plans with your vet.

If this is your pet's first trip, make sure he's healthy and in good enough shape to travel. Let your vet know how you'll be traveling (plane, train, automobile) and what your destination will be, especially if it's not just your pet's first trip with you but also your first trip with a pet. In addition to making sure your pet is cleared for takeoff, your vet can offer tips and preventive treatments for issues like parasites and car sickness.

(Not sure whether your pet has car sickness or other travel issues? This is also a good time to consider taking a trial trip, just long enough to make sure your furry friend feels comfortable in the car. This is especially important for cats, who don't generally do quite as much traveling as their canine counterparts.)

2. Driving? Get the right gear, both for the trip and the destination.

Restraining your pet while you drive is the right thing for your safety and your pet's. Results from a study on dog harness safety in car crash situations was recently released, and you might be surprised about which harnesses were shown to be unsafe. Make sure your harness is the right type and that you're using it correctly.

In addition to a restraint for your pet in the car, make sure you have a way to easily give your pet water on the road and have a soft place for him to crash once you reach your destination.

3. Guarantee that everyone will get along.

You'll want to make sure that wherever you're staying is pet-friendly and pet-safe. If you will be staying with friends or family, be certain everyone in the home will be comfortable with your pets. If someone you are visiting is nervous around animals, learn about how to safely introduce everyone — and if children are involved, always, always supervise their interaction with your four-legged buddies. If you're going to a pet-free home, talk to the homeowners to ensure your pet won't run into any hidden household dangers.

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