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5 Tips for Traveling With Your Pets During the Holidays

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During the holidays, many pet owners prefer to take their pets along with them as they visit out-of-town family and friends. Whether traveling by plane or car, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pet safe. Out of their own element, they can be frightened. Follow these tips below to make your holiday travels a pleasant trip for both you and your furry friend.

1. Make sure your pet’s microchip information is current.

No matter how you travel, it can be stressful for you pet. The risk of your buddy getting lost is high in unfamiliar territory, so make sure you have him or her micro-chipped and your contact information is current. In addition, outfit your pet with a collar and ID tags.

2. Visit your veterinarian before you leave.

Airlines may require proof that your pet has up-to-date vaccinations. If your pet hasn’t had rabies shots recently, your vet can administer the vaccination and provide written proof. If your pet takes regular medications, your vet can provide enough to get you through the duration of your trip.

3. Pet travel by crate is safest.

If you’re traveling by plane, your pet will have to make the trip in a crate. When traveling by car, this is also the best way to keep you and your pet safe. Aside from the escape factor when stopping for fuel or restroom breaks, a pet allowed to have free reign in a moving car is a recipe for disaster; they are a distraction to the driver and can cause an accident. If your dog isn’t used to being in a crate, buy one as soon as possible and spend time getting him or her acclimated to it before your scheduled departure.

4. Bring necessary and comforting supplies.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the following pet supplies should be taken along when traveling with your pet.

  • Pet food
  • Food/water bowl
  • Leash
  • Waste scoop
  • Plastic bags
  • Pet First Aid Kit
  • Medications

Bringing along some of your pet’s favorite things — bed, toys, etc. — will help alleviate the stress and fear of traveling.

5. Be mindful of cold temperatures.

Long car trips require stops for restroom breaks and eating. You may have to leave your pet in the car while you go inside, but be mindful of the length of time you’re away. Your pet’s body temperature can drop quickly in freezing temperatures, so it’s a good idea to get food to go if you can. If your pet is small, short-haired, elderly or has a medical condition, the length of time he or she can remain in an unheated car is even shorter.

Many pets love to travel with their owners and there’s really no reason not to take them along. Your pets are a part of your family, so take the same precautions you would with other members of the clan. If you have questions about traveling with your pet, be sure to contact your veterinarian.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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