The holidays are here, and a lot of you will be traveling to visit your families, or friends and families will be traveling to visit you. We want to make sure your pets have a safe and comfortable trip with you.
When flying, check with the airline ahead of time, to not only let them know you’ll be traveling with a pet, but also to see what (if any) documentation they need. Some airlines require current vaccination records. If you animal is a registered service dog or emotional support animal, make sure you bring your doctor’s letter, or service animal documentation.
Some airlines require your pet (if not a service or emotional support animal) to be 20 lbs or less, and kept in a carrying case that can fit under your seat. Make sure its large enough that your dog has room to be comfortable.
Bring some treats, and bring a cup. Once you’re through security, you can give your pet some water in the cup – the airport can stress animals out, causing panting and overheating. Flying dehydrates everyone – make sure your pet stays hydrated.
Most airports are now putting in “dog relief” areas inside of the gates. Make sure your dog has relieved itself before heading on the plane – we’d hate for an accident to happen on the plane, or for your pet to be uncomfortable “holding it” the entire flight!
If your pet takes any medications, make sure they are packed in your carry on bags. If there are delays or your luggage is lost, your pet won’t be able to get its medication if its not kept with you.
We never suggest flying your pet with luggage in the cargo area beneath the plane. Traveling is stressful enough for a pet. Putting them in a dark, noisey, unfamiliar place for hours without you can be terrifying. A lot of times the cargo section is not climate controlled, or if it is, there are many documented cases of the climate control malfunctioning. Numerous cases of airlines “losing” dogs are reported as well. Luggage gets lot all of the time – sometimes pets are sent on the wrong flights, or are misplaced once taken off of the plane. 2 years ago someone landed at LAX from Florida – the dog got out of his crate, ran down the runway, and went missing. If you can’t travel with your pet in the cabin with you, its safer and better for your animal if you leave him/her behind with a trusted dog sitter.
If you’re driving with your pet, again, make sure you have all shot records with you. This will be needed in emergency situations, and sometimes for hotels.
You can get a list of dog friendly hotels across the country from AAA. Its helpful to know which hotels you will be passing on your trip that allow dogs.
Make sure you stop every few hours to let your pet have a bathroom break, and to get a bit of exercise. A pet can get antsy from being in a car too long without any exercise!
Look up emergency vets along your travel route ahead of time. If you end up having an emergency, its not guaranteed that you’ll have cell phone service to look up the nearest emergency clinic!
Pack travel bowls that you can give your pet water in along the way. Bring your pet’s favorite bed or blanket and toy – traveling can be stressful for your pet – its a different environment, so it is relaxing for them to have something familiar.
Be safe out there!