Traveling with your pets during the holidays

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!

Holiday Pet Safety!

Its the most wonderful time of the year! Everyone’s jolly, decorations come out and go up, Christmas trees and Menorahs light up the house, and friends and family visit with one another.  During this busy and excited time, people may not be keeping as close an eye on their beloved pets as usual.

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe this holiday season:

  • Keep your pets’ collar and ID tags on.  Also, make sure your microchip information is current.  With visitors entering and exiting the house, it is possible you pet slips out of the house.
  • Have a private room for your pet during gatherings.  Some pets are nervous or anxious and may prefer a quiet room with water and bedding to hang out in, while your house is crowded.
  • Keep toxic plants like holly, mistletoe and poinsettias, out of reach of your pets.  Ingestion of these plans can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and excess drooling.
  • Try to keep your pets from drinking Christmas tree water.  Water with Christmas tree additives is dangerous if ingested, and just still water can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause stomach upset.
  • Make sure the tree is anchored down – we’d hate for it to fall over after an excited cat or pup jumps on it!
  • Be careful with the tinsel.  Some pets, especially cats, will play with tinsel and may swallow it, which can lead to obstructed digestive tracts, dehydration, vomiting and in sever cases, surgery to remove it.
  • Do not leave candles unattended.  Pets can easily knock these over, causing fires and/or burns to themselves.
  • Keep wires, batteries, and ornaments out of reach.  A playful pet who starts chewing on a wire is risking a deadly shock.  Chewing on batteries can cause serious burns, and glass and plastic ornaments can case internal damage if your pet chews and swallows these.
  • Be careful what foods your pet has access to, and let guests know to not feed your pets from their plates.  Pork/ham, turkey/turkey skin, yeast dough, bones, chocolate, anything sweetened with xylitol (gum, candy, etc), spicy and fatty foods,  and alcohol can be toxic to animals.  Also make sure people aren’t leaving their left over plates in your pets’ reach.


Keep your vet, and closest 24/7 emergency vet’s, number and location handy, just in case.  The ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is 1-888-426-4435.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!