A Pet Parent’s Guide to Holiday Pet Travel

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golden retriever with luggage ready for holiday pet travel

It is that time of year again! Festive cheer and holiday celebrations! Planning a trip abroad? Or, to a cabin in the woods? Do your travel plans include Fido? Planning is an important part of any good holiday. Here are our holiday pet travel and pet safety tips to help pet owners plan a stress-free vacation with their dogs and cats!

Preparation is Key! Are You Ready for Holiday Pet Travel with Your Fur Kids?

Especially at this time of year, holiday accommodations book up quickly. Airlines limit the number of pets per flight. So, for holiday pet travel, by train or airplane, you will want to book well in advance to be sure of a spot for both you and your canine companion.

Identification: Make Sure Your Dog Has a Microchip and ID Tag

Sad fact: More than 80 % of unidentified pets that are lost to their owners are not re-united with them. Make sure that you and your pet won’t become part of these statistics. Before taking your pooch on holiday with you, make sure that they have proper identification. A good idea is to have a spare ID tag with you on holiday. So, if the first one gets lost, you have an immediate replacement. Even better, have your dog’s name and your contact number embroidered on to their collar.

We highly recommend microchipping your dog. The procedure is quick and affordable. If your dog separates from you, most vets and animal welfare organizations have scanners that can read the microchip. Subsequently, they get your contact details from a worldwide database.

Update Your Contact Details Online and on Their Dog Tags

Wearing an ID tag is of no use if the details are incorrect! Check your dog’s ID tag. Ensure that the contact numbers are up to date. While traveling, it is best to put your cellphone number on the ID tag so that people can reach you wherever you are. If you know that you will be staying in one place for a considerable time. You can consider putting contact details for this place on the ID tag too.

It is so easy to go online and check that your pet’s microchip details are up to date. Most importantly, make sure to do this before going on vacation.

jack russell wearing sunglasses waiting at airport

Pet Supplies: Pack Everything Fido Needs for the Trip

This is the fun part! Making sure that you have all your furry friend’s necessities packed and ready to go. There is more to it than food and water. For some animals, travel might be quite stressful. Certainly, packing their favorite toy and other home comforts will make it easier for them.

6 Things to Have in Your Dog’s Travel Kit

  1. Water! The elixir of life. If you are traveling with pets by car, pack in a few bottles of drinking water. A spill-proof travel bowl is also a super idea if you are going to be spending many hours in the car. For air travel, you can’t take full bottles of water through security checks with you. However, do pack in a refillable plastic bottle that you can fill up once on the other side.
  2. Pet food. You might not be able to find your pooch’s preferred nosh where you are vacationing. Pack in enough to see you through your holiday. Also, don’t forget Fido’s food and water bowls! In the same breath, don’t forget treats for your furry friend.
  3. Bedding and blankets. You will want your pet to feel right at home as soon as you arrive at your holiday destination. Therefore, as far as possible, pack in their beds and blankets. If your feline is accompanying you on holiday, pack in their litter box and enough cat litter to see you through.
  4. Collar and leash. Don’t forget to pack in your pet’s collar and leash. Not a bad idea to pack in an extra set in case one breaks or is lost. Are you traveling where the temperatures might be a little lower than what your doggo is used to? Consider getting them kitted out in a warm dog jacket or quilted hoodie. #adorable
  5. Toys. You will be busy exploring and sight-seeing while you are on holiday. However, there will be some down-time too. Pack in your pooch’s comfort toys and distraction toys for these moments.
  6. Pet first aid kit. This should include your pet’s veterinary certificate with vaccination records. Also, any prescription medications that your cat or dog is taking.

Air Travel with Pets: Do Your Homework

If your pet is traveling as checked baggage, check kennel sizes and weight restrictions. Some breeds are prohibited from traveling in the hold. For example, brachycephalic breeds such as the Pug, Boston Terrier, and Himalayan cat.

Carry-on pets must travel in the correct size and type of safe pet carrier. Most importantly, whether your pet is traveling in a cargo kennel or a pet carrier, it is important to get them used to it long before your departure. In addition, don’t forget Mittens’ pet passport.

dog with sunglasses holding passport

Research Your Destinations Pet Rules and Requirements

This is one situation when you do want to read the fine print. Make sure that you know and understand the rules and requirements of where you will be staying with your cat or dog.

Similarly, it is just as important to research pet services and pet care for the area to which you will be traveling. In case of an emergency, get contact details for the nearest veterinary clinic as well as the pet poison helpline.

Call Ahead to Confirm Your Booking

To avoid unpleasant surprises with holiday pet travel, call ahead to confirm your booking at pet-friendly hotels. Moreover, check the details of your booking and that they are aware that your pet will be joining you. Pet-friendly hotels might have limitations on which rooms you can stay in. Check that your room is on the ground floor, or has quick and easy access to a potty area.

Read the Airline’s Pet Policy

Pet policy differs from airline to airline. Read the airline’s pet policy before making your booking. Further, it is better to call in your booking rather than booking online when planning holiday pet travel.

Is Your Holiday Rental Pet-Friendly?

Have you booked a pet-friendly holiday rental? While they advertise that they are pet-friendly, there might be certain restrictions. Check the types and number of pets that they allow. Some might not allow exotic pets. In addition, check the maximum size of the animals accommodated.

chihuahua ready to go on vacation

NEVER Leave Them Behind!

If taking your cat or dog on holiday with you seems like too much trouble. Or, if your holiday destination simply isn’t pet safe. It is not OK to leave them at home alone. Furry friends need daily human interaction. Plan for their well-being and safety by organizing a pet sitter. Alternatively, pet owners can arrange for their four-legged friend to be guests in a pet hotel or boarding kennel.

Common Questions About Holiday Pet Travel

What are some safety tips for pet-friendly travel?

Can your pet travel on holiday with you in the car?

What is there to do with dogs when going on vacation?

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