Many of us are getting ready for holiday travel, starting with Thanksgiving. Travel statistics are projected to be higher this year for both driving and flying, in spite of increased airfares and gas prices. Some folks are opting to bring their pets to save on pet boarding fees. Also contributing to the trend of traveling with pets is the fact that more Americans are viewing their pets as family members.
Here is what you need to know to make traveling with (or without) your pet a smooth endeavor.
In general, dogs adapt better to travel than cats, so making arrangements for a neighbor to look in on kitties can be a kindness. Of course there are exceptions, especially for cats acclimated to traveling from a young age. And some dogs are just anxious or elderly and prefer the comforts of home or with a trusted friend. You know your pet best, so trust your instincts.
Travel By Plane
The latest news gives an airline travel forecast of 90% full planes for Thanksgiving travel. Airlines are doing their best to accommodate pets, but this is a service that you will pay for. Still, the fees for traveling with your pet may be less than at a pet boarding facility. Increased travel density on planes requires advanced notification as some airlines have restrictions on the number of pets allowed per flight.
The safest way to travel with a pet is in the cabin with you. This requires an airline-approved pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Pets over 15 pounds will be required to travel in the cargo area. This is a risky situation as temperatures can fluctuate widely with delays on the tarmac. Consider other methods of transportation or leaving your pet at home, particularly with extreme weather conditions. Better safe than sorry.
We offer a wide variety of carriers that have versatile features to ensure a comfortable trip for everyone. Check your airline for specific details for pet transportation requirements.
Other Helpful Hints for Air Travel
- Have current ID and health/vaccination certificates on hand in your carry-on luggage. Health certificates must be obtained within ten days of travel and expire withing ten days of being issued, so plan ahead.
- Limit food and drink before travel.
- Have portable food and water containers. Remember liquid restrictions apply to canned foods as well.
- Have a sturdy leash nearby and secure collar/harness on your pet.
- Ideally, purchase your crate in advance to allow pets a chance to get used to them.
- Consider some of our natural anxiety pet remedies to keep pets calm.
- Keep yourself calm too as pets are sensitive to their parent’s moods!
Trips for Car Travel
Some states, like New Jersey, have laws requiring pets to be restrained while in the car. Be sure to be familiar with the laws in states you’ll be traveling through. Whether there are pet travel mandates, restraining your pet is makes sense for the safety of everyone. We have a variety of car harnesses, crates, booster seats, etc., to ensure your pet does not decide to assist you in the operation of your vehicle. And should you get in an accident, having your pet restrained will prevent loss and minimize injuries to both your pet and your other passengers.
Young pets are more susceptible to car sickness due to their less-developed digestive systems. Your vet may be able to prescribe a pet-safe dose of anti-nausea medication to help. Smaller dogs do well with our Snoozer Look-out Car Seat that elevates and restrains them but allows them to see out. This may alleviate car sickness as well.
Always have a leash and waste pickup bags nearby for potty breaks. Paper towels and wipes are a good to have on hand for any messes. Seat covers are an especially great idea for protecting upholstery from accidents and claws. They can easily be removed and washed.
Once You’re There
More and more hotels are becoming pet friendly to boost vacancies in a sluggish economy. Always check for pet policies to ensure there are no restrictions. Your pet’s travel crate is the safest place for your pet to stay should you go out for a meal. That will ensure a maid or service person doesn’t let your pet out of your room. This will also keep a dog from getting territorial and possibly biting someone. Have food and water available. Puppy pads may also be a good idea in case of accidents in an unfamiliar place.
Provide your pets with favored chew toys and anything else that reminds them of home. Try to keep their schedule similar to what they are used to including walks, feedings and play time. Use caution when introducing new pets to each other. Be the firm, calm, and loving pack leader your pet needs to ensure they feel secure and stay well mannered. After all, it would be nice to be invited back!
Photo of “Latte”, a previous photo contest winner from San Francisco, CA. Submitted by Thanny.
Do you have any travel tips to share?