Tips for Traveling Safely with your Pet
As many of us don’t want to leave our fur babies alone for the holidays, we find ways to bring them along with us to visit families. Traveling with pets can be tricky, so you need to make sure you are using safe practices. Here are some solid tips for transporting your pet this holiday season!
Traveling by Car
When embarking on a road trip, we need to consider the safest options for your pet, as well as the driver.
The safest place for a dog riding in a car is inside a crate that is anchored to the back seat.
If you do not have a crate that will fit in the car, be sure your dog is anchored to a seat back or seat belt in the back seat of the vehicle.
Keep the front seat pet free, allow space for the driver to concentrate without possible distractions caused by the pet. If an airbag deploys while your pet is in the passenger seat (even in a crate), it could injure your pet. (1)
Keep all cats crated in the back seat while driving. It's important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don't bounce around and injure your cat. Do this by securing a seat belt around the front of the carrier.
Be sure to make frequent stops to allow your pet to exercise and use the bathroom. (2)
Travel with a buddy. Having other people with you to help keep an eye on your pet will come in handy when you need to make stops such as a rest stop or gas station. (1)
Traveling by Plane
If it is necessary to travel by plane to your destination, consider the risks before flying with your pet.
Air travel can be particularly dangerous for animals such as bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats. Their short nasal passages (the medical term is "brachycephalic") leave them especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. (1)
Contact your airline ahead of time to find out whether your pet can travel in the passenger cabin with you. Most airlines will allow you to take a cat or small dog in the cabin for an additional fee.
Contact your airline to find out if they require any special pet health and immunizations, or a specific type of carrier. In most cases a certification of health must be provided to the airline no more than 10 days before travel. (2)
If the airline does not allow your pet in the cabin, be aware of the dangers of flying your pet in a cargo hold. There have been injured or missing pets reported on commercial flights in the past.
When you board the plane, notify the captain and at least one flight attendant that your pet is traveling in the cargo hold so that they can take extra precautions during the flight. (1)
Avoid connecting flights and fly direct when possible. Whether your pet is being carried on, or checked into the cargo hold, plane transfers and possible delays can put your pet at risk.
Find out in advance weather the hotel or place you are staying allows animals. (2)
Be sure not leave your dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place for the first time due to stress.
Check with management to see if they recommend an area for walking or playing with your dog.
Be sure to clean up after your pet, and not to leave a mess behind. Any unpleasant experience with an animal may prompt the management to ban pets from their establishment. (2)