How to Avoid the Top 5 Holiday Pet Travel Mistakes

It’s a wonderful time of the year! Far-flung friends and families will gather to reconnect, celebrate traditions, and enjoy each other’s company. And millions of pets will be traveling with their families.

Including your furry family members in your holiday festivities brings more joy to the season. But when you’re traveling with pets, simple mistakes can lead to major inconveniences … or worse.

Whether you’re an experienced pet traveler, or striking out on your very first pet friendly adventure, these tips will ensure you have a safe and happy trip.

Tips For Avoiding Holiday Pet Travel Mistakes

1. Make Reservations Early

Getting derailed before you even leave home would certainly be a crushing blow during the holidays! If you’ll be traveling by air, train, or rental car, be sure to book early.

Be very clear that you’re traveling with a pet. Airlines’ pet policies differ when it comes to pet reservations, required documentation, and pricing. So be sure your I’s are dotted and your T’s are crossed.

Pet policies for rental cars also vary greatly. So get all the details up front, and document your conversation (including who you spoke to) in case there are any questions later.

Next, think carefully about where you’ll stay during your holiday break. Camping on someone’s sofa might be an option. But is your host excited that your dog or cat will be staying, too?

Reserving pet friendly lodgings gives you a comfortable, quiet space of your own to relax – a respite from the holiday chaos. It might be the best gift you give yourself (and your pet) this holiday season.

2. Manners Matter

Nothing puts a damper on the fun like knowing that your pet’s behavior is causing tension. If your pup can’t stop digging through the trash, barking, or jumping on the kids, your time will be spent trying to keep him out of trouble rather than enjoying your family and friends.

Set your pet up for success – and impress your hosts – by brushing up on his basic obedience skills before you go!

3. Hit The Road

More vehicles on the roads during the holidays translates into more car accidents. For his safety and yours, it’s important that your pet is properly secured in a carrier, crate, or seat belt harness while you’re driving.

Start acclimating your pet to his carrier or harness well before your trip to guarantee the ride goes smoothly.

4. Avoid Spoilage

With all the eating, drinking, and merry-making, pets are often fed things they shouldn’t have during the holidays. Chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, alcohol and other foods are dangerous for your dog. And who wants to spend the holidays at the emergency veterinarian?!

To avoid any gastrointestinal issues, it’s safest to stick to your pet’s normal food and treats.

Even when you’re careful, pets still manage to get into things that can make them sick. In that case, have your pet’s veterinary records with you to aid in the treatment of any illness or injury.

But rather than lugging around a large file, make a paper copy of the most current vaccination records, and scan the rest of the documents to an easy-to-pack USB drive.

5. Lost And Found

It’s terrifying to think about, but it only takes a split second for a pet to slip his leash or dash out the door and be lost. Remind guests who aren’t accustomed to having pets around to be careful when entering and leaving the house. And put a phone number where you can be reached while you’re traveling on your pet’s ID tags.

It’s also a good idea to have your pet microchipped before your trip. And carry a current photo in the event you need to make posters.

Follow these simple steps, and you’ll avoid the most common holiday pet travel mistakes. We hope your trip comes off without a hitch!

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