Traveling with your dog for the holidays can be a fun and memorable time, especially if you take care to do some planning in advance. Putting in a bit of effort before you leave town will make your trip go a lot more smoothly, making things more fun for the both of you. Here are six holiday travel tips to keep in mind.
1. Get safety gear
Just as small kids need to be restrained for safety in moving vehicles and planes, the same goes for dogs. Head to the pet store to get a harness and ensure you have the correct size for your dog’s weight and a type that is suitable for your car.
2. Make sure your host knows your dog is coming.
If you’ll be visiting family or friends at their home, it’s only courteous that you give them a heads up about your dog being with you. Whether the house you’re visiting has pets or not your hosts will need to do some preparation of their own, from removing low-lying breakables to ensuring their kids behave when the dog is around.
3. Keep your dog hydrated on the road and bring his food.
Whether you buy a travel water bottle with a dish or come up with another relatively mess-free way to give your dog water during your trip, don’t forget to keep him hydrated. It’s also important to pack along the food your dog is used to if you’ll be staying away overnight. Even if your host has dogs and food they’re willing to share, you never know how your dog will react to a different formula.
4. Ensure your dog will fit on the plane.
In general, when you’re traveling with a dog via plane it needs to be in a closed carrier and fit under the seat. Don’t assume that your dog will fit — even if it’s a small breed, buying a carrier that’s too large will still result in you dealing with hassles. Check with the airline and find out the maximum dimensions of the carrier you’re allowed to bring, and ask what to do if your dog is too large to fit in a small space.
5. Have all of the paperwork for your dog ready.
Airlines usually require that dogs traveling on the plane have a certain list of vaccinations and medical clearance. If this is the case for your airline, be prepared and get your paperwork ready well before your flight. Also double check to make sure that your dog’s breed will be allowed on the plane and that your pet meets the airline’s weight restriction for dogs.
6. Prep your dog if you’re planning a long drive.
It may be nothing for you to get in the car and drive for several hours at a time, but it can stress out dogs and make them anxious, especially if they’re not used to sitting in the car for long stretches of time. To help him along, try taking a shorter trip in the car before you set out on the road for the holidays.