The holiday season is upon us and families have already begun planning to travel. Many will schedule time to spend with family, and some schedule fun seasonal festivities only available once a year. One of the most popular travel months is December. That means it’s time to start planning family road trips and plane rides. Many pet owners consider their pets to be a furry family member, and they are included in travel plans. Taking time for proper planning will help make holiday travel less stressful for your pet, and for you. Here are just a few tips to help you travel with your dog during the holidays.
Schedule Extra Travel Time
You’ll need to schedule some extra time for breaks when you travel with your dog. If your pup is not used to traveling, you may want to take a few short practice trips to get them used to it. A few short trips can help you see how they behave and adjust during traveling, so you can make necessary adjustments for them.
How to Pack for Your Dog’s Trip
You’ll want to make sure you pack everything your pet is going to need for the trip. You’ll want to take more food and water than you anticipate they will need. Don’t forget to take some bowls and waste bags too. If your pup takes medications or supplements, don’t forget to pack those. You may choose to include a couple of his favorite toys to help keep them occupied on the trip. Choose a comfortable and safe dog crate that they can stand up in and move around a little bit. If you are flying, check with the airline to make sure your carrier meets their specific specifications.
Maintain Their Regular Routine
Animals, like humans, are creatures of habit. They like doing the same things at the same time each day. Try to keep their routine as close to their normal one as possible. This helps reduce their stress and allows them to adjust more quickly to their new surroundings. You may want to avoid strangers and drastic changes for the first few days to allow them time to adjust. Their feeding and walking routines should remain at about the same time each day. So, don’t forget their leash, and bringing an extra one along is a good idea too.
Take Your Dog’s Documents
Make sure you have all relevant documentation, especially if you are traveling internationally, or across state lines. You will find having their health certificates and proof of their vaccinations very helpful. Schedule a visit with the vet a couple of weeks before your trip to make sure your pet is up to date and that you have the documents you need. A wellness check is a good idea for your dog before you head out on your trip.
Relax and Be Patient
Traveling can be stressful for humans and their pets. It’s crucial to have patience when you are traveling with your pup. If you can remain calm, it will help your dog relax too. If your dog is prone to car sickness or anxiety, ask your veterinarian about anti-nausea meds or mild sedatives that may help you pup have a more comfortable trip. Your vet may also have plenty of tips on how to keep your pup relaxed while traveling. Your pet will pick up nervous cues from you, too. If you can remain calm, it will help keep them from becoming anxious.
Once you reach your destination, create a personal space for your dog. This will help reduce their stress during the holiday. They just need a small, secure space where they can get away and relax or nap, without being distracted. Pack their special bed or blanket with you to make their space more personal. You may also want to gather a list of emergency vets along the route you plan to take.