We’re hoping you all had a wonderful holiday and happy new year. January 2 is National Pet Travel Safety Day and according to AAA, it’s the tail end of the busy 2022-2023 holiday travel season. Nearly 113 million people were expected to travel more than 50 miles from home between December 23 and January 2, an increase of 3.6 million over last year and close to pre-pandemic travel levels.
Almost seventy percent of Americans have pets in their homes and, increasingly, more and more of us are taking our pets with us when we travel. It’s estimated that more than two million pets are transported in the US each year (not counting road trips in family vehicles; here are some tips specific to car travels). Keeping your pet safe while traveling will help ensure and good time for everyone.
Safety and Comfort are Paramount
The safety and comfort of your pet during travel are the most important considerations. There are several important things to do in advance to prepare for traveling with your pet. Make sure they:
- are healthy and their vaccinations are up to date
- have ID tags with current contact information
- have practiced being in a crate or pet seat-belt/harness before long trips
Choose a comfortable, safe, and appropriately sized carrier. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a pet carrier:
- your pet must be able to turn around completely and lie down
- the carrier should be well ventilated
- the carrier must be leak-proof
- the animal shouldn’t be able to bite through it
- if you are flying, make sure the carrier meets your specific airline’s requirements
Bring along a favorite toy, blanket and treats to keep your pet comfortable. Don’t forget to bring a leash! Make sure you have a travel bowl or water bottle to keep them hydrated, but limit food to small quantities before traveling to help prevent nausea.
Flying with Your Pet
If you plan to fly with you pet, be sure to check your airline for specific policies regarding pet travel. Each airline is different. While Federal law requires airlines to permit trained service dogs to fly with their person, the airlines are not required to allow emotional support animals. Check with your airline before you head to the airport. PetFriendlyTravel.com offers a good list of considerations and things to consider before your flight. Travel during the holidays can be especially challenging if airlines are overbooked or weather interferes with schedules and connections. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.
If your trip will include a hotel stay, here’s a handy guide to finding pet-friendly places. Just enter your destination for a complete listing and associated rules and charges.
Emergency Veterinary Care
Illnesses and accidents can happen while you’re away from home. Emergency Vets USA offers a searchable list to find nearby 24-hour care for your pet anywhere in the country. Be aware that emergency pet care can be very expensive and ask in advance if the provider takes your pet insurance. It’s a good idea to have your veterinarian’s contact information with you when you travel.
If Your Pet Can’t Travel
Some pets are not great travelers. If your travel plans can’t accommodate your pet, consider boarding or a pet sitter. The Animal Store offers boarding for small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Our expert staff is always ready to answer your questions.
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