Many people travel to spend the holidays with their family and friends. AAA forecasts that 38 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, and 43 million plan to travel for Christmas.
Pets often join their owners on their holiday adventures, and these pet travel safety tips will help you keep your pet safe, whether you choose to venture by car or by plane. Regardless of how you choose to travel, before you leave, make sure your pet is microchipped and has a collar with tags. This helps others reunite you with your pet if you become separated.
Traveling by Car
The safest way for your dog or cat to travel in a vehicle is in an anchored crate. This prevents your pet from roaming around the car while you drive. Small carriers can easily be anchored with a seatbelt. Larger carriers may require a different type of restraint to keep them secured. Dog “seatbelts” keep your dog secured, but these have not been proven to prevent injuries in crashes.
If you leave your pet loose in the car, keep them out of the front seat. The airbag can seriously injure your dog or cat if you are in an accident. Also, make sure your pet keeps its head inside the vehicle because debris can injure their eyes and the rushing cold air can make them sick.
Plan time for frequent rest stops so that your pet can stretch. Always have your pet restrained with a leash when you leave your vehicle. Never leave your pet alone in the vehicle, in any weather condition.
Traveling by Plane
The Humane Society of the United States warns that traveling by plane is risky for pets, especially those with “pushed in” noses like pugs and bulldogs because their short nasal passages make them more susceptible to heat stroke or oxygen deprivation on the plane. These breeds should never ride in the cargo hold. The safest option is to have your pet ride in the airplane cabin with you. Contact your airline before you travel to learn about the cost and regulations since these vary with each airline. Some airlines may have additional pet travel safety regulations that you need to be aware of before your journey.
A little preparation before you travel for the holidays can keep your pet safe and happy on the road or in the sky and make for a pleasant trip for the whole family.