Valuable Tips on Holiday Travel with Pets

Holiday seasons are coming and this is a time we want to be together with our families. Our pets are part of our family and we often want to include them.

For some of them, this can be a good option, while for others, a staycation while their people use planes, trains or automobiles can be just what the veterinarian ordered.

What kinds of options are there?

Staying home

Friends, family, or pet sitters can be great for this. Make sure you leave your veterinarian’s number, your number, and another emergency contact. All medications should be listed, up-to-date, and your sitter should be able to treat your furkid.

Cats should have daily visits, fresh water, and daily litter cleaning. Why daily visits? You don’t want to worry about them getting sick.

Dogs should ideally have someone stay with them, access to daily fresh water, access to the a place to eliminate at least 3-4 times a day, daily exercise, and daily food.


Because dogs are such social creatures, a kennel can be a great place especially if it has access to exercise and good interactions. You’ll want to make sure to leave information about your veterinarian, your contact info, and make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and had a recent health check.


For some people and pets, bringing their pets with them works better. When traveling with your pet, you definitely want to make sure that your pet is able to travel. Train them that traveling is a good thing and can be fun. Make sure, wherever you go, that your destination is pet-friendly and ready. Make sure the hotel, friend, or family’s house is ready for your furkid and will accept them with open arms.


Before traveling, be sure your pet is microchipped and registered. Traveling can be stressful and some pets may fear the traffic and noise and try to go home. This can be a time where they can get lost.

Often, being in a nice and closed environment such as a kennel is ideal. Some pets prefer being low to the ground. Others prefer looking out the window. Whatever you do, make sure that your pet is securely kept from the driver. Distracted driving and bad weather can make a terrible combination.

Plan frequent stops every 2-3 hours. Exercise your dog at a stop. Let your kitties use the litterbox (I keep one in the car I will let them use and then I clean it out right away).

If they can be carsick, make sure to start your travel on an empty stomach. If you are traveling for more than a half-day, be sure to offer food. If this doesn’t help, consult your veterinarian for treatment advice.

Something people don’t think about is traveling across state or international borders requires a health certificate. You can get this from your veterinarian. Traveling across state borders is a much easier process than traveling internationally. Well, except for Hawaii – it has a mandatory quarantine for cats and dogs traveling there. International travel takes a lot of planning – up to a year! Before traveling, contact the embassy or consulate to be sure your pet can come with you and the requirements. Next, contact your veterinarian – some vaccines have a certain time window they need to be given and they vary for each country. Knowing these things ahead can help prevent future headaches.

Airplane travel

Definitely call the airline travel company ahead of time. Small dogs and cats may be permitted to sit in the cabin area. You’ll need to be sure that your pets have the proper health paperwork and examinations as required by the airlines. Larger pets may have to go into cargo area. Depending on where you are traveling from, pets can be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees and may need an acclimation certificate because of this. The acclimation certificate is something your veterinarian would fill out, but you would have to provide.

Busy holidays can be a time that your pet could put under more stress such as being in an airport that doesn’t have an area for pets to go to the bathroom or flight delays. Think carefully beforehand and make sure you have a plan.

Other notes

Travel by train or bus is frequently restricted by most states but there are some exceptions made for guide or service dogs. Check with the train or bus route that you’re thinking of taking to be sure they will let your furkid come with you.

Once you get where you’re going or, en route, you may need a hotel. You can find pet friendly hotels online that will accommodate you and your furkid.

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