The holidays are a beautiful time of the year, but they're also quite stressful. One of the biggest holiday stressors is Travel – more specifically, traveling with pets. But, traveling with your furry friends doesn't have to be ruff. Follow our tips to make traveling with pets a breeze.
1. Think of your destination
This is an important piece of advice to begin with, because it would be so easy for you to spend so much time planning for every detail of the journey, that you forget to think about the destination.
When it comes to holiday travel, it's likely that you'll be housed somewhere where your pet is unfamiliar with the surroundings. Check with your host ahead of time to make sure the home or apartment is pet-proofed and that everything is fully ready for your pet. This might seem obvious now, but you'd be surprised how many people forget – make sure there's a soft bed for your pet at your home away from home.
2. Consider off-peak travel days
A lot of the time, holiday travel plans are dictated by things like work or school schedules. But, if you have the luxury, consider traveling on days when less people will be on the road.
Airports will be less busy and ultimately less stressful for animal companions. Drivers will notice less of a difference in travel days, but you may find travel stops and convenience stores to be less crowded – which will ultimately be easier for you and especially for your pets.
3. Check with your vet
You may not realize the stress that travel can put your pets under. The Humane Society of the United States actually recommends you don't fly with your pet if at all possible. That being said, sometimes holiday travel is necessary.
If this is the case with you and your pet, you might consider paying your pet's veterinarian a visit prior to your holiday travel. Your vet can help ensure that everything is satisfactory with your pet's health before undergoing the stresses of travel.
4. Do your homework
You might think that traveling with pets is the same for them as when you travel, but there are plenty of guidelines relating to animal travel that you might be unaware of – both for driving traffic and air traffic.
When driving, you'll mostly need to be concerned with inter-state travel guidelines. Depending on the destination state, you may need to update vaccinations, obtain specific health certificates or carry certain forms of documentation.
If you're flying, you need to check out each airline's pet travel policy. Fees and rules will vary from one airline to the other.
5. Get your workout on
Before you hit the road or the airport, see if you can squeeze a workout in. For your pet, that is!
If you're traveling a long distance, your pet will likely get anxious if they went straight from lazing around the home to lazing around in a plane or a car. To avoid this, take a walk or play a little fetch before starting your voyage – unless, of course, you're traveling with pet fish.
6. Don't switch things up
While you may be able to hop from one place to another, stay in an unfamiliar place and eat a stranger's food with ease, animals tend to be more anxious about breaking routine. In fact, pets can react quite negatively to a change in environments. Side effects can be physical and behavioral.
To avoid this, it's best not to make changes to the type of foods your pet is eating or to their living environment. Consider bringing their bed and food from home – even if your hosts have different pet food or a pet bed of their own.
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