Traveling for the holidays? You’re not alone. According to AAA, over 94 million Americans will take a trip 50 miles or further during the end-of-year holiday season. Whether you’re headed near or far, there’s one furry member of your family who needs special consideration during holiday travel (and I’m not talking about Cousin Eddie!)
When considering taking your pet on a holiday trip, it’s important to do a mental inventory of your situation. First, does your pet travel well? Next, consider the length, mode and conditions of travel. Finally, weigh all of that against your alternative options and special circumstances, like your pet’s health and behaviors.
The AAA predicts that ninety percent of all travelers will drive to their holiday destinations. If your pet does well in a car, bringing him along might not be so bad. Ensure there’s plenty of room for your pet and all his accouterment. Ideally, your pet should be safely secured inside your vehicle in the event of an accident, whether in a pet carrier or kennel. Allow extra time in your trip to walk, feed and water your pet. And keep baby wipes, plastic baggies and towels handy. I don’t think I have to tell you why.
Travelling by plane? My recommendation is to leave your pet at home or with a boarder. Flying is extremely stressful for most pets. Small breeds (almost exclusively dogs) are allowed by some airlines in the cabin, but most airlines stow pets in the cargo hold. Have you ever gotten to your destination, only to discover that the airline lost your luggage? Now imagine if your “luggage” was Rover. With canceled, rerouted and combined flights being all too common during the holiday rush, leaving Fluffy at home just seems safer. If you must fly with your pet, call the airline to learn what procedures you must follow.
Think travel won’t be possible for Fluffy? Don’t let your separation make yours a Blue Christmas. Set up a Skype session with your housesitter/petsitter so that you and your pet can share special holiday moments, even far away!