However you travel, feed pets a light meal a few hours before you leave so they won’t be nauseated or sick. Then reward your pet for making the journey with a good treat/pet-healthy meal after you arrive!
Going By Car?
The best, safest way for your pets to travel is in a secured carrier. Put fido in his crate, then either buckle it into the backseat (no airbags), or tie it down in the truck. There are also special harnesses that gives pets a little more freedom but keeps them buckled in.
This bucks against the car culture image of a dog on the open road, head out the window, enjoying the breeze, or hanging out in the back of a pick-up truck (pets are safest in the cab). The problem is, both of those scenarios leave pets at risk for serious injury (or death!) in the event of an accident (it’s the season for ice, alcohol, and extra tired drivers, after all!).
There’s also the risk that an unsecured animal could distract or interfere with the driver.
Schedule frequent stops. It’s a health tip for both humans and pets. It’s a chance for everyone to empty their bladders, make sure they’re awake, and stretch their legs (stretching helps prevent blood clots, humans can also invest in special tight stockings).
Before opening a car door, make sure your pet is leashed (or harnessed, if they’re excitable). Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Leashes are considerate, and will keep pets (even cats) from running off into traffic.
Plus, you won’t be familiar with the laws of every single county you drive through, and either could be illegal. No one wants to spend Christmas in jail! (PS, don’t forget some baggies for poo and a litter box for kitties!)
Flying With Pets
Research airlines thoroughly—policies and prices for pets, and reviews from people who’ve been there done that.
Can you bring them in the cabin, or do you have to check them? If you check them, will they be warm? Will their carrier be secured?
Also research how the airport you land at handles special cargo, so you won’t be confused or worried once you get there.
If Fido’s getting a stay at his own fancy pet palace, make sure they’re up on their vaccines, including one for kennel cough, which you need to get NOW, at least two weeks out! You may also want to get a reservation early—the best ones book up fast.
How do you pick?
-How much running around do they get? Are big dogs and little dogs segregated?
-What kind of vibe do you get from the people who’ll be watching your pets?
-Do they have webcams?
-How do they handle bites, aggression, and other acting-out behaviors from freaked out pets?
Then, pack their favorite bedding and food (most kennels ask for this), any medications, and a list of any special instructions you have.
What are your holiday pet plans? Anyone have a pic of your pet festively dressed to share?