The holiday season is a wonderful time to travel and celebrate with family and friends, but for pet owners, it can often be clouded with worry about the safety and health of their beloved pet. An emergency trip to the vet, especially one in an unfamiliar location, is definitely no fun for either you or your pet, and it usually can be avoided. When you choose to travel with your pet over the holidays, there are some basic pet safety tips to follow.

How to Keep Pets Safe

The first, and most important, step to ensuring your pet’s safety during the holidays is to plan ahead. Find out about emergency vet clinics at your destination, and contact them to find out what information they will need in order to treat your pet. At the very least it will be wise to bring your pet’s vaccination and medical records. Also, find out how to safely travel with your pet, even if you’re traveling by car. Dog safety in cars is extremely important but often overlooked, so definitely take time to consider it.

Additional Pet Travel Tips for the Holidays

  • Ensure your pet will be properly restrained. If you are traveling by car, your pet should be restrained in a crate or carrier, or have a proper seatbelt restraint. If you are traveling by air, your pet will likewise need to be properly restrained for travel.
  • Pack for your pet. Just as you pack for yourself, make sure you take the time to pack for your pet. In addition to bringing along their medical documents and food, be sure to pack treats, toys and anything else you think you may need.
  • Be aware of the food your pet has access to. Many people foods are highly toxic and dangerous for pets, including chocolate, the sweetener xylitol, turkey, onions, raisins, grapes, yeast dough and more.
  • Keep your pet away from decorations. Holiday decorations, including ornaments, lights, and trees, can pose a variety of risks for pets. Trees can fall over on pets, ornaments can break and injure pets or be ingested and cause intestinal blockage or toxicity issues, lights and candles can cause burns, and many plants can be poisonous for pets.
  • Supervise and control your pet’s interaction with new people. Though your pet may love being with you, they can also become nervous and anxious about new environments and people. Pets that are normally quite friendly and outgoing can become shy and may even bite out of fear. Accidents are less likely to occur if you supervise and control your pet’s interaction with others.
  • Ensure your pet has a safe, comfortable, quiet place to retreat to. Pets appreciate knowing that they have a safe, comfortable, quiet place they can relax in whenever they want to, and this should be provided for them wherever they go. You can use a crate or box, cover and line it with a familiar, warm blanket, and show your pet its location so they can use it whenever they desire to.
  • Spend time interacting with and exercising your pet. It is always important to spend time interacting with and exercising your pet, but it is even more important when you are traveling with your pet. This will provide them with at least a subtle sense of normalcy and routine, and can help prevent them from using nervous energy in a way that can potentially harm themselves or others.
  • Verify that your pet has proper identification. Of course, you will do everything possible and necessary to ensure that your pet does not become separated from you or lost, but accidents can happen and it’s best to be prepared so that you can be quickly reunited in the event your pet does run off. Identification tags on their collar, as well as a microchip, are both good identification tools.

For more information about safely traveling with your pet over the holidays, contact AMC today.