With the holidays fast approaching, coordinating travel arrangements can be stressful, especially if you’re bringing along your pets. During the holidays, it can be difficult to find a friend or family member to take care of your pets while you’re gone. If your pet is not used to being away from home, it can make them anxious or aggressive. The Humane Society even recommends against all air travel for pets unless it is necessary. If you have no choice, it’s better to travel by road and take your little one, so that you can make their trip as comfortable for them as it is for you.

Your pet can be the perfect travel companion if you plan ahead to ensure they’re safe and sound. Here’s a few safety tips on how to make holiday traveling easy for you and your furry friend.

Before You Travel

Schedule a checkup with your veterinarian

Whether you’re traveling by car or air, it’s best to check-in with your veterinarian to make sure they’re fit to be a travel companion. Make sure they’re in good health and that all health records and vaccinations are up-to-date. Ask your vet any questions you have on your pet’s mental health as well, such as what to do if they do experience anxiety or stress during the trip.

For Air Travel

Choose flying them in the cabin

Travel by cargo for your pet is extremely dangerous and should be advised otherwise. If your furry friend is small, most airlines will let you take your cat or dog in the cabin for a fee. When calling ahead to notify your airline about your extra companion, it’s best to book your friend at least 4-6 weeks ahead considering some flights will have a quota. When booking, make sure to ask about their pet policy, and review details like size requirements or carrier specifications before flying.

Take your pet with you through the metal detector during airport security

It might be common sense for some, but leaving your pets in their carrier during x-ray screenings can be extremely hazardous to your pet’s health. Take them out of the carrier and carry them with you to the metal detector.

Pack some anti-stress treats for the flight

In addition to packing their usual snacks, meds and water, consider purchasing some calming chews from the pet store. A plane ride can be stressful for your furry friend, and a calming chew can be helpful in case they have episodes of anxiety like when there’s turbulence or their ears pop.

For Car Travel

Plan a test drive

If this is your first time traveling with your pet, consider taking them along with you on an hour drive. This should be enough time to gauge how well your pet can hold up in a carrier for long periods of time in a moving vehicle. It won’t be as shocking to your pet if they’ve been exposed to being in the car for a longer period of time than usual.

Secure them from moving around in the car

If you don’t want your pet squirming around or jumping everywhere, be sure to restrain them with a pet-friendly seat belt or put them inside a carrier. Provide them with blankets, favorite toys and their usual snacks so they can feel comfortable when the road gets bumpy.

Take breaks to take them outside

This is especially important if you have a dog. Taking them out to do their business, feed them or getting fresh air can make all the difference in alleviating their anxiety or stress during the car ride.

Download an app like Pet Cloud

Apps like Figo’ s Pet Cloud can assist you in finding pet-friendly lodging, emergency vets and dog parks when needed to take a break from driving. It can also store your dog’s health records so that they’re easily accessible in case there’s an emergency.

We know how hectic the holidays can get, and it’s important to let your pets know they’re not being neglected or abandoned.