The holiday season brings joy, festivities, and the hope of spending quality time with loved ones. For pet owners, the prospect of vacation travel often prompts an important decision—whether to bring their furry companions along or entrust them to the care of others.
Dr. Lori TaylorA clinical professor at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, explores the different options pet owners have when it comes to travel and what factors they should consider when choosing.
For tagging along with pets
When traveling with pets, regardless of the mode of transportation chosen, owners should communicate with hosts in advance to ensure that their pets will be welcome and confirm that they Their pet’s microchip has updated contact information in case their pet wanders into unfamiliar surroundings.
“However and wherever you’re traveling with your pet, make sure they’re welcome wherever you stay, whether it’s in a hotel or someone’s home,” Taylor said. “Also, make sure your pet is microchipped and wears a collar with an ID tag. It is important that the contact information associated with the microchip is current and backup contacts are listed.
Road trips with pets will require specific preparations to ensure pets are safe and comfortable during the trip.
“If you’re driving with your pet, make sure the pet can be safely restrained in the vehicle, whether it’s in a kennel or belted with a pet harness,” Taylor said. Explained. “You should also take breaks to walk your dog so he can stretch his legs and rest. For cats, you can get a disposable travel litter box so they can relieve themselves too.”
For those choosing to fly with pets, owners should pay special attention to airline regulations, as each airline may have different guidelines regarding pet carriers, travel restrictions and documentation.
“You’ll need to get a reservation for any pet flying with you and make sure you understand the airline’s rules for traveling with your pet,” Taylor said. “There are very specific requirements for the kennel that your pet must have during the flight, and some airlines will not allow certain breeds on their planes. You must also have a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination. May be necessary, and most airlines require obtaining a health certificate within 10 days of travel.”
For pets staying behind
When traveling without a pet, pet care options may include having a pet sitter stay at home or visit several times a day, staying at a pet sitter’s home, or pet boarding.
Choosing a pet sitter over traditional boarding facilities can offer a more personalized touch to pet care, especially when owners need extra help with household chores in their absence.
“A pet sitter can pick up your mail and water your plants, but because prices for services vary, you’ll want to factor pet care into your travel budget,” Taylor said. There will be a need,” Taylor said.
Pet sitters can keep pets in their home, but Taylor recommends that owners ask questions to make sure the pet will be welcome and comfortable in another home.
“If your pet lives in someone else’s home, owners should ask if other animals will be around your pet, if those pets don’t get along, they will be separated. , and how the sitter will ensure that the pet has its own place to sleep and eat,” Taylor said. “Owners should also find out if they need to provide food for their pets and if the pets will get regular exercise.”
Another consideration owners should take into account is where pets will be most comfortable based on their health and anxiety level.
“If your pet is on medication or has a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease, you should ask the pet sitter or kennel if they can administer the medication and the pet’s medication,” Taylor said. can monitor changes in state.” “You may want to ask if your vet offers medical boarding so you can feel secure that your pet is receiving their medication and being properly monitored.
“For pets with anxiety, this is also a good time to check with your veterinarian to determine if supplements or medications can help reduce anxiety and keep your pet more comfortable while you’re gone. can,” Taylor continued. “Once you return home, it may be a good idea to discuss a long-term behavior modification plan to help your pet learn to manage anxiety.”
If possible, Taylor recommends that owners spend time with their pets in a new or different place before the owner’s trip to help them feel more comfortable and secure. However, providing familiar items can help ease their adjustment during a temporary stay away from home.
“Some places may allow you to bring your pet’s bed or toys so they have something familiar,” Taylor said. “However, keep in mind that the holidays are particularly busy for boarding facilities, so it’s possible that a bed or toy may get lost or misplaced, and you may not get it back. can.”
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, pet owners should prioritize the well-being of their furry friends by including their pets in family travel plans and preparations. Doing so not only increases pet happiness, but also gives pet owners peace of mind, allowing everyone to enjoy a stress-free vacation.