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How to Keep Your Pet Happy while Traveling

How to Keep Your Pet Happy while Traveling

The holiday season and summer months are busy — sometimes stressful — times for pet owners. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the single busiest travel day of the year is Thanksgiving Eve, the number of long-distance travelers during the period between Christmas Eve to New Year’s rises by 23%, and Fridays from June to August are the third busiest days for airports each year. Whether you choose to travel with your furry friend or leave them behind while you’re gone, there are important facts to consider and tips to remember before you leave.

Prefer to bring your pet along for the trip?

You’re not alone — more than half of Americans take their pets with them when traveling! No matter how to choose to travel, you should schedule a pre-trip checkup with your vet to ensure your four-legged friend is up to date on immunizations and has any necessary medications stocked up.

Whether you’re taking a car or plane, you need to make sure you have everything your pet needs during the ride and after. We also recommend taking an emergency kit. Travel can be stressful for pets, so do not change any diets before leaving. A normal eating routine will lessen the likelihood of an upset stomach.

Traveling by car?

With holidays being the busiest days of the year for travel, they also become the most dangerous when driving. Your pet should be secured in a carrier or crate that is big enough for them to move freely, and it needs to be tied down to the backseat or floor. You should never let an animal sit in the front seat because they become at risk for injury by airbag. No one wants to think about crashing, but it is also highly recommended that you check with your insurance provider to see if your pet is covered in case of an emergency.

Be sure to pack plenty of food and water for your furry best friend to eat while on the road, and you should stop often to allow your pet to use the bathroom. Frequent stops offer more opportunities for stretching out and re-energizing. If your pet gets stressed during travel, keep them on a leash when you stop for breaks to prevent them from running away. It’s also important to have a collar tag with updated info just in case of an escape or separation.

Traveling by plane?

Unfortunately, pets are at an extreme risk for death or injuries when flown with cargo. If you plan to bring your pet along when traveling by plane, you should always put them in the cabin with you. Certain pet breeds, including Brachycephalic animals like bulldogs and Persian cats cannot fly in cargo, but it’s much more humane and safer to keep pets out of cargo altogether. Be sure to double check that your preferred airline allows pets in the cabin, what specific health or immunization requirements exist and what kinds of carriers are allowed.

Leaving your pet behind?

It can be hard to leave your pet when traveling, especially when you plan to be gone for more than a few days. Although it can be stressful for your pet to be left behind, you can hire a pet sitter or board your furry friend at a facility you’ve thoroughly screened.

If you choose to hire a sitter, make sure you stock your home with all necessary supplies beforehand, outline the sitter’s expectations beforehand, contact your vet to let them know you’ll be away and you’re leaving your pet with a sitter, and leave emergency contact info if your sitter cannot get ahold of you.

If you choose to board, you need to a pick a boarding facility with plenty of amenities and a home-y feel. The last thing you need to worry about is whether or not you left your pet in the best possible care. We recommend visiting the kennel beforehand to evaluate cleanliness, security, safety, supervision, immunization requirements and healthcare practices.

Ready to travel?

Keeping your pet safe, healthy and comfortable while traveling takes quite a bit of planning and preparation, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Whether you bring your pet along, leave them at home to hold down the fort or send them to a kennel, knowing what steps to take to ensure a smooth process will them happy and give you peace of mind.

Looking for a boarding facility?

If you choose to board your pet, book them a luxurious stay with Priority Boarding & Daycare! With a highly trained staff, world-class sanitization and safety measures and customizable additions, you can have peace of mind your pet will enjoy the five-star vacation experience they deserve. Located just minutes away from the Indianapolis International Airport, our veterinarian-owned facility makes the boarding experience as easy as possible so you can focus on getting to your destination. Reservations are filling quickly, so book with us now before our spots fill up!