Christmas is just around the corner, and while you may be looking forward to heading away to the batch, or to stay with family or friends, your pet may not share your enthusiasm. Travel for our companion animals is often stressful, which is why it’s so important you plan ahead. In fact, preparation can’t start early enough, so check out our tips below, and make the journey as comfortable as possible for your best-loved animal buddy.
Your pet will be visiting new places where they may encounter a range of animals they’ve never met before. Call your vet well ahead of travel to check whether your animal’s vaccinations are up to date, and if any new ones are required (for example, if you live in town, and will be visiting a farm, your vet may suggest additional vaccinations, or medications handy to have on hand). If you haven’t already had your pet microchipped, there’s no better time to do it. While you’re at it, ask about any recommended treatments to sooth your pet while on the road (or in the air). And be sure to find out the contact details and holiday opening hours of the vet closest to where you’ll be staying (just in case you need them).
If you’re driving to your destination, you’ll want to check on your pet at regular intervals. Check out your route for cool public spaces where your animal can get some fresh air (and exercise, if appropriate), and where it will be easy for you to offer them food and water. You’ll need refreshments too, and you won’t want to leave you pet, unattended, in your vehicle, so Google websites, such as, TheWoof to learn which establishments welcome pets. If you’ll be overnighting along the way, head to Pet Friendly Stays for suggestions.
Don’t leave it until the last minute to introduce your pet to their travel carrier or crate. It will be less stressful for them if they are familiar with it, so take it into your house, and leave treats inside it for them to find.
Plan your travel so it takes advantage of naturally cool parts of the day. To manage the heat, you may even like to consider travelling during the early part of the night.
Gather all the items you’ll need, and place them in one easy-to-reach spot in your vehicle. Don’t forget towels and wet wipes for clean-ups, a favourite rug or toy (with the soothing smells of home), travel treats, food and water, medications, leads, and doggie bags. Place an absorbent layer both in the carrier or crate, and also underneath. Pack rubbish bags in which to place soiled items.
Get in first
Animals have a way of knowing you need to find them, and often do a vanishing act just when you’re ready to place them in their carriers or crates. Don’t leave it to the last minute to track them down, or your trip may be delayed.
Buckle them in
Where possible, ensure your pet carrier or crate is secured with a safety belt. That way, any sudden stops won’t be a concern. If a seatbelt isn’t do-able, a harness can help keep an animal secured.
Animals can experience motion sickness, too, so avoid feeding your pet in the 2 hours before you head out (don’t restrict water, though). If you know your pet will be peckish, offer them small, regular snacks along the way, rather than one bulky meal.
Keep calm and carry on!
Animals sense when you’re anxious, and it can make them nervous, too. Pack your car the night before you leave. Move quietly about the house in the hours before you depart. Leave time to take your pet for a short walk, or to have them close to you. It will help to sooth them.
Holidays for both you and your pet, can be fun – and it all starts with getting to your destination safely and comfortably. You can do this!