The holidays are one of the peak seasons for travel, and with a little planning; it can be the perfect time to take your furry family member with you. Whether you are off on a ski vacation, visiting family or perhaps enjoying a coastal road trip during the holidays, having your best friend along can make the trip more fun and enjoyable.

Here are some holiday travel tips for you and your pooch –

Pet Identification – Keep Your Pet Safe
Be sure to consider your dog’s identification before you leave. Should your dog be accidently separated from you, it is crucial that your dog be identified. More than 80% of unidentified pets who are lost are never reunited with their owners. That is a scary number and should be taken seriously.  Use pet ID tags with your cell phone number are great since there will not be anyone at home to answer the phone. If you are going to be spending a couple of weeks in one place, consider buying a second Pet ID tag with the contact information on where you will be staying.

Get a good pet crate or carrier                                                                                                                                                                        Crates are a great way to keep your pet safe when traveling in the car. Unless your pooch is confined or harnessed, their behavior can cause distraction to the driver. As much as you may like to have your little cutie-pie in your lap, it can be detrimental to the safety of the dog, the driver, and the passengers. A collision, even at a slow speed, can seriously injure an unrestrained pet.  It is much safer to buckle them in or confine them in a crate.  If your pup is not yet using a crate, buy your crate well in advance of your trip so that your dog can get used to it before you travel. For a few days leave the crate open and put treats and a favorite toy inside. After seeing that your dog is comfortable, try closing the door for a short period of time and increase the length of time slowly over a week or two. With lots of praise and treats, most fur-kids adjust to a crate very well.

Don’t leave your dog alone in the car!                                                                                                                                                                                    If it is very warm or very cold, do not leave your dog in the car alone.   In hot climates, temperatures in an automobile can climb very quickly even when the windows are slightly open. No matter where you are when you travel, when you leave, your pet will react by trying to find you. Should they escape from their tethers, they will be at great risk.

Bring food and water
When you are traveling, be prepared by having a supply of water in portable
pet water food bowls. You may not find the brand of food that your dog is accustomed to where you are going, so bring extra food with you.

Know your hotel
If you will be staying in a hotel, call and ask them about their pet policy. Avoid surprises when you arrive. A great majority of
pet friendly hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts accept pets but they do not always accept all types and sizes. It is important to make your reservations in advance.  If you need to leave your pooch behind when you go to dinner, a crate is the proper place for them to stay while you are away.  Make sure that the crate is large enough so that your dog can stand up and turn around.  It is also a good idea to place an absorbent pad in the bottom of the crate that will keep your doggie dry in case of accidents.

Know your airline’s pet policy
If you are traveling by air, it can be stressful for both you and your dog if you do not plan ahead. Make your reservations early and know your
airline’s pet policy so there will be no surprises at the airport that could ruin your vacation. Each airline is slightly different in their requirements regarding vaccine and health certificates so make sure you know what is required well before your travel date and have the appropriate paperwork on hand.  Small dogs can travel in the cabin of the aircraft with you in an airline compliant pet carrier. We do not recommend flying with your dog in the cargo area of the aircraft as it is sure to be scary for the dog and can be dangerous as well. 

Keep calm                                                                                                                                                                                                                   We do not recommend medical tranquilizers for your dog and instead recommend giving them an all-natural product that makes them less anxious such as Pet Naturals “Calming Chews” or “Rescue Remedy”.

Learn about your destination
Research pet services in your destination. Find the nearest veterinarian. Find the nearest dog parks and pet friendly restaurants. International destinations require special
veterinary certificates. When traveling to most countries, there will be no quarantine of your pet, but you must have the proper forms. Advance planning pays off when you arrive at your destination.

Keep it normal                                                                                                                                                                                When traveling, keep your dog on their normal schedule by feeding them and taking them for their “walk” as close to the regular time as possible. Be sure to pack a supply of plastic bags to take along on your walks.  Realize that your dog is out of their normal surroundings, so be sure and keep them on a leash and watch them closely. Reassure them should they show signs of nervousness or anxiety.

Be considerate                                                                                                                                                                          Although there are many dog lovers in this world, there are some that do not feel comfortable around dogs. Respect others by restraining your pet when necessary.

So whether your destination is a mountain cabin, Grandma’s house or a cottage by the sea, your furry best friend can enjoy the holidays with you in safety and comfort with the proper planning.