Keep the “Happy” in Holiday Travel with Pets

Anyone with a pet knows that as much as we may love to travel, they would rather be at home…especially if they happen to be a kitty!  Visiting family at the holidays often inspires us to include our four legged friends.  Safety in travel takes on new significance when pets are involved.  Preparation should include proper equipment to transport your pet geared to the type of vehicle they’ll be traveling in.


Dogs should never travel in a car without being contained in a safe restraint…a crate attached to the interior of the vehicle, or an approved car seat.

Cats should never roam free inside a car…their safety depends on a carrier or crate!  Planning your route will need to include frequent stops for potty and exercise, and overnight road trips will require reservations at pet friendly hotels.  Spontaneity doesn’t really work when there are pets on board! 

Leading up to a trip, it’s important to familiarize pets with the crate/carrier they’ll be occupying, long before their travel day arrives.  Leave these containers out for weeks leading up to your trip, and line them with their favorite blanket and toys.  Allowing pets to go in and out of the crate/carrier at will turns them into “safe zones” for nesting, and helps remove some of the fear of the unknown.

Airline travel presents a different set of challenges.  Your first hurdle involves getting through security!  Pets need to be screened, too, and cats often take this portion of the trip personally!  Ask to be screened in a private room…if kitty makes a run for it you won’t risk having him disappear in the terminal!  While each airline details their rules and restrictions on pet travel, it’s always safest to keep your pet in the cabin with you.  Every year pets are lost/mishandled by airline personnel, and sadly stories of pets who die during transport in the cargo portion of the aircraft are reported. The Humane Society offers comprehensive tips for pet travel.

It is extremely important to remember that every trip with your pet should begin with a visit to your Veterinarian.  Before you leave home, you want to make sure they’re up to date on their vaccinations, microchipped in case they become separated from you, and generally in good health.  Additionally, your Veterinarian can counsel you on the use of behavior targeted products designed to increase a pet’s sense of well-being and security when they’re in an unfamiliar environment or subjected to stressful situations.  For pets who require more, your Veterinarian can provide prescription medications used to reduce anxiety and fear, and support safe travel.  Commercial forms of transportation will also require a Travel Certificate from your Veterinarian confirming that the pet is safe to travel.

Travel with your pets involves planning, and preparation.  Don’t wait…begin your journey by calling Bayshore Veterinary Hospital at (732) 671-3110, and scheduling an appointment with one of our Veterinarians.