6 Tips for Easy Holiday Travel with your Dog

6 Tips for Easy Holiday Travel with your Dog

Posted by Brooke Spater on 20th December 2018

There’s
a secret a lot of people don’t know about our co-founder Gordie’s dog, Baxter.
He absolutely hates riding in the
car. He nervously shakes almost every time he gets into the car, and his
family works hard to calm him down on longer road trips to make travel more
relaxing for him. The holidays can be extra tough as he’s part of a large
family, which can mean lots of luggage, multiple stops, and him likely wondering if the trip will ever end.

Whether
your dog likes the car or not, a well thought out travel plan will go a long
way towards making it feel like the most wonderful time of the year for both of
you. According to AAA, more than 54 million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving
in 2018, with 48.5 million of those individuals doing so by car. We know that
many of these people are bringing their dogs along too. We've provided a few tips below to
find out what you can do to make this holiday travel season your easiest one
yet.

1. Make
sure your dog is road trip-ready.
It would have been a
great idea to take Baxter out for a few practice runs before that trying first
road trip where he shook nonstop! Before you think about taking your dog in the
car for a lengthy road trip, try taking him for a short drive. If he seems too anxious
or stressed out by the car, you could consider making plans to leave him home
with a trusted sitter. If leaving him home is not an option, talk with your vet
about anti-anxiety medicine or other ideas they may have for keeping him calm
in the car.

2.
Always keep identification on your pet .
Pets can get
scared easily in a new environment, and, while hopefully your dog won’t run
off, if he does, you need to make sure that whomever finds him will be able to
find you. No matter your method of travel, make sure your dog is always wearing
a collar. Always put ID tags on your dog’s collar too– they are worth every
penny. Additionally, you should consider micro-chipping your pet – while all
pets should wear a collar with contact information, a microchip is the only
form of ID for your pet that is permanent and cannot be lost. Just be sure to
keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.

 

3. Safety
first – especially in the car
. When we leave our driveway,
we buckle up. The same should be true for our dogs. According to a study done
by Kurgo, over 83% of respondents said they know it would be a safer option to
restrain their dog in the car – however, only 16% of respondents do. A dog car harness is a
simple way to restrain your dog in the car, and some, like Kurgo’s Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Smart Harness and Impact Dog Harness, have been crash-tested.
If you want to allow your dog to have some movement, you can also buy other types of car restraints such as an Auto Zip Line or a Backseat Barrier which
will prevent them from getting into the front seat.

4. Make
your pup comfortable.
Having some essentials along for trips
with Baxter always makes him more at ease. If your dog has a favorite type of
treat, pack some for the ride. It is essential to bring along lots of water as
well as food travel bowls for
your dog. Be sure to pack his usual food as changing a dog’s diet when you are
away from home can be a recipe for GI upset. A travel bed will keep him
comfortable and may make him feel less anxious. Finally, if you are traveling
somewhere cold, bring a dog jacket. This will not only keep him
comfortable during the ride but will also ensure he can happily enjoy outdoor
activities once you’ve reached your destination.

 

5. Avoid
air travel if you can.
The Humane Society of the
United States recommends against air travel for pets unless it’s truly
necessary. Air travel can be very stressful for pets, and very dangerous as
well. It can cause oxygen deprivation and heat stroke, or, during the winter
months, hypothermia. If you do need to fly, make sure you double-check all
rules with the airline, and travel with her in the cabin whenever you can. Your
dog will feel less anxious knowing you are right there. Generally, only small
dogs are allowed in airplane cabins, so if your dog does not meet the size
requirements, consider leaving him at a kennel or with a sitter. Additionally,
always be sure to choose a proper carrier as well.

 

6. Watch
out for holiday hazards.
Being in a new environment will require you
to pay special attention to your surroundings so you and your dog aren’t caught
off guard.
An active dog left loose and unsupervised inside can lead to
smashed decorations, an overturned tree, and an annoyed hostess who might not
be inclined to invite you back next year. Many dogs love to chew, and holiday
lights both inside and out can pose a serious risk of electrocution to them. We’ve
also never met a dog who doesn’t love to eat, and ingesting something dangerous
could turn your dreams of relaxing by the fire into a trip to the vet instead.
Both poinsettias and chocolates are at the top of the list, but many types of foods
should be avoided.

Read our Holiday Hazards for Dogs post to
fully educate yourself on what to look out for as well as our Thanksgiving Guide to Leftovers for Your Dog for further details.

Whatever
you do, if you are traveling this holiday season, the best thing you can do is
make sure your dog is safe, so you can both rest easy and have an enjoyable holiday
together. If you would like to see how you and your dog can be everyone’s
favorite duo, also be sure to check out our article on Tips for Being a Considerate House Guest.

What
tips do you have for easy holiday travel with your pet?

Brooke Spater runs Social Media Marketing at Kurgo. Among other things, she manages the Kurgo blog and enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 kids, and 90 lb. Goldendoodle named Baxter.

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