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Anna Marie

How to avoid the biggest pet-travel mistakes this holiday season

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Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

With the holiday travel season revving up many of us will be looking down at furry, brown-eyed loved ones and considering bringing them along for the ride.


As you’re busy making plans for your four-legged friends holiday excursions the best advice to keep in mind is, “think kids” says Dr. Kerri Marshall, Chief Veterinarian Officer with

To many of us our pets are our kids. That same outlook is important to have when traveling. Just like advance planning is necessary when traveling with children, the same holds true for Fido and Fluffy.

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According to Dr. Marshall by following a few simple suggestions the holiday travel season will be a happy and safe one for our animals.

A few tips Dr. Marshall shared with me include;

Take practice trips – this is especially important for pets that have never traveled before, and for pets who become car sick and need time to get used to the motion of the car.

Buckle up your pet – there are many options available to keep pets safe inside vehicles, including harnesses that attach to the seat belt and will keep them restrained in the event of an accident. Cats should always be kept inside carriers as they can easily panic and cause distraction to the driver.

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Think “kids” – Air bags can injure or even kill your pet, so follow the same guidelines as children and keep them in the back seat safely buckled in.

Schedule extra time – Be prepared to stop every two hours or so to allow your pet to take a break, stretch his legs and drink some water.

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Flying with pets takes additional advance planning.

A visit to the vet is in order to obtain a certificate of health and shot records. If you’re traveling internationally a form 7001 is needed before departing.

It’s also important to consider how flying may affect your dog or cat. Some animals fly like champions, others find the process entirely too stressful. Talk with your vet and take into consideration your pet’s temperament when making plans.

Additionally, airlines have size limitations on pets traveling with owners in the plane’s cabin. The carrier and pet’s combined weight must not exceed 20 pounds. Larger pets and carriers will need to fly in the cargo area.

Should you decide flying is the best mode of transportation, be sure to label your pet’s carrier adequately and include the animal’s name. Something as simple as being able to call your pet by name may make a world of difference should a baggage handler need to calm him.

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Whether traveling by car or plane you may need overnight accommodations. It’s always advisable to contact hotels prior to your journey. Not all hotels welcome four-legged family members. While some chains such as Hilton and Best Western do allow dogs and cats there are often restrictions on size and number of pets.

Remember “pets welcomed” isn’t the same as “pet-friendly” so do your research before booking.

When traveling out of town it’s important to have your pet micro-chipped. It’s a simple and inexpensive procedure and substantially increases the odds of being reunited should you and your pet become separated on vacation.

Our pets are important family members so while you’re busy making arrangements for your holiday get-away be certain to take time and sure up travel plans for the furry family members.

As Dr. Marshall emphasizes, “prepare and do your research ahead of time for happy, safe and stress-free pet travel.”

If you like this, please share it with your friends.  As always, Happy Travels!

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33 thoughts on “How to avoid the biggest pet-travel mistakes this holiday season”

  1. True! On top of everything, make microchipping a must when you want to take your furry kid for a vacation. They may also need extra extra care and attention, knowing that they will be meeting with many strangers along the way.

  2. Great information! I don’t do a lot of overnight traveling with my pets, and I don’t think I could ever put them in the cargo area of a plane so I don’t have to worry about that too much. The thing that I always seem to forget is their food though, so I usually end up driving around trying to find a store that sells their brand.

  3. These are great tips. Traveling with my dog is a hassle, it’s hard to keep him in his seat, and I feel like he is going to jump out or get hurt from a car accident. I never really thought of treating him like a human. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Thank you for this article.I’v been planning for a trip this summer and have been doing trial trips for my dog.He’s been reacting well with some scent techniques.But I’m still nervous about getting him on an airplane.

  5. Such Cute Photos! Thanks for writing this.Other pet owners should learn from your article and treat their pets with special care when traveling, and not like a piece of luggage.You’re right about the seat belts for pets,its not just for their safety but for ours too.My dog gets so jittery in the car that its sometimes distracting.Thanks again!

  6. Research is really your best friend, well – second best friend :), when travelling. My dog would be flying with me for the first time and I think your naming the “pet’s carrier” is a smart idea.

  7. Nice and really informative post. I definitely agree with the point of ‘think kids’. We need to think and treat our pet as our own child to make sure that they stay health and safe

  8. I find it a bit of a hassle though. It is difficult to carry your pets around on vacation. They might get sick or feel distraught. Whenever my family went out for vacation we always have some of our well trusted neighbor watch over the dog and cats to make sure they are properly fed and taken care of. That way, we have someone to watch over our house too but we never give out the house key only the key to the front gate. I hope it helps too.

  9. So cute! Traveling with those you love (could also be your pet) is one of the most wonderful experiences you can treasure for a lifetime. Thanks for the tips. It is very helpful!

  10. Very interesting topic on traveling with your pet. Thank you for the common mistakes section. Have you seen this other site on training your dog? Very useful information on how to train your dog.

  11. Great information for everyone going to plan for a travel with their pets and yes these are our kids so we have to take care of them keep track of what they are doing should be our priority.
    I think adding some micro chip for keeping them around you is a very good idea especially for dogs.

  12. This post contains huge valuable information on our pets. This article can help by preventing risk. Truly its a nice job. Thank you for sharing with us. This will certainly help all pet owners.

  13. Thank you for the information on explaining the difference in Pets Welcome and Pet Friendly traveling. You are so right and I will add a link to this on our new website. We are creating a website for pet owners traveling to the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area.

  14. It is very important to make your pet familiarize before flying because it happened with me that my dog got frightened and it was horrible for him . And ll because i was not aware of this fact.

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