Holiday Travel with Animals
The holiday season is fast approaching, and fall holidays often mean travel. If you have travel plans this holiday season, you may be wondering whether or not to bring your animal companion along. You know you will miss your furry friend terribly if you don’t, but is it best for your animal to travel with you or to stay home with a trusted care provider? The answer depends on a number of factors, including your animal’s temperament, your mode of transportation, and for how long you will be gone.
Some animals do great with traveling. They love being with you and they love going places. Other animals can get very disturbed by the change in routine and all the new experiences. So, the first step to deciding whether or not to bring your animal companion to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving is to consider your animal. If you have a laid-back bunny who seems indifferent to loud noises and new places, then maybe a plane ride wouldn’t be so bad. But if you have a high-strung kitty who practically needs to be sedated for a car ride to the veterinarian’s office, then you would probably want to leave him or her at home. It is also important to consider any specific health needs your animal may have, from allergies to chronic illnesses requiring regular medications. Will you be able to meet your animal’s health needs on route? Will the stress of traveling a long distance be too hard on your furry friend?
If it seems that your animal wouldn’t mind traveling and has no significant health considerations, the next step is to decide how to get where you’re going. If you are traveling a long distance and you need to goby airplane, you might want to consider strongly leaving your animal at home. Airlines typically require animals to travel in cargo, which can get extremely cold or extremely hot, often moving between temperatures rather quickly. This can cause significant health problems for your animal and some animals have not survived the drastic temperature fluctuations of air travel. In addition, it is dark and loud in the cargo hold, and your animal will likely be quite scared in this unfamiliar environment without you. Some airlines do allow certain types and sizes of animals to travel in the passenger cabin and some even allow you to purchase a seat for your animal. In either case, however, your animal will still need to remain crated throughout the flight and the air pressure fluctuations are likely to cause anxiety and ear pain. If you must fly with your animal, try to find an airline that allows you to bring him or her into the passenger cabin with you and do what you can to make your animal comfortable. We recommend using Earth Animal’s Nature’s Comfort Zen Pen or ZenTabs to help ease your dog or cat’s anxiety. However, keep in mind that you should never sedate or tranquilize your animal for air travel as this could inhibit respiration and prevent them from being able to stop themselves from falling during turbulence or a rough take-off or landing. Our Nature’s Comfort line is a safe way to help your animal feel calm.
If traveling by car, remember to keep your animal restrained to avoid injury to both of you. You can keep your animal in his or crate or use a specially designed restraint system. Remember to take enough bathroom breaks and to stop to stretch and play on long rides so neither of you will get stiff and bored.
If you choose to travel without your animal, always hire a trusted sitter or facility that is experienced and trained to care for your particular animal and his or her specific needs. If you have an animal with allergies or a chronic illness, you will need someone trained in administering medications. Be sure that the sitter or facility is highly recommended by trusted sources and consider doing a trial run before the big trip to ease the separation anxiety for both you and your animal companion.
Happy holidays and safe travels to you and your best animal friend.