PhotoWill your pet be traveling with you to your Thanksgiving Day destination? If so, you might already be thinking of ways to ensure their safety throughout the journey. Traveling with pets comes with many considerations, no matter what mode of transportation you choose.

There are many factors that could increase their risk for accidents and injuries. According to Dr. Sarah Nold, on-staff veterinarian for Trupanion, long car trips can cause dogs to become restless or car sick, while traveling by air may not be safe for every dog.

There are more risks, still, once you’ve made it to your destination. Nold says Trupanion sees a 10% spike in the number of foreign body ingestion claims in November and December, likely because pets seize the opportunity to make a snack out of things they shouldn’t (namely gifts, decorations, and big meals).

But making the journey to and from your destination can be a challenge in itself. To make sure your pet stays safe, Nold recommends first laying out a plan for pet-friendly travel.  

Travel safety tips

Before boarding the plane, train, or car with your pet, Nold urges owners to weigh their options and consider safety risks. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before traveling with your pets:
  • Should you fly? If your pet can’t be in the cabin with you, Nold says flying may not be your best option. Make sure to check carrier policies. Pet owners should also schedule a visit with a veterinarian within ten days of flying as airlines require a health certificate to fly with a pet.
  • If traveling by car. Not every pup enjoys long car rides -- but even if yours does, it’s important to make sure he gets plenty of time in the car during the weeks leading up to the trip. Squeezing in a few test runs can help prevent your pet from becoming restless or car sick during the trip itself.
  • At hotels. You may have looked for the words “pets allowed” when booking your hotel, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s pet friendly. Make sure your pooch will have a place to stretch his legs by choosing a hotel with a large grassy area nearby. Some hotels may even offer extra services, such as dog walking or pet beds.

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