Traveling With Pets: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Furry Friends Safe This Holiday Season

Traveling with your pets this holiday season? Here are a couple of pointers to help ensure that both you and your pet arrive safely to your destination.

If you are planning to fly with your pet read the following recommendations below from Continental Airlines. For more information, please visit

Please note: Other airlines may have different pet travel policies. Please be sure to check with your airline for specific details prior to your departure.

  • Take a long leash and collar for walking your pet prior to departure, and upon arrival.
  • Include identification tags with your home address and phone number as well as the address and phone number of your destination.
  • Check Temperatures: Remember to check with their Live Animal Desk (1.800.575.3335 or 281.553.5052) prior to departing for the airport to verify that temperatures are within acceptable ranges and arrive at the airport early. If you pet is traveling as QUICKPAK®, check-in will be at the airport. If your pet is traveling via Cargo, you will need to bring your animal to their Cargo facility. Most often it is located in a separate building than the airport terminal.
  • Keep your animal as calm as possible prior to the flight. A walk immediately prior to departure is a good idea. For cats, disposable litter boxes are available at pet supply shops and are easy to take along.
  • Comfort Stops: Continental will mandate a rest stop (kenneling) for any warm-blooded animal that will be in transit for 18 hours or longer. The transit time starts at tender time through recovery (which could be up to 2 hours after arrival at final destination). The shipper will be responsible for the kenneling charges and they will make the comfort stop arrangements.

If you are planning to travel by car, read the following recommendations below from the ASPCA. For more information, visit

  • Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And P.S., it’s smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
  • Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. And please be sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
  • Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle—even if it is a long drive.
  • Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • What’s in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
  • Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.
  • Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. This can subject him to inner ear damage and lung infections, and he could be injured by flying objects. And please keep him in the back seat in his crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle.
  • Traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to be on the safe side.
  • When it comes to H2O, we say BYO. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area he’s not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.
  • If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.

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