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Traveling for the holidays with your dog

Planning on bringing your dog along while traveling for the holidays? Here are a few tips to make it a safe and happy trip for your dog.

Taking your pet along during your holiday traveling can be an enjoyable experience for you and your dog. If you are planning to go out of the country, or are flying, be sure to check on the requirements for your dog according to that country or state.  For extending traveling, it is always a good idea to have a veterinarian perform a full physical exam to determine if there is anything that might affect your dog during travel and they will also update all vaccines.  Be sure to bring along a few familiar things for your pet such as their bed, a few toys and their own food.  Traveling can be a stressful time if your dog is not used to it.  

If you are traveling by car, the safest thing is for your pet to be in a crate or a doggie seatbelt.  This is for your dog's safety and your own as a rowdy puppy can be a huge distraction while driving.  If you chose to have them ride in a crate, make sure it is large enough for them to comfortably lay down and be able to get up and turn around.  Put something comfortable for them to lay on, preferably something absorbent as accidents sometimes happen when they get nervous.  If your dog gets car-sick, there is a great medication called Cerenia that can be given prior to travel and can help prevent your pet from feeling nauseous.  If your dog doesn't travel in the car very often you may want to start getting them prepared by taking a few short car rides to the park or somewhere fun just to get them used to the car.

If you are traveling by plane, you will definitely need an airline approved dog crate.  Each airline has their own requirements so be sure to check with the airline well in advance.  You will also be required to get a health certificate from your veterinarian stating that they are current on vaccines and healthy for travel.  Some airlines will not transport dogs when it is extremely hot or cold so that is something to keep in mind as well.  Most airlines will let small dogs ride in a crate up with you, for a fee of course.

If you are planning on staying in a hotel during your stay, find out in advance which hotels accept dogs.  Many do not and the ones that do quite often have a size restriction.  There are lots of websites out there to help you find a pet friendly hotel (petswelcome.com, dogfriendly.com, bringfido.com and others).  Just remember that you are usually not permitted to leave your dog unattended in the room.  Be sure to bring in your dog's bed and their crate if they need it to make them feel at home.

It's also extremely important to make sure your pet has identification on.  It's all to easy for your dog to slip out of his collar when out for a potty break or slide out when you open the hotel room door.  It is recommended that your dog not only have a collar with an ID tag but also have a microchip.  These can help someone who finds your dog get them safely back to you.  If your pet gets too upset or anxious on your travels, you can always request a mild sedative or anti-anxiety medication from your veterinarian (this can be helpful for car travel, but may not be recommended when flying).  However you choose to travel, your pet will love you for bringing them along!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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