Traveling over the holidays, with your pets

Despite being filled with festivities and cheer, the holiday season can get pretty stressful. Traveling can create an additional element of stress, and when you add a pet to the mix, and.. well, things can get downright chaotic.

Are you one of the 103 million Americans expected to travel during this season? If you’re venturing away from Denver to visit with family this month, you are part of a growing trend fueled largely by rising wages and low gas prices. In fact, AAA is reporting an anticipated 1.5 percent increase in holiday travelers over 2015.  

Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be a complete disaster, as long as you’re equipped with a flexible and realistic mindset.

Brainstorm your pet’s needs before the trip

The most important part of traveling with a pet is making sure that they’re able to travel with a reasonable level of comfort. If you have a dog that gets severe anxiety in new places or around new people, it might be better to arrange for pet-sitting services in Denver and leave Fido at home.

Take a moment to visualize your pet’s likely experience throughout the trip. Will they be left alone in a hotel room for hours on end? Will the host at your destination be pet-friendly? Is there enough room in your vehicle, or are there layovers on your holiday flight?

In addition to vaccination records and other identification, you’ll need to bring your pet a supply of food and water from home. It might be difficult to find your pet’s preferred food on the road, and exposure to different water sources can cause discomfort and indigestion. If you’re feeding your pet a raw food diet, or if they’re on medication that must be refrigerated, consider how you will keep such items at a safe temperature.

Traveling with your pet in a car

Ideally, you know how comfortable your pet is on road trips before taking them on a long drive. If they’ve never been in the car first, try taking them on short trips with plenty of positive reinforcement. Most cats do not enjoy car rides; however, if you have an adventurous breed they might like to join you.

Young dogs are susceptible to motion sickness since their equilibrium is still developing. Transport your dog inside a crate with a waterproof bottom to prevent a messy situation if this is a concern for you. Motion sickness in dogs may be relieved or lessened by taking the following steps:


  • Make sure your dog is not looking out the side windows
  • Feed your dog no later than 3-4 hours before departure
  • Provide plenty of water and rest stops throughout the trip


Older dogs may also experience motion sickness, in which case your vet may prescribe something to help. Take care to secure your pet safely inside the vehicle to protect them in case of a collision, and remember that air bags might be dangerous for animals when inflated.

Taking your dog on an airplane

Since regulations vary from airline to airline, it is critical for you to verify specifics ahead of time. Most animals do not do well on long flights, and it is recommended to avoid air travel if at all possible. Be sure to verify your carrier meets requirements, and make a plan in the case your loved one is misplaced during transit.

Note: Most airlines will not allow animals in the cargo hold during extreme temperatures.

Our verdict: hire a pet-sitter

If you’re traveling out-of-state for the holidays this year, it might be better for both you and your pet to leave them in the hands of a trustworthy pet-sitter. Watching after a sick pet will hamper your participation in holiday events, and you will feel guilty for bringing them along if something happens away from home. However, if you’re only going to be in the car for a few hours and your hosts are agreeable, then feel free to bring along your furry friends.

Do you need a pet-sitter in Denver for the holidays? We offer last minute arrangements, cat-sitting, dog-walking, and much more. Feel free to get in touch—we want to help!


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