Considering our pets are basically family, it only makes sense that we would want them to join us when we travel for the holidays. As much fun as it sounds like, though, having your dog tag along with you can easily become more of a burden than a blessing if you haven’t fully thought out a plan. Here are eight things you should take into consideration before embarking on a journey with your dog.

Make Sure They Have Identification

Even if you don’t normally have to worry about your dog running away at home, under unordinary circumstances, your pet may be easily spooked and more likely to run away. Especially if they are traveling in a new place. While you can’t prevent them from running, you can increase your chances of having that happy reunion after someone finds them. In addition to their typical name tag, consider giving them a temporary tag listing the address where you’ll be staying for the holidays along with the phone number you’ll answer away from home. There’s no point in having your home phone number on their tag if you aren’t home to answer a call. Also, if you are traveling by plane, label your dog’s carrier with your name, a picture of them, and your cell phone number so they can easily be paired with you following being held in the cargo area.

Consult Your Veterinarian

Unless your pet is older, they should be fine to travel most places without vet approval. However, if you are planning to travel on a plane, you may be required to show proof that your dog is up to date on their shots and vaccinations. If you are unsure if your dog is missing any of its vaccinations, call your primary vet to check your dog’s records and provide you with a copy.

Secure Them for a Safe Travel

When traveling, your dog won’t want to be thrown around for hours in either a car or plane. To prevent your dog from feeling uncomfortable, especially on long trips, consider putting them in a carrier or connect a seat belt to their harness. Pet stores also sell a special insert for you car that will prevent them from falling between the seats or onto the floor board.

Before purchasing a harness, undergo extensive research so you know which are the safest for protecting your dog in the event of a car crash. If you are going on a long road trip and your dog is not used to the car, prepare them beforehand by taking them on smaller trips around town. That way they become more familiar and comfortable. On the other hand, if you are flying, make sure your carrier is a USDA-approved shipping crate that will allow them plenty of room to move around during the flight.

Pack the Necessities (and the Goodies)

Most dogs don’t deal well with change, which is why it is important for you to bring their usual food and bowls along with you. In addition to other necessities such as their leash and any medications, you should also pack their blankets, bed, and favorite toys to make them extra happy and comfortable in a new environment. And if you are traveling somewhere cold for the holidays, be sure to pack a nice cozy coat.

Keep Them Calm and Happy

Dogs, like us, can get stressed from time to time. Traveling is no exception to this. In the event that they do not feel calm, be prepared by giving them calming pills or stress jackets. Things that smell like home will also help comfort when on the ride or in a new environment.

Prepare for Any Possible Surprises

Don’t count on being the only dog lover during your holiday gathering. Before you leave your home, check up with those you’re visiting with. Will they have animals? Do they have a good temperament? Having dogs together that don’t get along will make the holidays pass slower, but not in a good way. If you know there could be an issue, either leave your pet at home or pack a crate that can allow you to separate the pets when necessary.

If Flying, Book a Direct Flight

Booking a direct flight will ensure your pet won’t be mishandled during any possible layovers. It will also keep them from experiencing too many climate changes that could be harmful to their bodies.

Plan for Lots of Stops

With every trip comes multiple pit stops, but traveling with a pet includes making even more. During each stop, allow your dog to refresh with water and get some of its energy out by running around. Take this time to stretch your legs by playing with them. Keep in mind that the more you stop, the less likely they are to have any accidents in the car.

Set the Trip Up for Success (Last Minute Tips)

Before even getting in the car, a great way to ensure your trip goes well is by wearing your canine companion out beforehand. Have them run around and play as much as their heart desires so they will be calm and relaxed.
Let them eat at least a couple hours before the trip so they don’t get carsick and get to go potty before the long journey ahead.

Prepare for absolutely everything so nothing bad happens (review this blog if you need to. We understand.)
Bringing your pet with you is only stressful if you let it be. (That’s where these tips come in handy.)
With the proper preparation, you can spend the holidays happily together.

Looking for an adventure to go on with your pup? It doesn’t have to be a holiday for you to travel. Roll’N South has plenty of events you can take a roadtrip to all year round! Like our Facebook page to stay up to date with all the latest Southern events and more.