Traveling With Your Pet This Holiday? Bone Voyage!

Fido would love to come along. Here are five tips to help make your job as a pet parent easier.
Traveling With Your Pet This Holiday? Bone Voyage!
Image credit: Inti St. Clair | Getty Images
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It’s no secret that dogs love new smells to explore. Dogs are all about smells. And the holidays provide your pet many new smells to explore, particularly if you're going on the road together.

Related: Fido Takes a Business Trip

Besides, traveling home for the holidays this month just wouldn't be the same without faithful Fido by your side: Dogs make the best travel companions because they never object to your restaurant choices, lose the reservations or hog the radio.

And while sniffing out new destinations with your canine sidekick is a fun adventure, worrying about your co-pilot’s well-being the whole time shouldn't be your main focus. Certainly, travel can cause overwhelming anxiety in inexperienced pets, but a little planning, protecting and poop-proofing will lead to smooth sailing (and many memories) for miles to come. Here's how.

1. Plan what to bring, to ensure Fido's road-trip bliss.

Travel, especially in the car, is stressful for many pets, which can become easily confused and frightened. This may mean that you, at the wheel, spend your time being both pet parent and taxi driver, dividing your focus between the road and your fur baby, which is an accident waiting to happen. To prevent any faux-paws, here are a few ways to calm frightened pets on a road trip:

  • Invest in an “away toy”-- a great way to keep pets distracted for many miles to come
  • Bring your dog's bed with him, and let him lie on it, wherever he’ll be riding. His bed will give him the familiarity that will soothe his nerves. Smells like home . . .
  • Collapsible pet bowls are a great way to keep pups full and hydrated during stop and go’s. They fit compactly in a purse or gym bag when not in use, and pop out to become a full-on watering holes for pit stops.
  • Bring your furry friend’s regular cuisine, too. The key to comforting pets away from home is sticking to their routine as much as possible. Even if switching to wet food might be more convenient on the road, now is not the time to switch Fido’s food! (You’ll thank us later.)
  • Scout out off-leash dog parks before you leave, to periodically release pent-up energy and stress. A pup with 30 minutes of hardcore play under his fur-belt will be too tired to stress.
  • For big dogs, a dog safety belt or pet harness is a must-have. A wide range of onboard harnesses allow freedom of movement while making sure that he doesn’t end up under the floorboards.

Related: Some Non-Human Apps For Your Non-Human Friend

2. Schedule a vet check-up beforehand.

If you plan on taking your pet on a long distance trip, a vet check-up is a must. Explain your travel plans in detail to your veterinarian and ask if your fur child will be able to handle the stress that comes with unfamiliar noises, movements, and smells. At the vet, make sure your pets’ vaccines and pet tags are properly registered and up to date.

We may want to have our best friends with us while we travel, but be sure to plan ahead and ask yourself, “Will traveling cause more stress to my pet than traveling with him is worth?”

3. Run through your trip.

If your pet is new to traveling, you may want to see how he or she holds up. Consider putting your pup in a carrier (jumpy cats should always be in a carrier) and go for an hour drive. How pets handle that initial drive is indicative of how well they will adjust to life on the road. If driving is overly stressful, flying on a plane will be even more so. Consider a Plan B!

4. Protect the whole family with pet insurance.

Image credit: Figo Pet Insurasnce

Plans available include Figo, Trupanion and Pet Plan.

After all, health emergencies can happen to anyone at any time -- including furry family members. These days, pet healthcare can be incredibly expensive, forcing pet parents to make difficult (and sometimes devastating) choices.

Many of these plans are accepted at any licensed veterinary practice across the United States.

Figo's convenient plans, for example, include full coverage with no limits; reimbursement up to 100 percent; and affordable customizable plans. Plus, the Pet Cloud (see below) makes traveling a breeze.

5. If you decide to hit the road, look up at the cloud.

Eliminate stress with apps like Figo’s Pet Cloud. The app allows you to find pet-friendly hotels, emergency vets, off-leash dog parks and more when you hit the road. Additionally, the Figo Cloud stores all your pet medical records, which you should never leave home without. Should you need them while on the road, they’ll be waiting on your smartphone. Finally, we recommend looking for pet-friendly options before you leave so you and your pet will feel at home no matter where you roam.

Related: For a Productive Workplace Let Your Office Go to the Dogs

Bone Voyage!

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