4 pet travel safety tips


What to know when your furry best friends accompanies you while traveling this holiday season

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nimito / stock.adobe.com

With celebrating the holidays, comes traveling both short and far distances to visit loved ones. As your furry friends tag along on the expedition, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Heart + Paw, George Melillo, VMD, offered tips and tricks to keep in mind for safely transporting them this season1:

  • Familiarize yourself with airline regulations: Each airline has unique regulations for pet travel that can be found on the airline’s website. When on an airplane, it is recommended that pets travel with passengers rather than in cargo, though larger dogs must do the latter. Ensure the pet’s carrier has the contact information of the pet owner and someone at the travel destination, plus emergency contact information. With a rising number of delays or cancellations, it’s ideal to plan for this and have a carrier that won't make these challenges any more stressful.
  • Obtain health Certificates: As health concerns are on the rise, many airlines and transportation means are requiring pet USDA Health Certificates. It's advised to contact your local veterinarian as soon as travel details are confirmed since the process can take a while.
  • Choose an ideal carrier: A carrier should ensure the pet remains comfortable, secure, and safe. Some other features it should have include being waterproof, easy to clean, and large enough for a pet to stand and turn around in. The pet should be acclimated to the carrier before travel so they recognize it as a place of refuge. Determine if the carrier is convenient to carry with your other luggage as carriers on wheels and backpack versions are available so both you and your pet can have a comfortable experience.
  • Consult with your veterinarian: Because travel may be a stressful experience for pets, talk with your veterinarian about any plans so they can help you make accommodations, particularly if there are any medical concerns. For example, anxious pets may need carriers that offer a sense of security (eg, less openings or exposure to external stimuli). A pet owner might consider a sedative if their pet seems anxious throughout regular travel. Be sure to use pet relief areas at rest stops and airports to help offer pets comfort and familiarity during travel.


4 tips for traveling safely with your pet this holiday season from Dr. George Melillo of Heart + Paw. News release. Heart + Paw. December 8, 2022. Accessed December 23, 2022.

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