Holiday season is also travel season. More people travel by car during the Thanksgiving weekend than any other time of year. A lot of folks will be taking their dogs with them on the holiday trip. Here are few tips and reminders to make the holiday trip safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

The first and perhaps most important tip is to get your dog used to car travel before the trip. Start small with short trips to get him used to traveling in the car. If he only gets in the car to go to the vet’s office; he may associate the car with the vet and react with fear. Try taking him on short trips to a nearby park so he can begin to associate the car with something pleasant.

Make sure your dog has a tag with your contact information. Phone numbers must include the area code. We always suggest that a dog’s tag should only contain the information that a finder needs to contact you, NOT the dog’s name.

Make a check list of the things your dog needs to travel with you. Some of the necessary items are:

Water & bowl.
Food & bowl.
Treats
A familiar toy.
Collar & tags
Long & Short leads.
Medications.
Waste bags.
A familiar blanket or pillow.

You should consider using some kind of restraint while your dog is travelling in your car. Seatbelt harnesses and dog car-seats are great for smaller dogs. A well secured travel crate is a good, safe way to transport your dog and he will probably feel safer in his crate then he would otherwise, especially if he is already accustomed to sleeping in a crate. The travel crate also makes a great doghouse while you’re at your destination. It can give the dog a place to relax and escape from over-enthusiastic children or pets you might encounter while traveling or during your visit.

Nearly all dogs love to put their heads out the car window and feel the air rushing by. The dangers are fairly obvious. Your dog could be hit by flying debris or bugs. Just remember that it’s a lot easier to fix a chipped windshield than it is to fix a dog that gets hit by a flying rock!

It is now illegal in some states to leave a dog unattended in a car for any length of time. If you’re travelling out of state you need to check the laws in that state. Even if your destination is inside our state, please be very careful about leaving your dog unattended in your vehicle. We’ve all heard the horror stories about dogs that are left to suffer and die inside cars during hot or cold weather. The added stress that sometimes comes with the holidays makes it easier to forget a dog in the car and tragedy can strike faster than you might think.

One more important tip is to remember to give your dog frequent breaks to empty himself and stretch. A ten minute break every three hours isn’t much to ask and it might make all the difference between an enjoyable trip and an unbearable ordeal.

Whether you’re home for the holidays or traveling across the country we wish you and your four legged friends a safe and happy holiday season!