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If you’re planning to travel with your pet this Christmas, you might be wondering how they’ll handle the journey, especially if it’s a long journey. In this article, we discuss ways to keep your pet calm and happy whilst on the road.

So, how do you travel with pets? Firstly, only travel long distances with pets if necessary, and ensure that you are well prepared, and have packed all of the essentials, both for the journey and your destinations. If your pet is an anxious traveller, you may also wish to prepare with medication or behaviour training.

Read on for more tips on how to keep your pets calm and happy when travelling this Christmas.

How to Travel with Pets at Christmas

When travelling with pets, it’s important to remember that you’re taking them out of their usual routine and comfort zone, which can be distressing to some pets. Here’s a few tips for helping to keep your pet calm when you travel home this Christmas.

1. Only Take Them If Necessary

We understand that you might miss your pet whilst you’re away, but it is recommended that you only take them on long journeys if absolutely necessary, i.e. you can’t get someone else, or a professional, to take care of them whilst you’re away.

2. Keep Your Pet Restrained if You’re Driving

This won’t necessarily keep your pet calm, but it’s important to keep your own attention on the road. Restraining your pet means that you don’t have to worry about them moving around the car either in excitement or distress. A harness, basket, or guard rail would work fine for this.

3. Medication

If you already know that your pet gets travel sick, consider speaking with your vet ahead of time to see if there is anything that they can advise to help your pet on the road.

4. Pack Their Favourite Things

Make sure to pack some familiar things to help them settle, both on the road, and at your destination. If you have room, bringing their bed would be ideal, but familiar toys and treats would also help.

5. Drive Carefully and Make Regular Stops

Try to drive smoothly. When pets are unused to travelling by car, erratic driving can be distressing. Also, ensure to stop regularly on long drives so that your pet can get out, use the bathroom, so to speak, and have a little exercise.

Do not leave your pet alone in the car at rest stops, however. Just as extreme heat can be damaging to pets, extreme cold can be just as bad. Pet theft is also on the rise so watch out!

How Do I Train My Dog to be Calm Around Strangers?

Another issue you might run into when travelling with your pet is training them to be calm around so many strangers. Not only will they likely meet strangers during the journey, but if you’re travelling long-distance, they may also be unfamiliar with your friends/family, which may cause distress.

However, there are a few things that you can do to help with this.

  • Reward good behaviour with treats. This will encourage them to act calmly around guests each and every time.
  • Try to prepare your pet ahead of time by occasionally having them meet new people, and taking them to new areas. This will hopefully help them become more accustomed to new situations.

What to Pack For Your Pet When Travelling

We’ve already touched on a couple of things to bring with you when you travel with pets, but here’s some more tips to ensure you bring everything you need.

  • Pet bed
  • Treats
  • Some of their favourite toys
  • A collar and lead (if applicable)
  • Plenty of water & a travelling bowl
  • Something to keep them warm
  • Towels in case of muddy paws
  • Poo bags (if needed)
  • Medication
  • Pair hair roller
  • Brush

When to Seek Veterinary Advice

If you already know that your pet gets travel sick, it might be a good idea to speak with your vet to see if there is anything they can do to help. Likewise, if your pet has any serious medical concerns, or their behaviour has changed recently, consult with your vet before travelling.

You can contact our friendly team at Knutsford Vets Surgery to book an appointment or to get advice on 01565 337999. Alternatively, email us at hello@knutsfordvetsurgery.co.uk We’re always happy to help.

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