How to Travel with Your Pet this Holiday Season

a black dog in the backseat of a car filled with sunlight

The holidays are upon us, and this is your chance to get out of the house and do some traveling. If you’re the luckiest person in the world, you’ve found a way to take your pet with you on your holiday travels. Making sure your pet is comfortable to travel is the priority. Traveling with your pet is going to require some additional preparations, and packing. 

Fauna Care healing sprays address pet wounds at home, and are small and easy enough to use to take with you on your holiday travels. Pack your healing spray so efficient first-aid is available for wherever you and your pet are headed. 

This article covers:

  • What supplies you’ll need to pack
  • How to help your pet travel in a car
  • How to help your pet travel in a plane
  • Making sure your pet is welcome at your holiday destination

What to Pack

Your pet likely isn’t familiar with breaking routine and being out of the house for a long period of time. Therefore it helps to bring along some items of comfort, as well as the necessities. The packing list can get a bit long.

Emergency plan

However uncomfortable, it’s necessary to think of the worst case scenario. Your pet may become sick or get lost on your travels, so you need to pack to prepare for anything. Make sure your pet is wearing their ID tags, and bring along a few items of precaution.

  • Photos of your pet: A lost pet means you’ll need to find your lost buddy, and the best way to do this is getting help from others who may have seen them wandering around. Having printed-out photos, or saved photos on your phone, will help with the search.
  • Medical/Vaccine Records: It’s best to bring along your pet’s medical records in case of an emergency trip to a vet you’ve never been to before. 
  • Pet Medication: If your pet is taking daily medication, don’t forget to pack it!
  • Pet First-Aid Kit: In case of minor injuries you can attend to personally, bring a travel-sized first-aid kit. Don’t forget to include Fauna Care healing spray in the kit!


You don’t want to start off on your travels and realize an hour later you forgot to pack the dog food. There are some essentials that you don’t want to leave the house without.

  • Pet food
  • Drinking water
  • Collar/harness and leash
  • Bowls for food and drink (Collapsible bowls are preferable as it takes up less room in your bags!)
  • Towel (To clean up pet-related messes and/or wipe down wet paws)
  • Litter box or waste bags
  • Crate of travel carrier
  • Formal health certificate from your pet (This is necessary for many airlines)

Comfort Items

It’s not worth taking your pet along if they’re going to be stressed and unhappy for the duration of the trip. That will bring the holiday cheer down for you and your pet. If your pet would be more comfortable staying at home (especially cats), take this into consideration and decide on a pet sitter instead. If your pet is coming along, bring along some items which can put your pet at ease and help them enjoy the holiday away from home!

Dog outside holding up a chewed stuffed animal
Your pet wants to pack things to enjoy on vacation too! Pack stuffed animals and toys your pet is familiar with to make their traveling more comfortable.

  • Familiar toys
  • Favorite bedding
  • Treats
  • Travel throw (Can serve as a blanket or seat cover)
  • Grooming supplies

Tips Once You’re On the Road

Are you driving all the way to your holiday destination, or just taking a short trip to the airport or train station? Either way, it’s important to know how to handle a pet in the car to ensure you travel safely, and your pet is comfortable. 

No Roaming in the Car

Giving your pet free-range in the car puts you and your pet at risk of injury. An animal jumping between seats and under your feet and up on the dashboard will distract the driver, increasing the risk of an accident. The car is also a moving vehicle that can make sudden stops and turns. This could cause a roaming pet to be injured. Keep your pet out of the front seat, as a deployed airbag would seriously injure your pet, even if they are in a crate. 

Cat sitting in the passenger seat of a car
Most cats are uncomfortable riding in the car. Instead of keeping them in the seat, secure them in a carrier.

It is best for dogs and cats to travel in a carrier. Cats especially are prone to being uncomfortable in the car, and should stay in a carrier secured to the seat with a seat belt. A restrained carrier will reduce the bouncing and risk of harming the cat. Dogs as well should be kept in crates anchored to the vehicle. You can also try using dog restraints or seat belts to refrain the dog from roaming.

Frequent Rest Stops

Your pet will need to stop every couple of hours to stretch and relieve themselves. You may be able to drive for hours on end, but your pet needs frequent breaks from the car. Don’t allow them to exit without the ID tags and leash. Take the time to take them on a brief walk, and feed and water them. Give them lots of praise for taking such a long car ride!

Don’t Leave Pets Alone in the Car

No matter the season, never leave your pet in the car alone. The car will act like a fridge in the winter, and an oven in the summer, which leaves your pet miserable and at risk of permanent injury. Don’t do it. You can solve this problem by traveling with someone else. This way the pet never has to be alone. While you use rest stop facilities, your friend can look after the pet. Switch out so that your friend gets their turn at the restroom. 

Tips Once You’re In the Air

Lucky for all us pet lovers, most domestic airlines have taken note and allow pets to come aboard. However if you plan to travel in the air with your pet, you should check the pet policy, which varies between airlines. An airline’s pet policy will have restrictions on the type of animal, size of animal and it’s crate, and will determine the sort of care your pet will receive -- whether they’ll be allowed as carry-on, or have to be put in cargo. 

Get a Head Start on Planning

Traveling by plane with your pet will require early planning. Contact your airline to ensure you don’t hit any problems on the day of travel. Once all potential issues are sorted out, book early, as space is limited.  

Choose Cabin When Possible

Most airlines will allow you to bring a cat or small dog in the cabin with you for an additional fee. Take this option if it is available to you. Call the airline in advance and make sure you fulfill the requirements. 

Risks of Cargo

If your pet is flying in cargo, before making this decision for your pet you should know the risks of cargo. Most animals are returned to the pet parent at the end of the journey safe and sound. However there have been cases of pets being killed, injured, or lost. You can research your airline’s record of anima incidents to determine if you trust your pet in their cargo hold. 

Pet-Friendly Destination

You and your pet have made it to the greatest holiday destination of all! Is it pet friendly though? Before booking anything, you must make sure your accommodations allow pets. There are certain hotels and Airbnbs that are pet-friendly. If this type of information isn’t listed on their website, call before booking anything. You don’t want to end up on vacation with your pet not allowed through the front door. 

Group of people in a cabin with mugs. A small dog sits in the lap of the woman.
The pet that loves snuggles is going to love your plans to relax. Spend as much time as you can with your pet during vacation; it’s no fun being alone on a holiday.

Beyond accommodations, what are your plans for the holiday? Do you plan to sit all day and get your lazy on? Maybe go on some long walks? These activities can be enjoyed by you and your pets! However going shopping and eating at nice restaurants will require leaving your pet alone in an unfamiliar room that will not be enjoyable for your pet. If your pet is coming along, plan activities that don’t leave them alone for to long and involves them. 

Holiday travels are exciting adventures, and bringing your pet along may sound exciting. However, there are stresses involved that you need to be prepared for. If you can secure your pet’s security and comfort during travel and at the destination, then holiday celebrations will be something special. Happy traveling!

Questions? Email us >

You Might Also Like

Enjoy this article? We've covered more topics like this one on the Fauna Care pet care blog!