Traveling for the Holidays: Tips for Stress-Free Pet Adventures 

a small dog in a suitcase wearing a Santa hat

The holiday season is fast approaching, and many pet owners are getting ready to visit family and friends or take a well-deserved vacation. If you’re planning to travel with your furry companion, it’s essential to prepare for a stress-free pet adventure. 

Preparing Your Pet for Travel

At West Loop Veterinary Care, we understand the importance of ensuring your pet’s safety and comfort during holiday travels. We’ll provide you with expert tips and insights on how to make your pet’s holiday journey smooth and enjoyable. Travel certifications and preparation for your pet will normally include:
  • Vaccinating pets with the core set of vaccines required by airlines and the USDA
  • Veterinarian examination documentation and other auxiliary records required for travel to your destination
  • Preparation of government certificates
  • Advice on preparing them for your trip using behavior training
This process must be completed at least 10 days prior to traveling, factoring in time for USDA endorsement.  

Before embarking on your holiday adventure, it’s crucial to prepare your pet for the journey. Here are some essential steps to ensure your furry friend is ready for travel:

Visit Your Veterinarian

Schedule a visit to our West Loop or Streeterville location to ensure your pet is in good health for travel. Our experienced veterinarians will perform a thorough examination and update your pet’s vaccinations if needed. They can also provide you with any necessary medications or recommendations specific to your pet’s health.

Plan Pet-Friendly Accommodations

If you’re staying overnight during your holiday trip, make sure to book accommodations that are pet-friendly. Many hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals now welcome pets, but it’s essential to confirm their pet policy in advance. 

Packing for Your Pet

Proper packing is essential to ensure your pet’s comfort and well-being during the journey. Here’s a checklist of items you should consider bringing:

  • Pet Identification: Ensure your pet has proper identification, including a collar with an up-to-date ID tag and a microchip. This will help reunite you with your pet in case they get lost during your travels.
  • Travel Carrier or Crate: For the safety of your pet, invest in a sturdy and well-ventilated travel carrier or crate. Make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
  • Food and Water Bowls: Pack your pet’s regular food, treats, and portable food and water bowls. Sticking to their usual diet can help prevent digestive upset during travel.

On the Road – Tips for a Smooth Journey

Whether you’re driving or flying, here are some tips to keep your pet comfortable during the journey:

Keep Your Pet Secure

If you’re driving, use a pet seatbelt or secure your pet’s carrier in the car. For air travel, ensure your pet’s carrier meets airline requirements.

Schedule Regular Breaks

Plan for frequent breaks to allow your pet to stretch their legs, have a bathroom break, and stay hydrated.

Stay Calm and Comforting

Pets can sense your emotions, so staying calm and reassuring during the trip is essential. Bring their favorite toys or blankets to provide a sense of familiarity.

Arrival and Holiday Celebrations

You’ve arrived at your holiday destination, and it’s time to celebrate! Here’s how to ensure your pet enjoys the festivities:

  • Create a Safe Space: Set up a quiet and safe space for your pet away from the hustle and bustle of holiday gatherings. This will give them a place to relax and feel secure.
  • Monitor Holiday Treats: While it’s tempting to share holiday treats with your pet, some human foods can be harmful to them. Avoid giving your pet chocolate, bones, or foods with bones.
  • Maintain Routine: Try to stick to your pet’s usual routine as much as possible, including feeding and exercise schedules. This consistency can help reduce stress.

In conclusion, traveling for the holidays with your pet can be a wonderful experience when done right. By following these tips and reaching out to us in Chicago, IL, you can ensure a stress-free pet adventure. Remember that your pet’s safety and well-being are our top priorities. If you have any concerns or need further advice, don’t hesitate to call our West Loop location at (312) 421-2275 or our Streeterville location at (312) 766-5959 to make an appointment. We wish you and your furry companion a joyful and safe holiday season!


West Loop:
(312) 421-2275

(312) 766-5959