Holiday Travel with Pets: Ensuring Your Furry Friends are Merry and Bright

Dog On A Car Trip

The holiday season is a time for joy and family gatherings, and for many, that includes making sure their favourite furry friend is well looked after. Planning for pet accommodation or pet-friendly travel methods can be tricky, with options ranging from bringing them along to finding a temporary home-away-from-home. Luckily we’ve put together this guide to help you ensure your pet’s safety and comfort will be the least of your worries while you enjoy your festive travels. 

Deciding on Pet Care for the Holiday Season

When things turn jolly and festive bells jingle, pet owners everywhere are faced with the yearly question of what to do about their beloved pets. There are only really a few choices between bringing them along on a holiday ride, hiring a sitter or finding cat- and dog-friendly accommodation for while you’re away. The choice depends on plenty of other factors too, like your pet’s temperament, your travel destination, the length of your absence and more. Whether it’s pet-friendly holidays, pet sitting services or boarding facilities, each option has its pros and cons. Let’s take a deeper look at which choice is best for your pet’s well-being and your own peace of mind during the most wonderful time of year. 

Home or Away: What’s Best for Your Pet?

Depending on your pet’s personality, they may be happier at home or can tag along for something like dog-friendly holidays. Some pets love new experiences, while others prefer the comfort of their own home. Pets that prefer to stick to the familiar may want to visit potential boarding facilities a few times to get themselves used to the experience before being left for an extended time. Otherwise, ensuring they’re familiar with their pet sitters can make a world of difference. It’s all about finding a perfect balance that keeps tails wagging or kitties purring to help minimise stress for everyone. We cover a whole range of topics related to general pet advice to keep you educated in our blog.

Tips for Travelling with Pets
Beagle dog sitting in a suitcase

Bringing along your favourite fuzzy companion can be super rewarding if you go about it the right way. Ensuring you find pet-friendly accommodation and transportation is vital. Airlines such as Qantas offer safe domestic travel, or sites like Pet Friendly Accommodation help you and your pet a suitable place to stay. 

Beyond just your method of travel and where you choose to stay, there are other factors to consider, too. Seeking out a holiday rental that welcomes four-legged guests, while also checking for nearby spots like dog-friendly beaches or parks, is sure to make the experience seamless and enjoyable. But it’s also about understanding your pet’s social needs. If they encounter other dogs, how will they react? A pet-friendly holiday is filled with planning and considerations for both your needs and your pet’s needs, but it’s well worth the effort. 

Key Considerations for Pet Care Selection

Picking the right pet care solution over the holidays means considering their personality, health needs, and your budget. Cat owners, dog parents and everyone in between must weigh the emotional and physical needs of their pets against practicalities. Sometimes that might mean booking in a pet sitter to stay at your house with your pet.

For animals that suffer from things such as separation anxiety, this can make them far more comfortable and less lonely. Other times, it could mean that you simply leave them at a boarding kennel or with a friend. Whatever your budget and pet’s needs, there’s plenty of options to choose from. 

Choosing the Right Pet Sitter

When pet sitters step in, they become your pet’s new best friend while you’re away. Finding a pet sitter is easier than ever thanks to reputable sites such as Gumtree, Pawshake and Aussie House Sitters. But choosing the right sitter is essential. It’s not just about finding a temporary companion for your pet but ensuring they’re in the hands of someone who can responsibly manage their needs and quirks. 

To evaluate a pet sitter, start by checking their references and reviews. A sitter with a history of positive feedback and a proven track record of reliability and affection towards animals is always a good sign. It’s also highly recommended to meet potential sitters in person to watch how they interact with your pet. Look for signs of genuine affection and ease between the sitter and your pet, as well as the sitter’s instinctive handling skills and understanding of pet behaviour. Make sure to discuss your pet’s routine in detail, including feeding schedules, favourite activities, and any special care instructions. 

Use this as a chance to gauge the sitter’s attentiveness and willingness to follow specific directions. Lastly, make sure they’re prepared to handle any emergencies by going over their previous experiences and action plans. Once you’ve chosen your pet sitter, arrange for a few pre-departure meet-ups for them and your pet. This can give your pet a chance to get to know their temporary best friend and helps ease the transition, so your pet can enjoy their own little vacation without stressing. 

Boarding Kennel Considerations

Whether you’re boarding your cat or dog, boarding facilities can be a dream vacation away from home for some pets. Look for a kennel that radiates warmth and safety. You’ll want to find one that offers ample space, regular exercise routines, and a calm environment with friendly staff to act as caretakers. You’re trusting them with your beloved family member after all. 

Preparing your pet for a kennel stay involves more than just packing their favourite toy. Especially when leaving your pet in an environment where they’re likely to meet other animals, it’s important to remember to update their vaccinations. If your dog or cat has any specific care or medical needs, make sure you speak to staff about those, too.

Journeying with Your Furry Friend

Travelling with your pet adds a layer of excitement to your holiday adventures, but it requires careful planning to ensure their comfort and safety. When taking your furry friend on a trip, consider their routine and how it will fit into your travel plans. Make sure to choose accommodations that not only welcome pets but also provide the amenities they need to feel at home. 

It’s essential to keep their diet consistent, so pack their usual food and some familiar toys to help them settle in, along with a few extra-tasty treats to reward them with. Remember to plan for breaks on long journeys, giving your pet a chance to stretch and relax. With thoughtful preparation, travelling with your pet can be a delightful experience that strengthens the bond you share and creates lasting memories. Make sure to snap plenty of pictures if you choose this route! 

Protecting your Pet with Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is your safety net when planning for pet-friendly travels. It’s the reassurance that, should your pet need medical attention while on holiday or under the care of pet sitters, they’re covered and you won’t suffer financially for it. Giving you peace of mind while you’re away, pet insurance is a great way to ensure your furry companion stays perfectly healthy these holidays. 

Preparing for Departure: A Pet Owner’s Checklist

As the holiday season approaches and you prepare for a festive getaway, ensuring your pet’s needs are covered is as important as your travel itinerary. Here’s a checklist to ensure your pet has a safe and comfortable holiday, whether they’re coming along or staying behind:

  • ID and Microchip: Confirm microchip details are current and ID tags updated.
  • Health: Get a vet check-up before you go and pack medications and health records.
  • Care Instructions: Leave detailed notes for pet sitters/boarding staff with a list of emergency contacts of people staying home if possible.
  • Comfort Items: Familiar bedding, toys, and treats.
  • Travel Gear: Portable bowls, leash, waste bags and a first-aid kit.
  • Safety Gear: Secure, comfy pet carrier or check any harnesses/leashes you’ll be using.
  • Entertainment: Toys for playing with. Make sure to plan for exercise breaks, too.
  • Accommodation: Confirm pet-friendly bookings and find dog friendly beaches nearby.
  • Food Supplies: Pack their usual food, a container/bowl and can opener (if applicable).
  • Prep Steps: Exercise your pet and update their pet sitting profiles or care notes.

By ticking off these essentials, you’ll be paving the way for a smooth and enjoyable holiday experience for you and your pet. Whether they’re by your side or in the loving care of a sitter, you can rest assured knowing they’ll be well cared for.

Stress-Free Holidays with Pets

Advanced planning is the most important ingredient to a stress-free holiday when you own pets. By considering each aspect of your pet’s care, from their daily cuddles to their routine romps, you can ensure a festive season that’s joyful for both you and your pet. 

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