How to protect your pets if they're traveling with you for the holidays

If you're a pet owner and traveling for the holidays, it can be a stressful time.

No matter if you're flying or driving with your pet or leaving them behind in good hands during your travels, it's important to make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information. If your pet has a microchip, make sure that registration information is current.

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to make sure your pets stay safe.

Traveling by plane. You have two options when you take your pet on an airplane with you. If your pet is small enough, you can keep it under the seat in front of you. If your pet is too large, it will go in cargo. No matter what, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a BBB Accredited Charity, recommends making an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup to make sure they're fit to fly the friendly skies. Look up airlines at bbb.org to see their BBB Rating and if there are complaints or reviews from past customers on file about flying with pets. Regulations and fees for bringing your pet on a plane vary by the airline, so make sure to double-check!.

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Road trips. Before bringing Fluffy or Fido on a long car trip, make sure your pet responds well to car rides. The ASPCA recommends keeping them safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier with plenty of food or water. Put together a pet travel kit, and prepare for the worst. If you're renting a car, make sure that the company allows animals and asks if you'll be charged extra. So far in 2019, consumers nationwide filed more than 7,500 complaints with BBB against auto renting and leasing companies. Make sure to find a trustworthy business at bbb.org.

Make sure accommodations and destinations are pet-friendly. Wherever you're staying, whether it be a hotel, vacation rental, or with friends or family, ensure that pets are welcome. Ask if there are extra costs or regulations. Research pet-friendly activities ahead of time - do the local natural areas or holiday parades and fairs allow pets?

If necessary, leave them behind. Traveling with pets can be stressful for both you and the animal, and sometimes it's just not feasible. Thankfully, you have options. You can hire a pet sitter to visit your animals in your own home, letting them stay in their natural environment where they're most comfortable. You can also opt for a traditional boarding facility, like a kennel or pet hotel. In 2018, BBB received hundreds of complaints from consumers nationwide against pet boarding, sitting, and kennel companies. Complaints allege injuries to pets and poor customer service. It's important to leave your pet in the care of someone you can trust, so look for BBB Accredited Businesses at bbb.org.
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