Safe holiday travel with pets

As the snow begins to fall here in northern Maine, we are reminded that the holiday season is upon us and with that, many are planning to travel to gather with family.  For some pet parents, no trip is worth going on if beloved pets don’t travel alongside. As families begin traveling to be together to enjoy those yearly holiday traditions, here are some tips for keeping pets safe during travel.


If you are traveling by plane, book a direct flight if possible.  This could reduce stress on your pet by eliminating extra handling during layovers and decreasing the chance that he could be accidentally left on the tarmac during inclement weather.  Be sure that your pet has up-to-date vaccinations and a health certificate from your veterinarian prior to departure.  

Check that your crate is the proper size, has some type of bedding inside for comfort, and has proper identification.  Crates should be marked “Live Animal,” as well as with your name, cell phone number and destination. Placing a photo of your pet on the crate, as well as carrying one with you could also be a lifesaver if your pet accidentally escapes.  Be sure that your pet is wearing a clear identification tag.

If you are taking a road trip, here are some precautions for your pet’s safe arrival.  If your pet isn’t used to riding in the car, take him on a series of short trips prior to your road trip to prepare him.  Remember that the safest place for your pet when riding in the car is in a well-ventilated pet crate. If you decide not to use a crate, keep your pet in the backseat. It is recommended to use a harness that fastens to the safety belt.  

Never allow your pet to climb into your lap while driving, ride with his head outside the window, or to ride uncrated in the back of a pickup truck.  These could be dangerous scenarios for your furry friend. Be sure your pet has a clear identification tag, with up-to-date contact information in case he accidentally gets loose.  Never, ever leave your pet unattended in a parked car. This is an important precaution year-round, but in cold weather your car can act as a refrigerator, holding the cold in and causing pets to freeze to death.

Wishing you and yours safe travels and a wonderful holiday season.

Stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society and check out the pets that are up for adoption.  Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. You can also check us out on Facebook.  

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Amanda McQueen is a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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