Be Prepared When Bringing Pets to Grandma’s Home for the Holidays

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Petplan shares tips for ruling the road and keeping the peace

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Traveling over the river and through the woods is the easy part when hitting the road with pets in tow. Keeping four-legged friends safe and comfortable during the trip takes a little more planning. Petplan pet insurance reminds pet parents to brush up on car safety and guest etiquette before they embark on their next trip to ensure a happy holiday for all.

“Taking the right steps to prepare pets for holiday travel is essential for making the trip as stress-free as possible,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer at Petplan. “From keeping a car sick dog calm to making sure your pet is the perfect house guest, there are a host of factors involved. During the hectic holiday season, it pays to think ahead and plan for everyone’s safety and comfort.”

In a 2015 survey conducted by Petplan of over 2,225 pet parents, more than 60% said they stay at the home of family or friends when traveling with pets. For some furry friends, there’s nothing more exciting than the wind in their ears and a house full of people, but other pets can feel stressed. Petplan says these must-do’s belong at the top of the holiday travel itinerary:

Rules of the road

  • Pets should wear a collar with ID tag whenever they travel, but a microchip is the most reliable way to be sure furry friends can return home if they stray.
  • Use a safety harness or carrier in the car to keep pets secure. Free-roaming pets can leap into the driver’s lap, obscure vision or cause other distractions, putting everyone on the road in danger. Try out the carrier or harness before the day of the trip so you’re not struggling with straps and buckles when you should be backing out of the driveway.
  • Avoid feeding pets for a few hours prior to travel; car sickness in dogs and cats is common. To keep tummies from rumbling, roll down windows a few inches to equalize pressure and keep the car cool (heat and humidity can trigger nausea).
  • Don’t forget to plan pet-friendly stops along the way to let pets relieve themselves and burn off anxiety or excess energy.

Rules in the home

  • Set ground rules with the host about what pets can and can’t do (not everyone shares their sofa!) and find out if any areas of the house are off-limits. Bring a crate so your furry friend has a place all his own to retreat from other guests and pets.
  • If there are other animals in the home, it’s important to introduce pets properly. Take a walk together when you arrive so the new roommates have a chance to sniff each other out and bond a bit over the shared activity. Once settled in, regular walks together will help reinforce positive relationships.
  • Always supervise pets around food and toys. Dogs are natural resource guarders, and competition for food and treats from a new furry friend can cause a scuffle pretty quickly. Feed your pet away from the resident pets and keep a close eye on play to be sure a friendly game doesn’t escalate.

A house packed with people and pets is one of the hallmarks of the holidays. With a little planning and preparation, the whole family – whether on two or four legs – will feel peace on earth (and at Grandma’s) this holiday season.

For more advice for traveling with pets, point your paws to Petplan’s “Globetrotter’s Pet Travel Guide” at

Petplan is more than a pet insurance provider. We’re dedicated to providing pet parents with the support, resources and tools they need to keep their pets not just surviving—but thriving—into their old age. Simply put, we aim to be the kind of company that will make our pets proud. For the second consecutive year, Petplan was listed among the top 50 companies on Forbes' annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies – a list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures. Petplan is the only pet insurance provider to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America.

Petplan’s fully customizable cat and dog insurance policies provide comprehensive coverage for all hereditary and chronic conditions for the life of the pet as standard. Petplan policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group was rated A+ by A.M. Best in 2014. For more information about Petplan pet insurance, visit or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Jessica Kinney
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