December is here and Christmas is just around the corner. This is the month many of us will be packing up the cars and traveling to see friends and family. For dog owners that brings a tough decision: find someone to care for the pooch, or bring them along for the adventure.

For a lot of pet owners leaving their much loved animals during the holidays pulls at the heart strings. However, the thought of traveling during the holidays can cause enough anxiety, even without having a dog in tow. It needn’t be a stressful experience, with our tips for traveling with dogs in the car during the holidays.

Stay Safe and Secure

Just as you shouldn’t travel in a car without fastening your seatbelt, your shouldn’t let your dog stay in the car unsecured. This isn’t just for your dog’s safety, but that of everyone else in the car too. Use a safety harness, car dog crate or dog guard. If you don’t yet have one, get it before you travel so that your pet has plenty of time to adjust to using it.

Prepare your Car

Lay down wipe clean mats over the area your dog will be confined to in order to protect your car in case of accidents and car sickness, or use washable blankets which can be bagged up and washed when you reach your destination.

Make Your Dog Comfortable

Give your dog his usual blankets and a few of his favorite toys to comfort him during the journey, the familiar smells will make him feel more at ease. Do your best to prevent motion sickness by avoiding feeding a large meal before setting off. On longer journeys remember to schedule regular breaks every couple of hours so that your dog can stretch their legs, relieve themselves and have a drink of water.

Limit Access

Be careful with the items your dog may have access to. Whilst you are concentrating on the busy holiday traffic your dog may decide to unwrap those presents which he has been sitting next to, tuck into the chocolates for your host, or get into dangerous products like antifreeze which you may keep in your trunk.

With a bit of careful planning, there is no reason why your dog can’t join you for the holidays, wherever you may be spending them.