Whether it is a four-legged ball of fur or a winged wonder, pets need to travel in comfort and safety — which is what National Pet Travel Safety Day, held on January 2 each year, embodies. Created by celebrity pet and family lifestyle expert Colleen Paige, this day covers all areas of travel, be it by car, airplane, or even a little bike ride. Every trip should be a safe one for you and your pets, and National Pet Travel Safety Day is dedicated to this cause.
History of National Pet Travel Safety Day
People have traveled with pets almost as long as they’ve had them, or so we suppose. But up until the 1980s, only the richest people took their pets with them wherever they went, for multiple reasons. First, money, and second, only a select few high-end hotels catered to guests with pets in tow. Thirdly, travel was limited to private rail cars or automobiles, limiting pet-friendly movement options for most regular people.
Then, in the late 1980s, 1989 to be precise, a Trans World Airlines (T.W.A.) flight attendant named Gayle Martz decided she wanted to take her pooch with her on the airplane. The airline rules foiled her initial attempts and succeeded in frustrating her completely. Then she hit upon an idea. Her dog, a Shih Tzu, was tiny enough that she could carry it comfortably. She designed a purse that allowed her to carry her dog into the plane and keep it under her seat in the cabin. This soon-to-be-immensely-popular accessory was named the ‘Sherpa Bag’ and became the global standard for airline in-cabin bags for pets.
Martz went on to petition nearly every airline to allow pets on board. When they realized how much pets could boost flyers’ morale, multiple airlines began allowing well-behaved pets on board. Then, in 2001, the European Union introduced a scheme that allowed E.U. member country citizens to travel freely back and forth with approved carriers using special pet passports. Called the “PETS scheme,” it soon expanded to include pets from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The world became a pet owner’s oyster (for the most part).
Travel to certain countries with a pet is still subject to varied restrictions. Guatemala, for instance, bans entry for pets without rabies vaccination, even if they have a pet passport. Hotels and institutions were not far behind in the pet revolution; large chains, smaller B&Bs, everyone opened their doors to pets. They realized something a Starwood study showed: 76% of pet owners are more loyal to chains that allow pets, even if owners don’t travel with pets themselves. As pets become more commonplace across households, pet owners are looking for ways to help keep their animal babies happy and safe as they travel.
National Pet Travel Safety Day timeline
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) adopts new rules that dictate how pets travel in cargo holds of airplanes; pet travel is now safer and more comfortable.
Subaru partners with the Center for Pet Safety to test dog harnesses for safety measures.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is the latest in the series of vehicles to release pet-friendly features; this model has a 'crate' so dogs can travel in style and comfort.
Levied on 113 countries, this ban prevents dogs from other countries as well as those with American owners who have been on trips abroad from coming into the U.S.; the end goal is to prevent dogs with rabies from entering the country.
National Pet Travel Safety Day FAQs
Is National Pet Day a holiday?
National Pet Day, held on April 11 each year, is a special event that celebrates the joy of pets. However, it isn’t a public holiday.
How do you travel with pets safely?
There are various measures to ensure pet safety while on a trip — take their medications along, ensure they have I.D. tags, bring water from home, make a list of vets in the place(s) you’ll visit — and many are easily available online.
Is it safe to travel with pets?
Traveling with pets is as safe as you can make it. Brush up on travel guidelines and keep yourself prepared so you’ll be fine.
What to do with pets when traveling?
Sometimes, your animal buddies don’t want to come along on your holiday. If so, there are multiple alternatives to taking pets on trips, including pet sitting and pet boarding.
National Pet Travel Safety Day Activities
Read up on travel restrictions
Want to travel with your pet? Find out if the place you're visiting has adequate pet-friendly accommodations. After all, their vacation should be paw-some too!
Do a practice run first
Take mini trips the way you plan to take your big trip; get pets accustomed to the vehicle you plan to use, the people coming with you, and even the accommodations they will be expected to travel in (like crates).
Make it about the pet
Check if your pet is as excited at the prospect of traveling as you are. If they'd love to come along, make sure their comfort takes precedence over everything else.
5 Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe While Travelling
Restraints are essential in cars
An unrestrained pet is like a living cell phone, distracting you as you drive; they are also in danger of getting hurt in case you break hard or get into an accident.
Get a crate
These are the best when you want to transport animals anywhere while keeping them comfortable.
All about food
Feeding pets during a journey is a choking hazard and might give them motion sickness; feed them a few hours before travel to prevent bloating and indigestion.
Give them their comfort item
A toy or a blanket — whatever your pet takes comfort in should come along with you on your trip; it keeps them (and you) happy along the way.
Ensure your pet can be identified
Give them an I.D. collar, microchip, or anything else that helps people identify the owner, just in case your pet gets lost on the trip.
Why We Love National Pet Travel Safety Day
We learn more about safer pet travel
This day educates pet owners about various ways they can keep their pets safe while traveling. Multiple resources and events online can increase awareness and result in safer, well-traveled pets.
Our pets are happier
If your pet loves to travel, chances are, this day just made him/her much happier — and comfortable too! You've got their safety covered, so now they're free to enjoy their trip.
The entire family is safer
The more secure your pets are, the better you will concentrate on traveling. There are fewer chances of you getting distracted and running into trouble because of your pets.
National Pet Travel Safety Day dates