How to Safely Travel With Your Pet Reptile This Holiday Season
Understanding Common Holiday Dangers for Your Pets
The busy holiday season can be a challenging time for all pet owners. As you anticipate taking a road trip to visit family and friends or leaving town for a week to vacation somewhere warm, you need to think about how your pet lizard or bearded dragon will be cared for while you are away. You may choose to board him at a local pet care facility, ask a family member to house sit, or—and this is usually a last resort—bring your reptile with you on the road.
As you know, many reptiles are very easily stressed when they are removed from their environment or their environment is disrupted. If you are planning to travel with your pet reptile this holiday season, keep these tips in mind and do everything you can to ensure your pet’s safety, comfort, and well-being.
Determine the best container for travel—and get your pet used to it in advance.
If you are traveling a short distance, select a sturdy container that is well ventilated and secure—meaning your reptile cannot escape while you’re driving. Depending on your pet’s size, you may decide to bring his actual enclosure or tank. Keep in mind that if you do so, anything in the container that could shift or move around while driving should be removed. Many stores offer soft and hard-sided carriers intended for the safe transport of your pet. The travel enclosure should be placed somewhere in your vehicle where it cannot fall over and any movements will be minimized.
Whichever method of transport you choose, make sure your pet isn’t introduced to their new digs the morning of your trip. Give them time to get used to being in the carrier or travel enclosure starting with a few minutes at a time and building up to longer stretches. This will help your pet to feel more relaxed and comfortable during the actual trip.
Make your packing list and check it twice.
Will you be gone for the day only or staying overnight? Think of everything your pet reptile needs to mimic their regular enclosure setup during that time period. We recommend making an extensive packing list so that you don’t forget any essentials. Depending on whether you have a pet bearded dragon, lizard, or skink, your list may be slightly different, but this is a good place to start:
- Misting water bottle
- Food and water
- Bedding and substrate for the enclosure
- Heating elements
- Basking light
- Materials to create a hideout in the enclosure
Streamline your trip as much as possible.
We’d love to say sit back and “enjoy the ride,” but the reality is, your reptile likely won’t. The longer your pet is out of their normal environment, the higher the risk that they will become stressed. When a bearded dragon is experiencing stress, for example, they may stop eating and their bowel movements will be affected. Of course, stop as needed to give your pet water or check on them, but focus on getting to your destination.
Watch for signs of stress or sickness in your pet reptile after your trip.
Even days after you return home and put your pet back into their normal environment, your pet may exhibit signs of sickness from the stress of the trip. Look for any changes in their eating or drinking, differences in their stool or urine, or any difference in appearance—from weight loss or gain to bruises or inflammation— if your pet seems weak or lethargic, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Don’t forget about other holiday dangers that exist for your pet.
Your pet reptile may be around other non-reptile owners—and curious kids and adults alike—during your travels. It is so important to watch your pet closely and keep an eye out for potential dangers that exist around the holidays, including:
- Real and decorative trees: Keep your pet away from tree water bowls—it should never be consumed by any pet—and tinsel, which could cause serious damage if ingested.
- Holiday treats: Well-meaning relatives or friends could offer your bearded dragon a taste of a rich or spicy food without realizing the consequences. Make sure that your pet is not being given any foods outside of their normal diet.
- Noise: If you’re traveling for New Year’s, keep in mind the noise level in the home. Plan ahead to create a quiet space for your pet that will block out the sounds of celebration.
- Wires: Around the holidays, the number of cords and wires in a home can increase. If your pet is out of his enclosure, keep close watch that they stay away from any wires, batteries, or cords that could cause an electrical shock.
We hope that you have a wonderful holiday with your pet reptile in tow. If we can provide any additional guidance or information, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Remember that we’re here throughout the holiday season to provide live, nutritious feeder insects to keep your pet healthy and happy. Get your orders in before the holiday season!