Summer holiday season is officially round the corner!
You’re all set for travelling: the case is packed, the kids are covered in sunscreen, and your better half is trying to update the sat nav for the journey.
Then you spot that face and those big eyes full of love.
It’s never easy leaving your pet at home but it’s even worse when you know you have a week of sun, sea, and sand while they’re in kennels waiting for their human to come home.
So why not take your critter with you?
Hundreds of Brits every year take their pets on holiday, with dogs being the most popular holiday companion of choice.
If Fido doesn’t find the car scary, hasn’t been unwell recently, and is (relatively) well behaved then there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels and self-catering holiday cottages in the UK and abroad.
It’s important to be sensible about your pet when you’re on holiday.
After all, if you’re going to somewhere like Disneyland, it’s probably not a good idea that your pooch comes with you just to be cooped up in a hotel room.
If you’re going to be off on dog-free adventures all day, it’s much better to leave your dog with a friend or family member they trust.
Pack all their essentials like their favourite toys and treats so they don’t get homesick.
And if you’re worried about them missing you, sleep with a throw or blanket for a few days to give your dog so your scent can comfort them while you’re away.
So you’ve got your dog friendly holiday destination sorted, what else do you need?
Planning your journey is essential when travelling with your pet. It’s far easier to go exploring if you’ve got the kids and your dog too if you stay in the UK rather than go abroad.
Which means chances are you’re likely to be driving.
Remember to check the weather before you book and plan your journey. Cars become incredibly hot quickly which can cause heat stroke that could turn deadly for your dog, so pick a day with a fairly cool temperature to set off. Plan the quickest and safest journey where you can take regular breaks to stretch your beloved pup’s paws and give them the chance to respond to nature’s call.
It’s so important to keep your dog safe while travelling in the car.
Yours, your family’s and your dog’s safety can be at stake if your beloved woofer isn’t properly seated in the car. If you need to stop quickly to avoid an accident or if your dog decides to move in to the driver’s seat, your journey could prove to be fatal.
A dog crate is a fantastic way to travel with your canine companion. If you’ve used a crate during puppy training then you’re off to a good start because your dog already feels safe inside it and knows that it is their space.
Don’t worry if your pet is new to crates and do not feel bad about using one either!
It’s natural to feel a bit guilty about crating your dog, however if you start off using it indoors as a safe space where your dog can relax then they actually enjoy being in their little den.
In the months leading up to your holiday, put their favourite treats, cushion, and dog bed inside to make your dog feel positive about the crate if it’s all new. They'll eventually view travelling in the car as relaxing and fun!
If there’s too much hate for the crate, another alternative is a doggy safety harness. It acts as a seat belt to keep your pet from flinging forward in an accident and to stop them from escaping to the driver’s area.
You’ve finally reached your destination after multiple toilet stops, u-turns, and arguments with the sat nav. So what else do you need to keep in mind?
Pay attention to signs in case they say any beaches or parks are dog-free zones and if there’s any dogs without a lead that are behaving badly.
When you’re travelling and in a new place that you don’t know very well, you have to remember that this is not the same as walking your dog back home in their familiar territory.
There may be people around who are frightened of dogs who might think that your dog’s happy barking and jumping about is actually a sign of aggression. Unless you’re in a dog park, keep your dog on the lead. Even the best behaved dogs struggle to contain their excitement sometimes and can get a bit hyper!
Your dog will be massively overwhelmed by all the new sights and smells to experience when you're travelling, so it’s vital that you brush up on teaching them the basics of training like sit, stay, and recall to keep them from becoming uncontrollable while excited.
But finally the most important tip we can give you is: Keep the water flowing to make sure your dog is hydrated throughout your trip.
A travel bowl and a water bottle will let you keep the liquids up but also remember to keep an eye on temperatures if you’re out and about. Dogs should always have access to a shaded area where they can have a break from playing Frisbee and exploring.
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your amazing holiday adventures!
For more pet tips, visit our friends at the PDSA for more here.
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