Taking your pets on holiday with you can be so much fun, but you need to plan ahead. With proper planning and preparation, you can have a smooth trip. The sooner you start making the necessary arrangements, the sooner you can relax and start looking forward to your holiday.
The very first thing you should do is to find pet-friendly accommodation in the area that you would like to go. Find out:
- Where can your dog sleep? Will he be allowed to sleep with you on the bed, if that is where he usually sleeps?
- Is the accommodation suitable for any size dog?
- How many other pets will also be on the premises?
- Can your dog roam freely, or must he be on leash at all times?
- Is there a veterinary clinic close by, in case of an emergency?
Check in advance
Once the accommodation is booked, you need to check a few things:
- Go to the vet and get confirmation that your dog is healthy enough for travel.
- Ensure that your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date.
- Check that your dog’s microchip is in working order and that the details are up to date.
- Ensure that your dog’s collar is intact, and that the identification tag has the correct information.
- Check your dog’s carrier or seatbelt harness for any wear and tear. Replace it if necessary.
- Measure out your dog’s food in advance, to ensure that you don’t run out of food while on holiday.
- Ensure that your dog’s first aid kit contains the necessary items. See page 54 for more details.
- Have a look when your dog’s next tick, flea and deworming treatments are due, and plan accordingly.
What to pack
With so many things to take care of before the trip, it is easy to forget a few things. Make sure that you pack these items for your dog:
- Collar and leash
- Food and water bowls
- Dog food
- Dog bed and some extra blankets
- Toys and chews
- Paper towels
- Poop bags and scoop
- Water bottle
The day before
Confirm that you’ve packed everything on your list. Keep to your dog’s normal routine of walking and mealtimes.
- Pack your dog’s vet card in a safe place, or in the first aid kit.
- Stock up on your dog’s food and treats.
- Pack your pet’s travel bag.
- Ensure that you have your vet’s contact number – as well as that of the vet close to the holiday destination – in case of an emergency.
- Before you start a long journey, make sure your dog is used to travelling in a car for extended periods of time. If your dog is anxious in the car or suffers from motion sickness, ask your vet to prescribe some medication.
- Don’t give your pet a large meal just before you leave, but rather two to three hours before your departure.
- According to the Automobile Association, drivers should take a short rest every two hours or 200km. This should also work for your dog, but if he becomes restless in the car, stop and see if he needs a toilet break. Put his lead on before opening the car door to be safe. You can also offer him some water and a treat or two. Don’t give him a full meal yet.
Arriving at the destination
You’ve reached your destination and you’re so excited! Your dog can feel your excitement and will also be eager to get out of the car. Before you get out, put his leash on. Let him have a bathroom break, offer him some water and let him stretch his legs.
Check that the accommodation is safe and ready – close any doors or windows that your dog might be able to slip through. When you’re ready, you can let him off the lead. Once he has settled down, offer him something to eat and allow him to rest after the long journey, or go for a walk if he’s up to it.