The summer break is a great opportunity to relax and unwind for us humans. But it can be stressful figuring out if our four-legged friends can join in on the fun. Taking a dog on holiday with you is a lot easier than taking a cat. Dogs are easier to entertain and they are less housebound than cats. However, there are a few things you should consider when you take them on your travels. These dos and don’ts offer guidance for those taking their dog along and those choosing a temporary home away from home.
Always make sure that your travel destination, as well as the accommodation are dog friendly. If you're going on a beach holiday, make sure dogs are allowed on the beach and if you’re going on a city trip, make sure the city is generally dog friendly: parks, restaurants, hotels.
Take your dog’s favourite toys. Whether you decided to take them with you on holiday or not, the first thing you should do is pack their bag. It is advisable to take a number of items that give your dog a feeling of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’. Its bed, bowls, food, toys, etc. are indispensable for the animal to understand that the place they’re going to, will be their home for the duration.
Keep sight of their dietary needs. You should pay particular attention to your pet’s diet a few months before the holiday commences; a sudden change of food may cause bowel problems and make our friend feel poorly. All this planning in advance will make the trip more comfortable for your companion and also helps to maintain their everyday routine, making the dog feel more secure in their home away from home.
Make a mandatory visit to your veterinarian. Ensure that all vaccinations are up to date. There are areas you might visit that carry a risk of serious diseases, ensuring all vaccinations are up to date and applicable to your destination, provides you with peace of mind and adequate protection for your dog.
Get a pet passport when travelling abroad with your pet.
Give your dog some time to get adjusted and familiarise themselves with the new surroundings, smells, and nature. This gives them time to settle in and once you are confident that they are okay, leave them off the leash to explore for themselves.
Take a note of changes in temperature. Most people don’t realise there’s a significant chance of dogs suffering heat stroke due to the dramatic change of air temperature between the inside and outside of a car. Always ensure both your dog and yourself can adjust to temperature changes gradually. Learn about what you can do when your animal suffers from overheating, recognise the signs of hyperthermia and the actions to take before taking the animal to the vet.
Figure out how much time you will spend with your dog. Will they be able to come with you everywhere you go or will they be confined to a hotel room? Consider whether the activities you are planning are enjoyable for your dog as well. Are you planning a beach holiday with your seafront loving dog? Great, but make sure you’re prepared by bringing a parasol, a cooling jacket, and lots of water. Needless to say, make sure they are allowed on the beach.
If you are not sure about the above, it might be better to choose a sitter or find a top-notch pension or a kennel.
Take your time choosing a facility. If you choose the kennel option and you want to make sure they have a relaxing stay there.. take them for a visit to the chosen facility. They will be able to familiarise themselves with the location and the people who will be taking care of them. At the same time, the kennel staff will have plenty of opportunity to get to know your dog, their habits, likes, and dislikes.
Do not break your dog’s routine as this could be frustrating for them and cause issues with their stay. Maintaining their routine, even when being looked after by other people and not by us, allows the dog to react to the separation in a calm manner. Address and preempt separation anxiety. Just like humans, pet can suffer from being separated from their loved ones. If this is the case, prepare your dog by organising half-day stays at a small selection of kennels, making sure to build it up to an overnight stay.
Let them choose. Price, stylish design or snazzy advertisements are not sensible parameters for choosing a dog boarding facility. Our animal seeks moments of fun, interaction, relaxation, and freedom and they will likely just ‘know’ the right facility for them. For this reason, letting them ‘choose’ their kennels would be your best option; the moment we place them in the facility, their reaction (fear or serenity) will help us understand if we made the right decision.
After having made up your mind and having made a comprehensive bullet list, the rest of your holiday should be all about relaxing and having fun.
Want to have more tips? We have a similar guide for cats, so keep on reading our blog.