Going on Holiday with your dog can be broken down into 6 steps – 3 things to consider before you travel, and three whilst you’re getting your tan.
1. What is best for your dog?
If you wish to holiday with your dog as part of the family, research on where you will stay has to be the highest of your priorities. Your dog’s happiness and welfare should be centred on your plans for holidaying. All the “dog-friendly” notices on the myriad of websites you come across, may not always allude to the actual reality you will eventually find. It is essential to always ring ahead before any booking to confirm their pets’ policy and if it actually fits your requirements. You can talk over any questions you might have that relate specifically to your dog’s needs which can be talked over with the hotel owner. You can get a feel for how “dog-friendly” they actually are before committing. Do they have dogs themselves?
2. Visit the vet before you travel.
An overall health-check up for your dog is essential prior to go on holiday. In fact, a ‘one-over is advised at least once every year. Making sure of this visit to the vet before a trip away is extremely important considering your dog could come into contact with other dogs who may carry some form of pest. Being up-to-date with your treatments and shots for your pet will go a long way to keeping them happy and healthy. Getting your dog micro-chipped, (if not already done) is strongly recommended. The cost is between £10 and £40 at a veterinary practice, or if you live near a Dogs Trust, you can get the procedure done for free. Pet insurance is also another wise idea to consider. If your dog does, unfortunately, fall ill, you won’t be out-of-pocket.
3. Plan in detail your itinerary prior to departure
When you do find dog-friendly accommodation that is just the start of your task. Next comes the filling in the blanks to reveal the bigger picture. Whilst you are still sitting at your kitchen table make a list of places you intend to visit and things you’re going to be doing. Research is the key. Note all the restaurants and cafés which cater for your canine friend. Here, internet resources are the key to making your life easier.
Making a list of everything your dog will need is the next step. Essential items you will need, such as leash, food and water bowl, collar, dog waste bags, ID tags, bed, shampoo and an old towel – all these things are obvious but worth writing down. It may not be the end of the world to buy the things you forget to pack, but there are some things it is vital you don’t forget. These will include a photograph o your dog, and any medication he or she may be taking. Write all of these on your agenda and you will be able to enjoy your holiday without worry. Preparation and organisation will be the reason for your successful trip away.
Whilst on holiday with your dog
4. Travelling with your dog
Whether you are travelling by car or bus, make sure your dog is acclimatized to the experience by the time you set off. If your dog isn’t used to long journeys, take them out for shorter journeys to build-up to the travelling day. Safety is paramount in all cases. For your dog’s sake and for your own sake, they must be secured. A crate can be a good, safes solution because it restricts a dog’s movement and minimises driver distraction.
A dog harness offers a further travel aid solution. It is highly recommended dogs are positioned away from airbags in case of accidents. A comfort stops every two hours is advised in order to allow your dog to stretch their legs. For those delicate pooches who may suffer from motion sickness, it would be wise to keep remedies in the car. (this is another good item to write on your inventory list) and avoid feeding them near to the time of travel.
5. Home from home, for your dog
A familiarization walk is advised as soon s you reach your holiday destination. A nice long walk will allow your dog to quickly become accustomed to his/her new surroundings. The exercise will help to de-stress them and tire them out after a long car/bus journey. Try not to leave your dog alone for long periods of time. This can really unsettle animals. If they are left alone, feelings of confusion can lead to them fearing the worst. This can lead to frenzied scratching and the destruction of furniture, which could end up being costly.
6. Being vigilant about the safety of your dog
Having arrived safely, and started to get into your holiday, you’ve had time to unpack and your dog has fully acclimatized. It becomes very easy at this point to switch off to those potential dangers around the corner, as you begin to slip into holiday mode. Constant vigilance regarding your dog’s safety should always be at the forefront of your mind. Remember, never be complacent or naive just because you’ve left normal life behind for a few weeks. Most breeds of dogs adapt extremely quickly to any new environment. Changing routine drastically can also have an unsettling effect. Your doggie’s favourite toy or blanket can serve as a reminder of home and provide enough distraction to help calm him/her down in unfamiliar surroundings. Keeping mealtimes about the same time as at home is advisable.
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