It's that time of year when we want to head out onto the open road, explore new places and enjoy the sunshine which the weather gods have hopefully given us.
We pack up the car, find the kids plenty to occupy their minds while we travel and plan to be on the roads early to avoid the holiday traffic. You will also have made arrangements for your beloved pets to stay with friends, relatives or neighbours...but what if you want to take them on holiday with you?
If you’ve had your pet for a while then you will already know how they react to travelling in the car. If they absolutely hate it and get sick or highly stressed, the best thing is always to leave them behind with a responsible carer. It will only upset them and you as you drive miles away from home, knowing that they will hate every moment of it. Also leave them behind if they are injured, have a long-standing illness or are pregnant, as long journeys may aggravate their condition further.
If you are planning to stay in a hotel or B&B, do you know if they have a dog/cat policy? Some establishments simply do not allow pets, whereas others may ask that you book a particular room, which may cost you extra.
Whether you’re travelling to a campsite or to stay with friends and family who are a fair distance away, here are some pointers to help ensure the safest and most stress free journey for both you and your pet.
When you reach your destination, try to keep your pets routine as normal as possible. They do not always react well to change, particularly when they are away from home. Stick to their normal food and walk times, making sure they have a comfortable bed space where they can rest without being disturbed.
- Feed pets at least 2 hours before you start to travel. They are more likely to be sick if travelling on a full stomach.
- Pack plenty of water and a large drinking bowl. Keep water in a cooler box if travelling on a hot day in order to keep it fresh and cold.
- Stop at regular intervals so that they can run around and relieve themselves. Travelling in the car is likely to make them want to go to the toilet more often than normal.
- Invest in some window shades, or re-use ones you may have had for your children when they were young. This will stop the sun from hitting your pet directly, keeping them cool and helping to keep dehydration at bay.
- Ensure that the car is well ventilated, with air conditioning or open windows. Make sure that your pet is not able to escape through it while you are moving or when you come to a stop.
- If your pets are prone to motion sickness and you have no choice but to take them with you, make sure that you visit your local vet a few days before you travel. As with humans, pets can often be given medication which will help to keep nausea at bay.
- If your dog or cat is likely to jump around the car while you are driving, then use a dog guard to keep them in the boot space, or a harness which will strap them into the car in the same way as a human! Try the Saunders Dog Guard Tubular T15 or the RAC Adjustable 2 in 1 Car Harness Dog Seat Belt. To ensure your cat stays comfortable during a long journey we think the Catit Voyageur cat carrier is purrfect!
If you plan ahead and factor your pets into your travel plans from the start, there is no reason why your furry friends won’t enjoy the family holiday as much as you!
- Ensure that your pet is microchipped before you take them on holiday. If the worst does happen and they get away from you, any vet or rescue centre will be able to contact you immediately.
- Never, ever leave your pet on their own in a car during the summer, as this could potentially be fatal.
- Your dog or cat has a bag to pack to. They will need their lead and collar, favourite toy, treats, medication, blanket or bed and enough food to last the entire holiday.
- Take care when travelling on a ferry or train too, as this can be equally as distressing.