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9 Tips for Taking Your Pet on Holiday

 by simone on 13 Jun 2014 |
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So many of us spend the entire year thinking about our next holiday - dreaming about the sand between our toes, the fresh and crisp mountain air, dozing in the sun or listening to the gentle crackle of a campfire. There are now enough pet friendly accommodation options and venues to enable your cat or dog to come along and unwind too. The keys to a great holiday with your pet is research and planning. There’s a lot to think about and you want to make sure that you make the right decision on behalf of your pet.  

Before you hit the road, take a look at our holiday tips.

1. Is it the right decision?

As much as we love our pets, it could be far more stressful and upsetting for them to be on holiday, than being looked after at home by a trusted friend or relative. You need to consider your pet’s temperament and experiences before taking them with you and remember that most cats do not like to travel.

Has your pet been away from home before? Does your pet obey basic obedience commands? Will they become anxious? Will your dog be over-excited and bark or damage property? Is your pet socialised? How is your dog around other people and other dogs? Does your pet have special needs or a medical or physical condition that may be exacerbated? 

2. Pets allowed versus pet friendly 

Accommodation venues that state they are pet friendly are usually referring to allowing well-behaved dogs. Although cat friendly places are increasing, unless specified you will need to enquire about having your cat stay. Some venues allow pets in designated areas but not in roomsFor all pets, ask what the rules of the venue are.

Are pets allowed in rooms? Are there any restrictions on number, breed or size? What facilities are available e.g. bathing facilities, grassed run areas etc? Are dogs required to be on a leash at all times? Is the premises properly fenced? Is it near busy roads? Can your pet be left unsupervised for a short period?

3. See your vet

Visit your vet before any holiday to make sure that your pet has had all the current vaccinations, worm, flea and tick prevention required and are in good health. If you are travelling during tick season or to an area with paralysis ticks, then thoroughly check your pet twice each day when there. If your pet is on medication ensure that you have ample to last your holiday. Some accommodation venues may request a certificate of health or statement of vaccination.

4. Identification

Your pet should wear a collar and identity tag with their name, your name and mobile/cell number and the number where you are staying. If possible, also include the accommodation’s address too. 

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5. Research and plan

Check out what is available at your destination. Are there dog-friendly parks or beaches? Are there rules about dogs in the township or city area? What local attractions and eateries are dog friendly? Find the contact details and address of a local vet. If your pet has specific needs, it is worth contacting the vet in advance to notify them in case of an emergency.

6. On the road 

How does your pet travel in the car on short trips? If they find it distressing then perhaps rethink your plan to take them on holiday. If going away is a necessity, talk to your vet about safe, mild sedation or travel sickness medication if needed. For their safety and yours, when in the car, cats should be in a carrier secured safely by seat belts and dogs should be suitably restrained. Make sure that your pet is comfortable and have water, water bowl, and food on hand. Take plenty of toilet and water breaks and have a litter pan and litter available for your cat.  

In case of emergency, your pet’s carrier should be labelled with your name, address and phone numbers, similar details for a friend or relative as well as your pet’s name, date of last vaccinations and the name and address of your vet. 

7. What to pack

Some of these items are essentials and others will depend on your duration of stay, planned destination and activities. You want your pet to be as comfortable as possible when away from home. 

  • Their favourite bed and bedding 
  • A few favourite toys
  • Plenty of their usual food and preferred treats
  • Water bowls
  • Leash
  • Flea and tick prevention, flea comb
  • Shampoo, towel and any grooming equipment
  • Litter pan and litter
  • Plenty of garbage bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Any additional bedding or coats for cold climates
  • Floatation vest

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8. To remember

Although most venues will not allow it anyway, you should not leave your pet alone in a hotel room or campsite unless absolutely necessary and only for a short time. It is likely that being alone in a strange environment will frighten your pet. Cats are not suited to caravan parks and campsites. Don’t let your cat outside in any new environment unless they are on a leash or fenced in so can’t escape.

9. Decision time

Holidays can be a wonderful and enjoyable time for the whole family, but taking you pet it is not a decision to make spontaneously. There are many things that need consideration, lots of planning and research to do and always, always think of your pet’s welfare and needs first. Many animals will find it stressful being away from home, travelling or having a change in their routine. Ultimately, is taking your pet on holiday best for them? If not, leave them at home in the care of a responsible and caring person known to the pet. 

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