Nothing beats the feeling of finishing work for a well deserved holiday. However, often that feeling is tarnished by the realisation that you will be leaving your beloved pooch behind. Putting up with two weeks away from your fluffy companion for the sake of a relaxing holiday doesn’t have to be the case! It doesn’t matter whether your break is in the UK or a little further afield, there’s always the option to take your pet away with you. There are a number of things that you must consider, however, so that your dog remains safe, comfortable and, in some cases, legal! Here are our top tips for a happy trip away with your pet dog.
1. Crate your dog to ensure safety and comfort in the car
Some dog owners feel bad about keeping their dog in a crate, especially on long journeys. The truth is, the majority of dogs are quite happy inside their crate – it’s their happy place. Placing your dog inside a crate for car journeys is essential – it keeps them safe, prevents them from distracting the driver, and ensures a comfortable journey for all members of the family.
If your dog already has a crate, and is used to being locked inside it, fantastic! You don’t need to do much other than moving the crate into the car and following your usual commands to get the dog inside. However, if your dog isn’t used to being inside a crate, it’s a good idea to start preparing them for the trip a few weeks in advance. Allow the dog to spend some time in there, with the door closed, and build a positive association. Speak to your canine friend with a happy, positive voice – they need to understand that it’s a safe, comfortable environment for them to spend time in. Most dogs adapt well to crate training, but there are plenty of detailed guides online if you encounter any difficulties.
2. Go for a long walk before embarking on your journey
If your dog is well exercised before you set off, it’s likely they’ll be tired enough to just curl up and go to sleep for much of the journey. It’s important to do this, as a restless dog is more likely to feel stressed and agitated throughout the journey. It also provides them with the opportunity to use the toilet before the trip – just as we do – particularly important if you’re embarking on a long journey without many stops!
3. Keep your dog relaxed and comfortable
There are many things you can do to keep your dog comfortable whilst in the car. Firstly, don’t feed them immediately before you depart. Whilst this can be tempting, especially if they’re not going to eat for a while, many dogs are prone to motion sickness and eating straight before you leave will only make the problem worse. It’s also a good idea to take any dog blankets or toys in the car with you. If they have a favourite toy, place it in the crate to comfort them. However, ensure that there’s no risk of strangulation or injury to the dog first – some toys aren’t suitable. If it’s warm in the car, use the air conditioning. Remember that it might not be as cool in the dog’s crate, particularly if they’re in the boot, so you might need to pack an extra jumper for yourself!
4. Take regular breaks
If you’re making a long journey, take regular breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs, have a drink, and get some attention. Never leave your dog unattended in the car, particularly during summer. The temperature inside the car can increase rapidly, and is extremely dangerous.
5. Maintain a normal routine
Dogs are used to their routine, so it’s important not to disrupt it too much while you’re away. Try to stick to their regular meal times – they know when they’re due to be fed, and will be hungry! Also make sure that you take your dog for regular walks and give them lots of attention. Being away from home can be strange and confusing for dogs, particularly during the first couple of days, so make it your priority to ensure they’re feeling happy and comfortable.
6. Be prepared
Before you go, be prepared and get to know the local area. Find out the nearest vets to your accommodation, and write down their address and phone number. That way, if anything were to happen whilst you’re away, you’ll be able to get there straight away. If you intend on eating out, research dog friendly pubs and restaurants before you leave to avoid disappointment.
Following these tips will ensure a memorable and fun trip for the entire family!
Take a look at our Pets Page for more info and to search our special range of pet-friendly properties.