For many of us, a long weekend involves travelling. But whether your trip includes visiting friends and family or exploring somewhere entirely different, it can be hard to truly relax until you know your pets will be well looked after!
Here are a few things to be aware of when making holiday arrangements for your animal family members:
Get your pet microchipped
Whether your pet is coming with you or staying home, take the precaution of ensuring they are microchipped and – very importantly – that your contact details are up to date on the microchip register. Every year, the RSPCA struggles to reunite lost pets witrh their owners because their microchip contact details are out of date. You can find out more here.
It’s also definitely worth attaching an ID tag with your contact details on your pet’s collar too.
Be road trip ready
If you’re taking your dog on the road, it’s important for them to be safe and comfortable during the trip. This means they need to be used to travelling by car before you begin your adventure. Be sure to prepare everything they’ll need during the journey – and we’re not just talking about a great Spotify playlist.
Here’s a checklist of things to pack:
- Your pet's regular food and treats (don't forget a can opener if the food is tinned).
- Familiar bedding and/or a travel crate to sleep in.
- A vehicle restraint to keep your pet secure. These are widely available and can usually be attached to both your dog’s harness or collar and an existing seatbelt in the car.
- Food and water bowls. Always carry enough bottles of fresh water in case you can't find a tap.
- Collar/harness and lead.
- Any favourite toy(s).
- Grooming equipment including a towel in case your dog gets wet.
- A 'pooper scooper' and plastic bags to clean up after toilet breaks .
- Any required medications and a first aid kit.
Remember to take plenty of breaks during your road trip to give your furry friend the chance to stretch their legs and go to the toilet. Keep in mind that even the best-behaved dogs can become a bit excited in a new environment, so keep your pet on a lead whenever you’re somewhere new.
Most importantly, never leave your dog alone in a car. Even on a mild day, dogs can suffer from heat stress, which can lead to organ failure and even death.
Think carefully about air travel
Not all animals will be suited to flying. If your pet is prone to stress and anxiety, they will definitely be happier in an environment where direct supervision is possible.
While temperament is an important factor to consider, so too is your pet’s breed. Some airlines actually prohibit the transport of certain breeds because of the risks to their health, safety and welfare.)
If your dog or cat has a flat face or a particularly heavy coat, they’re going to be very susceptible to heat stress. Breeds such as Pugs, British Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Persian cats can suffer from breathing difficulties and have trouble cooling themselves down, while dogs such as Huskies, Samoyeds and Malamutes may overheat due to their thick coats.
If you are planning to transport your pet by air, here are a few things you’ll need to consider.
Make alternative arrangements for your cat
Cats can become really stressed by changes in their routine and environment, which means they’re not exactly ideal travelling companions. Your feline friend will probably be much happier at home.
Ask a trusted neighbour, friend or family member to visit once or twice a day to feed your cat, change the litter trays and provide company as needed.
Otherwise, book your cat into a boarding facility where they will be well looked after. We’ve got a list of factors to consider when finding a boarding facility here.