It’s getting to that time of year when we can start to look forward to our summer holidays. For many, holidays aren’t exclusive of their pets – and there are increasing numbers of pet-friendly options so you can bring your dog along.
Whether you’re taking your dog on a domestic holiday or taking them abroad, here are a few reminders to make sure they stay safe and healthy.
1. Preparing to Travel
If you are planning on travelling long distances, whether home or abroad, it’s worth discussing with your vet as to whether your dog is in good enough health to make the journey. This is especially important with older dogs or dogs that have on-going illnesses.
If you’re travelling abroad,then there are a number of legal requirements and other precautions you need to do before you go. These vary from destination to destination, and are designed to keep your pet safe, and to protect the UK from the potential for exotic diseases such as rabies being imported. The requirements changed at the beginning of 2012 – again, you will need to talk to your vet for advice.
If your dog is on medication or has been on medication for an on-going or recurrent condition, write down the name of the condition and the treatment that the dog has been receiving so that you can share this information with the vet where you are on holidays should the dog become sick.
Write down and bring the contact details of your local vet, in case the vet where you are on holidays needs to discuss anything with your usual vet.
Another good idea is to do a bit of research and create a list of the contact details of the vet practices in the area where you will be on holidays. Should you need to contact them, you’ll know where they are and their phone number without having to look. It might be easy to do this at home via the internet – but remember you might have turned off data roaming if you’re abroad, or may not have a signal in other parts of the UK!
Some language phrases to describe different types of sickness in your dog could be accessed using a language dictionary or even google translate, although care needs to be taken with this approach given the potential for misunderstandings!
2. The Journey Itself
If you’re travelling in the car, then regular breaks on the journey are important. They allow the dog to stretch their legs, eat, drink and to take a toilet break.
When travelling in warm weather it is essential to ensure the dog does not over heat. This means access to plenty of fresh water. Make sure you do not leave the dog in a parked car when stopping for a break, for example in a motorway services. Dogs can very easily over heat in a parked car in warm weather – and this can happen even if it’s not sunny and in a surprisingly short space of time. Ensure the car is well ventilated when travelling e.g. using air con, or by having the windows down.
Be careful with giving the dog different food types when on holidays. It is best to try and keep the dog’s diet as close as possible to what it is at home. As with people, eating strange food can cause an upset stomach.
There’s more information on taking your pet abroad on this page on our site or alternatively, visit the Defra website.