By: Veronica Lewis
A family vacation is generally not a very happy time for a pet. And that’s not because they understand what’s happening and realize they’re being left out of all the fun, but just because they’ll be left behind for a while.
They’ll be left in some kind of pet-boarding location, which can be great for them but it’s not always an optimal environment for a pet, especially if it’s their first time, or with a pet-sitter which is probably a more desirable option but it still means they’ll be away from their family.
This can also make for a stressful time for the family itself. For one thing, most people don’t want to be separated from their pet but there’s also the likelihood that they’ll spend a lot of the vacation worrying about how their friend is doing instead of enjoying themselves.
And even leaving families out of the discussion here for a moment, even people who just like to travel on a regular basis will usually have to leave their pet behind. Travelling and pets are two of life’s great joys, it shouldn’t be so difficult to enjoy both should it?
And yet, a lot of people don’t consider the possibility of taking their pet with them, even if it is a journey that they can undertake by car. The perceived complications and hassle of taking the pet along are probably a big deterrent.
There’s also the fact that a lot of people might be concerned that the journey could be stressful or unsafe for a pet. Stuffing them up in the car for a number of hours does seem a little cruel on the surface.
But truth be told, it doesn’t have to be a terribly uncomfortable experience for your pet, nor does it have to be a terribly complicated one for you. There are ways to simplify the process of taking a pet on vacation with you.
If you take certain measures and effectively prepare for the journey and how you’re going to set everything up, then taking your pet travelling with you, shouldn’t be anywhere near as worrying as people think it is.
Here’s a few tips for taking your pet on vacation with you:
- Microchip Them
Getting your pet microchipped is something that you should probably do anyway, regardless of whether or not you plan on taking them on vacation with you, but if you are going to travel with your dog it’s especially important.
Microchipping is not as invasive of a process as people think it is and it comes with too many benefits for you not to at least consider it. For one thing it will last a lifetime, so you never have to worry about getting it redone, but it also dramatically reduces the chances of losing your pet.
And if you’re taking them to a different city or even a different country, losing them would be catastrophic. Especially since they’ll be in an unfamiliar environment which makes the chances of them wandering off even higher.
No matter how careful you are, the possibility of your pet getting lost is always going to be there, and if you’ve got them microchipped then you will more than likely have them back before too long.
So make sure you take this step, it’s the most responsible choice if you plan on taking your pet travelling with you.
- Have the Right Documentation
Just like you need a passport or a visa or whatever else is required to get into a different country or sometimes you even need certain documents when travelling within your own country, and it’s often the same for pets.
You will probably need a health certificate which confirms your pet isn’t running the risk of carrying any dangerous diseases into another place. So this will mean a trip to the vet before the journey.
And then if you’re travelling by air there’s definitely going to be some forms to fill out. Most of the time there will be some stuff that’s specific to the airline so contact whoever you’re flying with beforehand and they’ll refer you to the paperwork.
- Prepare a Travelling Kit
There are certain essential things to bring along that your pet is going to need for the journey and once you get to the destination. You wouldn’t go on any kind of trip without bringing things you need and the same logic applies to a pet.
So think of all the stuff that a pet requires when you’re at home because it’s not quite as easy for them to acclimate to a slightly altered lifestyle in such a short space of time. The goal is to replicate their homelife as much as possible.
Your travelling kit for your pet should have food and water bowls, a scooper, some treats, your grooming supplies and then any medication that your pet needs and also bring a pet specific first-aid kit.
If they’re going to be in a travel crate, then make sure that it’s a spacious and comfortable one. Also, bring along a toy or two to keep your pet occupied during the journey and when you’re doing activities that they can’t join in on.
I’d also suggest that, if you have space, you should bring a vacuum that is effective in getting rid of pet hair so that you don’t leave a mess in the place that you’re staying. This is just a courtesy you should try to offer.
- Be Careful With Their Travelling Meals
Not a nice thing to have to think about here, but the last thing that you want to have to deal with when going on a long car journey is dog or cat vomit. Sorry for putting that image in your head but it’s a thing to think about.
Dogs are not as used to travelling in moving vehicles as we are and it can upset their stomachs. Of course, this does happen to humans too, but we can communicate the fact that we feel unwell and need to get out and throw up, an animal can’t do that.
To avoid this, feed your dog about three hours before the journey starts. You can take some long breaks of course and feed them again if it’s a particularly long journey, but don’t feed them in a moving vehicle. It’s a recipe for disaster.
- Be Mindful of Accomodation
A lot of hotels will be open to guests bringing along dogs and cats, but ideally you should probably choose Airbnb or look for a house or apartment that you can rent. It’s better to have some private space.
That way you can be a little bit more comfortable about leaving the dog behind if you want to go out for a meal or something. But also, make sure that the pet policy actually allows for whatever breed you have.
And be sure to communicate with the host beforehand and have a discussion about what you’ll be bringing along with you. Even if they allow for pets, you want to make sure that the space is big enough and that there’s nothing that isn’t pet-friendly about the environment.
It would be advisable to research local vets in case of emergency as well as what stores are nearby in case you need something for your pet.
There are a lot of things to think about when taking a pet travelling with you, but it’s definitely worth it if it means you can spare yourself the stress and anxiety involved with leaving a pet behind. And it will probably be an enjoyable experience for your dog too.