The days are long, the sun is shining, and it’s the perfect season for a restful getaway. But what about your faithful canine friend? Don’t they deserve a holiday too?
You can, of course, send your dog off for their own holiday at a boarding kennel, but if you’d rather not be parted from the pup, you can take them with you.
First and foremost, you need to consider whether your dog will enjoy coming on holiday with you. Travel can be stressful; whilst you may find that a change is as good as a rest, the disruption to their environment and routine may upset your dog. As specialists in dog training, we can help you to prepare your dog for travel, but if they are easily upset, it may be more appropriate to leave them at home in the care of an appropriate person rather than taking them away or sending them to kennels.
If they are happy to travel, you need to make sure that you’ve made arrangements for them to do so safely and comfortably.
If you’re driving, the most important thing to remember – which is worth repeating every summer – is never to leave a dog in a hot car. If you’re driving a long way and need to stop at the services, don’t leave them in the car while you sit inside enjoying your fast food dinner – look for a service station which will allow you to get them out for a walk. Make sure that they’re safe and comfortable in the car, whether you choose to put them in a travel crate or not, and that they have access to water at all times. Take frequent breaks to give them time to stretch their legs.
If you’re going further and they need to fly, they’ll have to go in a suitable flight container – talk to the airline about their specific requirements, and consider introducing them to the container beforehand so that they’re comfortable with it. They’ll need enough space to be comfortable, and enough water to last the journey – so try to plan for the shortest journey time possible, and schedule it overnight when it’s cooler if you can.
If you’re going on a ferry, remember that some ferry operators won’t allow dogs in passenger areas unless they’re registered service dogs. This can mean leaving them in your car, and you won’t necessarily be allowed to return to your car until disembarkation, so if it’s hot you don’t want to take this option. You may alternatively be required to put them in a container for the trip. Check with the operator beforehand so that you can plan accordingly.
Although Johnny Depp made headlines in the worst possible way when his dogs were illegally flown into Australia, it is possible to take your dog abroad on holiday with you – to some countries.
If you’re travelling within the EU, or to certain other listed countries, your dog can travel without quarantine – you just have to ensure that you follow all the rules and regulations.
This includes ensuring that your dog is microchipped – but as this became law in April of this year for all dogs in England aged eight weeks or over, this should not be an issue. They also need to have all the correct vaccinations, boosters and treatments, which will be listed on the official pet passport you request from your vet.
You also need to make sure that you use approved routes to travel, so if you want to go abroad with your pet it’s wise to plan well in advance.
If you’re heading to a warmer country, you may need to take precautions against heatstroke; walk them during the cooler parts of the day, ensure they always have shade and plenty of water, and consider packing a cooling jacket for them to wear. You should also pack your pet’s usual brand of food, as you may not be able to find it abroad, and you’ll want to keep such changes to a minimum.
For more advice on training your dog, whether for travel, agility or just good behaviour, you can get in touch with us on 07739 815 265.