Travelling with your pet
It’s almost the end of the summer holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze another weekend away into it – especially as next weekend is the bank holiday! But what if you have used up all of your pet-sitting favours on your last venture overseas - what are you going to do with your furry friend? That’s easy. Bring them with you! Well, not the goldfish, but your moggies and mutts can come on your family jaunt, and they’ll probably enjoy it as much as you will. However, you must be careful getting your pet from A to B. Travelling is stressful and it’s easy to forget the toll it takes on our pets. But don’t worry – here’s what you can do to make sure they’re safe on the road.
When to leave them behind:
Sadly, some animals just aren’t up for a jaunt abroad. You’ll need to find a pet sitter if your animal is:
• Ill or injured
• New-born with an unhealed navel
• Incapable of feeding itself and not accompanied by its mother
• Has given birth within 48 hours before starting the journey
• Heavily pregnant and likely to give birth during the journey
• Doesn’t deal well with stress and confined spaces
Planning is key in making sure you have a happy pet all the way from your house to your final destination. Here are a couple of things that will make your drive a whole lot easier:
Usually, you will need a dedicated carrier to contain your pet. This is essential both for the animal’s safety and your own. You may also want to get hold of a dog seatbelt. Visit your vet or your local pet shop to make sure you get the right size for your pet (and your car) so everyone is comfortable on the journey.
Pre-empt stress and travel sickness
Both of these can end up with a sticky end, and you definitely don’t want that if you’ve got to spend hours in the car. To help with the stress, introduce your pet to the idea of sitting in the carrier before you go on a long journey. Let them acclimatise to the carrier at home first, and then for quick drives around the block to get them used to the sensation. Like with humans, a pet’s travel sickness can be set off by looking out the window. Consider covering their view so they can’t see everything rushing by. However, we would suggest asking your vet for an anti-diarrhoea tablet/a mild sedative just in case your pet really doesn’t like car journeys.
Going on shorter journeys will get your pet used to the car, the smells, the people and the sensation of being in a moving vehicle. This will also help you get used to driving with them in the car – a big head lolloping in your rear view mirror can be distracting and is not ideal for a long journey.
Moggy motor tips
One for the felines; you can spray the car’s interior with Feliway (from your vet) and this will calm the cat down throughout the journey.
Keep in touch with your vet
Have your vet’s phone number programmed into your phone, and written on a piece of paper in your glove compartment just in case. Also, research vets near your destination so you know where to go if your pet becomes ill on holiday.
No pets allowed
Something no pet owner wants to hear, especially if you’ve lugged yours half way across the country. Before you leave, double-check your destination allows pets, and warn your hosts that you will be bringing yours. You never know, they may offer your pet a treat or two!
On the road
So you’ve prepped, and now you’re ready to go. But how will your pet cope with the journey? Here’s what you can do to make it easier for them:
Pets are a lot like children; they need to be constantly entertained, so make sure your car is ready for the journey. Put their favourite toys around their carrier/the boot, and if they particularly like an old cushion or blanket pop it in with them for comfort.
Travelling is stressful for pets as well as humans, and your pet will get just as cranky if it hasn’t been sufficiently fed, rested or exercised. Try to keep to your pet’s usual routine to avoid unnecessary disruption. Remember to stop every couple of hours to give your pet a drink and a chance to stretch their legs. However, always use a lead or a harness to make sure your pet doesn’t run into the road.
NEVER leave your pet alone in the car
All pet owners know that leaving their pet in a car is bad. It’s hot, they’ll get stressed and it’s extremely dangerous. If you do have to leave them for a short while, make sure you’ve parked in the shade and cracked a window for ventilation, then return as quickly as possible. Far better, however, to take them with you.
So there you have it. You can now take your pet on a last minute holiday without worrying too much about them getting stressed or becoming ill. Enjoy what’s left of the summer!