Summer holidays are right around the corner. If you plan on taking your pets on that cross-country road trip, or even just to visit some friends at the lake – the RHS encourages you to plan ahead. Sometimes, leaving your pet with a friend or family member or a local kennel is the best option. But, if you are heading out with your pet in tow, consider the following tips to ensure a happy and safe vacation for everyone:
- Visit the vet.
Consider scheduling a visit to the vet before you leave on holidays to ensure your pet is healthy and able to make the trip. It is also a great time to pick-up any medications that may be required for an extended time away from home. Also, make a list of vets in the area that you will be vacationing in, just in case.
- Plan your stay ahead of time.
If you plan to stay in a hotel or resort, check to ensure that the resort allows for your type of pet. Some accommodations may say they’re pet friendly but have restrictions on the size of animal and require your pet to be crated if left alone.
- Pack well.
Pack all of your pet supplies including leash and harness, food and water from home (and a bowl for use while traveling), required medications, vaccination and ownership papers, first aid kit and a couple of favourite toys for comfort.
- Buckle up.
Pets should always be secured while travelling by car with a properly fitting car harness or in an appropriately sized carrier or kennel. Unsecured pets could be severely injured or injure others in case of an accident.
- Watch the windows.
Avoid letting your pet stick their head out the window while you drive. Although they may love having the wind blow their fur, they are subject to injury from insects or highway debris.
- Take a break.
Make the journey comfortable for your pet by planning plenty of rest stops so your pet can stretch their legs and visit the nearest tree if needed.
- Never leave your pet alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes.
Temperatures can rise very quickly to levels that can result in severe injury to your pet or even death. Rolling down the windows or leaving the air conditioning running are not suitable solutions.
- Know the rules.
Make sure you know local laws at your destination; some may ban or restrict certain types of animals or specific breeds. Also, be sure to know the rules with respect to where you can and cannot walk with your pet such as parks and beach areas.
- Watch out.
Although your pet may do very well-off leash at home, it’s not always the same case in a new area where sounds, smells, traffic and other animals (including wildlife) may differ. Avoid any wandering and keep a close eye on your pet.
- Ensure identification is clear and accurate.
Should your pet become separated from you, clear and accurate identification is critical in finding your pet. Be sure your pet is properly identified with collar tags and microchip and that all of your contact information with your vet and the microchip company are up to date. Whenever possible include a collar tag with your contact information when away from home, such as a cellphone number, so you can easily be reached on the road.