If you own a pet, heading away for a holiday can involve the sad moment where you have to drop them off at a cattery or a kennel – or leave them with a friend to be looked after. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are plenty of places that are pet-friendly and let you bring your furry friends with you.
Before you travel though, it’s important to be prepared. Start by making sure your pets are up to date with their vaccinations and worming. Certain places you travel may also pose a health risk for your pet. Have a chat with your vet about where you are travelling. They can let you know if your pet needs any extra protection or if there is anything you should be looking out for.
For example, if you’re planning to holiday in certain parts of the East Coast of Australia it is a good idea to make sure your pets are up to date with tick preventatives, as this area is home to a specific type of paralysis tick.
If you’re planning to drive, make sure that your pets are safely secured in the car. It is very dangerous to have unsecured animals in your car – for you and for them. Not only can animals behave unpredictably if they get a fright, but if you are forced to stop suddenly they may get thrown around inside the car in a way that could harm them and you.
Smaller animals should be placed in travel cages that are safely tied down with a seat belt or secured to the floor. Larger animals should wear a harness that is secured with a seat belt. If you have a station wagon or an SUV, large animals can also travel in the back, as long as they are secured with a harness or a solid cargo barrier is in place.
Travel sickness can be a common problem for both cats and dogs. The simplest way to overcome this issue is to avoid feeding your pet for a couple of hours before you start driving.
If your pets suffer from travel sickness your vet will be able to suggest other options such as anti-nausea medication. And remember that hot cars and pets don’t mix. Always take your pets with you when you leave your car – even if it’s only for a few minutes.
If you are planning to fly somewhere with your pets, a bit more preparation is required. The cargo hold of an airplane can be quite an overwhelming place for a cat or a dog, so the more you can do to put them at ease, the better. For example, get your pet used to their travel cage before you travel by encouraging them to sleep in there for a week or two. You should also talk with your vet about whether your pet should be medicated during the flight as this can help them relax and make the trip more enjoyable for them.
Before you travel, check with the airline to see what time you need to drop your pets off and whether to drop them at the airport or somewhere else. Also make sure that the travel cage you put them in is approved by your airline.
Once you arrive at your holiday destination, remember to watch out for the wildlife. Dogs and cats can cause great harm to other animals if allowed to roam free. On the other hand, there are plenty of animals that might harm your pets. Check with the locals to see if there are any particular creatures to watch out for, but always keep an eye out for animals such as snakes, jellyfish, crocodiles and even kangaroos.
Your pets will also be in unfamiliar territory, so it’s important that you keep them properly secure so they don’t run away and get lost. Dogs should be kept either indoors, on leads or behind reliable fences. Cats should be kept indoors, on leads or in a secure cat enclosure. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet is microchipped and that those microchip details are up to date.
Here’s a checklist of essentials that are worth taking with you.
- Pet food
- Bowls for water and food
- Poo bags for dogs
- Litter tray for cats
- Grooming equipment
- An ID tag with your accommodation details on it.