That’s it – enough work, work, work. It’s time to plan a weekend jaunt, a spring getaway or even a full-on summer holiday. But wherever you go, your pet may need to go too, so what are the dos and don’ts of taking pets on holiday?
DO ask if they really have to come. Most pets like routine and hate change. Cats are very unlikely to settle well into a holiday home, so if you don’t want yours to run away and disappear into the countryside, never to be seen again, leave them at home. And that, of course, means ensuring you have a trusted person calling in each day to feed your cat. At the very least, make sure the catflap is working properly and consider a special magnetic collar that allows only your pet in and out. Timed feeders are also a possibility but bear in mind that food can get smelly and mouldy very quickly in hot weather.
Dogs are different – no way can they be left alone to fend for themselves. You’ll need to book them into kennels well in advance, or you may prefer to consider a house/pet-sitting service while you’re away.
DO change your dog’s ID tag for one that has your holiday home address – it’ll help you get a speedy reunion in case they get lost.
DO check that vaccinations, flea and worming treatments are up-to-date. And check for ticks on your dog’s coat if you’re going to an area (like Exmoor) where these bloodsuckers are common.
DO pack familiar stuff so your pet stays as calm and relaxed as possible. At the very least, his own blanket, with its reassuring smell of home, is essential.
DO consider buying a crate, and get your dog used to sleeping in it well before your holiday, so he knows it’s a quiet and reassuring place to be. Not only will this mean he can be left safely for short periods, it also means you won’t wake up to find he’s chewed through the furniture in your holiday cottage.
DO take plenty of water for the journey – you can get pet travel bottles that incorporate a bowl – and allow time to break the journey for regular walk and wee breaks.
DO make sure your pet is safe and comfy while travelling, and can sit or lie down comfortably in a natural position if they’re in a secure carrier.
DON’T take pets anywhere they’re not allowed. Even Johnny Depp’s then-wife Amber Heard couldn’t get away with trying to sneak the couple’s pups into Australia on a private plane back in 2015.
DON’T leave your pet alone in a car on a warm day. Ever. Overheating happens horribly fast and can lead to death.
DO prepare well in advance if you’re planning to take your pet outside the UK. You’ll need a pet passport, provided by many vets, which includes confirmation of vaccination against rabies.
DO ensure your pet is insured. If things do go wrong, insurance gives you peace of mind. Petplan's Covered For Life® policies provide ongoing cover right into the old age of your pet. Find out about Petplan's Pet Insurance.
DO expect to have a fabulous time, and enjoy all those new and exciting walks with your dog…,