Travelling with your dog

♫♪ Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… ♫♪

…as long as you don’t have to go to work every day and can spread out your paws in the sun. For most of us, our summer holidays are the peak of the year, so we need to make sure our dogs feel the same way. Here are a few tips and tricks for how to make your dog’s travels just as relaxing as yours.

BE PREPARED

Nothing need surprise you or kill your precious holiday vibes when you’ve thought through all that could happen or you could need beforehand. First and foremost, take your dog to the vet for a pre-travel check-up to make sure they are fit for the adventure ahead. We’ll talk about obligatory vaccinations in the next section. Also, ask your vet if they can recommend a local vet or a veterinary clinic for when you’re away from home. It’s important to know where to take your dog in case of an emergency. Next, depending on where you’re going and what you’re planning on doing, you might consider purchasing some dog travel gear. If you’re going to be outdoors, your dog can carry their own food and water in a little doggy backpack. Take a collapsible water bowl with you and you’re all set to go exploring together. Don’t forget to take your PitPat on the adventure to make sure your dog gets the right amount of exercise even when there’s loads of unknown smells to sniff and new places to explore.

CONSIDER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

When you take your dog abroad there are some things to consider. To avoid hiccups at the UK border your dog must have had a rabies vaccination as well as a tapeworm treatment. They must also be microchipped – make sure you know where exactly the chip is on your dog. Also make sure you’ve got your dog’s passport or other travel documents with you when travelling. When crossing the border, your dog must travel in an authorised carrier. Check the UK government’s website for more detailed information and you should be good to go to take your dog abroad.

MAKE THE CAR YOUR DOG’S FRIEND

Your holiday destination is probably further away than your usual walkies, so you might have decided to drive there. That’s fine and probably one of the more dog-friendly ways to travel. We’ve got a few things for you to consider so the journey isn’t too stressful for your dog. First of all, help your dog get used to the car itself. Take them on short trips and make them familiar with their space in the car so they already know what’s coming for them when the big day comes. Next, for you and your dog’s safety, make sure they are properly secured in the car – remember to look up the legal requirements for the country you’re travelling to. Also, your dog shouldn’t have eaten for a couple of hours prior to the journey as they might get travelsick, just as some of us humans do. On the way, take enough breaks to give them the opportunity to relieve themselves and stretch their legs. If you keep all of these things in mind you can reduce your dog’s stress levels and help them relax in the car.

ONLY FLY IF IT’S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY

Taking your dog on an aeroplane can be very stressful for all parties involved and should only be done if there is absolutely no other way. If you decide to take your dog up into the air with you, make sure they are small enough to fit the airline restrictions and call ahead to book your dog a spot in the cabin. Use a carrier that is comfortable for your dog and pack enough treats, toys and food to make the trip as comfortable as possible for you and your dog. You can put one of your t-shirts into the carrier for your pooch to cuddle with so they have a familiar smell with them on their adventurous trip above the clouds.

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

Are you going to a place that won’t be as enjoyable for your dog as it will be for you? Realistically, the best option might be to let them stay at home. If you can’t leave your pooch with family or friends, hire a reliable dog sitter or find a good kennel for them to stay at. Make sure your dog is wearing a PitPat and see what they’ve been up to whilst you’ve been away.

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