Make your trip enjoyable for all the family!
Although jetting off to sunnier shores may not be an option for many just yet, holidays within the UK are a popular alternative. The excitement for us of packing our bucket and spade can prove to be a stressful experience for our animal companions.
Not all pets enjoy the upset in routine and this is something to consider before booking a get away. Can you take them with you? Would a house sitter or boarding kennels/cattery be a more suitable option?
Frequently dogs accompany their owners on holiday, enjoying the change as much as their humans! Even if the journey and swap in scenery is AOK with your pooch making sure they are safe and planning in advance can make the break even better. Check their microchip is up to date first and foremost. Getting a new tag with your holiday address and contact numbers is advisable as is checking out the nearest emergency vets to your temporary location. Some beaches don’t allow dogs, others allow pets but require them to be on a lead. Researching what the local authority allows before booking can avoid disappointment. Try to stick to your ‘home’ routine as this will help your dog settle, walk/feed them at the same time and provide familiar bedding & toys.
Cats and other small pets
Although some cats are not phased by change, the majority find it unsettling. A cat in an unfamiliar house will need to be kept indoors, just like when you adopt a new pet. Freedom to go outside increases the risk of them straying as they don’t know the area at all. Cats need safe places to feel secure and this is difficult in temporary accommodation.
Small furries and rabbits who are housed in hutches/cages need their home to come with them. Taking some clean but used bedding can help them feel safe. They need constant access to food and water and to be kept away from stressful situations with unfamiliar animals.
On the whole, cats and small pets are better at home or secure in boarding whilst you take a break.
Holiday boarding & Pet sitter
If you can’t take your pet away with you then you will have to board them or hire a pet sitter. With boarding, your pet will need to be fully vaccinated and up to date with flea and worm treatment. You should check the establishment is fully licensed, able to administer any necessary medication, that accommodation is to a high standard and that you are happy to leave your pet in their care. Visiting in advance of your holiday and asking questions should be welcomed by any reputable pets hotel.
Hiring a pet sitter or asking a trusted friend or neighbour to care for your animal is an alternative to boarding. It also means less disruption to your pets routine. Checking a pet sitters credentials, references and insurances is vital. Having an introductory meeting or 2 can help your pet bond with the sitter. A contingency for anyone caring for animals at home means instructions are at hand. Providing emergency contact details, listing your routine, making sure there is plenty supplies (food, poo bags, treats) and essentially your vet/pet insurance numbers just in case.
From 1st Jan 2021 pet passports are no longer valid. You need an animal health certificate from your vet issued no more than 10 days before travelling. Depending on the destination, extra vaccinations/parasite prevention may be required. For more information you can visit the Pet Travel Scheme or call their helpline on 0370 241 1710.
After this past 18 months, everyone needs a break! However, making sure your pet is happy and safe by considering their needs before getting the suitcases out of the loft means everyone will have a great time! There is lots more information available at RSPCA England & Wales.