Taking your pet on holiday is easier than ever before. But while this will come as a relief to caring pet owners traditionally torn about how long they can leave their faithful friend behind for, it is not as simple as bundling Fido in the car – there are some things you need to do in advance. So take a look at these hints and you should have a great trip.
Get the documents in order
The Pet Travel Scheme has made a huge difference to those who want to travel abroad with their animals, preventing the need for a long period of quarantine on return to the UK. You’ll need to make sure your pet has the right vaccinations and a European Pet Passport – more details of the requirements can be found here.
As well as travel documents, you need to make sure that you have adequate pet insurance in place. Vets fees can be very high abroad, and there is also the potential cost of repatriation for a seriously ill pet. Make sure you have a policy like this one from Pets at Home which covers all these things – it’s worth paying a little extra.
Invest in the right equipment
A pet carrier is an obvious necessity, but remember that you need to invest in a robust one; keeping your pet secured is about their safety but also yours – a loose cat or dog in the car could cause a serious accident. You’ll need a water bowl and some food (choose dried food that won’t perish or leave a lingering odour in the car!) as well as a couple of toys to keep the animal entertained. Pack all of this in a dedicated bag along with the documentation, so that everything is in one place.
Prepare your pet
If your pet has never travelled before, you could be in for a big of a shock if you don’t make some preparations before you set off on your trip. Some cats and dogs don’t like being in the car for five minutes, let alone a whole day. The first thing to do is to train your dog or cat with some behavioural techniques that will keep them calmer, and less inclined to act out when in an enclosed space. Then take some shorter practice trips; your dog or cat is likely to be agitated the first time it travels, so ease it in with a few 15-minute journeys so it doesn’t find your long holiday drive too stressful.