Some of us will leave our beloved pets behind while others choose to travel with them. Here are a few hints to make sure that the Holidays remain a joyful time and not turn into a nightmare for everyone, including your pets:
For those who stay behind:
If they are going to a kennel, make sure it is a reputable kennel and that dogs get exercise time and cats a place to play. Cages need to be of a sufficient size and clean. Also make sure that your animal is a welcome customer (i.e. some kennels don't take animals requiring medicine) Take along your pets favourite toys and blanket to make them feel at home. For those who stay at home make sure that a trustworthy, responsible person is looking after them and not the neighbour's kid who screams every time Bubbles try to lick her hand. Remember that this person needs to be responsible enough to take them to the vet should something go wrong.
Ensure your pet is healthy, vaccinated and treated for parasites beforehand.
The last thing you want is to get a phone call to say that Kitsy's got snuffles or that Bruno got billiary two days into your holiday. Make sure that any medical or feeding requirements as well as other
idiosyncrasies (i.e. Rover will try to run into the street every time somebody opens the gate or Whiskers only drink water from a dripping tap) is known to the caretaker or the kennel manager. Be sure to leave the details of your vet with your house sitter or the kennel manager. Don't forget to
leave your own contact details too.
Make sure you pets have either been micro chipped, or wearing a collar and tag, even if just while you are away. Very often dogs escape when owners are gone due to a stranger being in the house. Gates are accidentally left open frequently so it can happen to anyone.
For those who travel:
Start off slow: make sure they are used to travel beforehand by slowly making regular car trips and that they are used to being restrained (i.e. you don't want to have Katy screaming from here to your destination because she's not used to the cat-box).
Make sure they can travel safely i.e. leads, collars with name and contact number. If your animal is not used to travelling then a crate or travelling box is advised. This is so that you can drive safely and in case of an accident, your animal is safe.
Always take a water and food on your journey. You never know when your car will break down between Nowhere and Nothing. Take-away snacks, and anything that is not their usual food, might lead to an "Oops" on your back seat, so rather avoid it by feeding the normal amount at the normal time of their usual food.
Make sure to pack your pets medicine with your own and that way you will never accidentally leave it behind. Never leave your animals unattended in you car. They overheat very easily.
If you stop, park in a shade, and take them for a toilet break and a drink of water. This helps them normalize their temperature and you also get to relax even if it is for a short break.
If there is a chance of your pet turning green every time the car moves make sure to get something for motion sickness from your vet beforehand. There is many products on the market and you vet will know what works. Also you will need extra for the return trip.
Please bear in mind, you are going to new places, so be aware of unexpected dangers i.e. undiscovered rubbish bins, cats and dogs getting lost, busy roads etc.
Animal Rescue Organisation