Any pet owner knows that keeping pets happy while on holiday can be seriously difficult. Whether you’re taking your pet with you or leaving them in the care of a trusted individual or family back home, both you and your pet can find this an incredibly stressful and emotional experience. It’s important to minimise distress for all concerned, especially if you want to make sure that your holiday is as rewarding and relaxing as you need it to be.
In short, you need both you and your pet to be happy with whatever arrangement you settle on. To that end, you’ll need to create optimal conditions while you’re on holiday. You’ll have a completely different set of priorities if your pet is coming with you versus if they’re staying at home. Either way, it’s your responsibility to make sure your pet is emotionally and physically happy during your journey. Here are some of our tips and tricks for how to keep your pets happy during a vacation.
If they’re going, buy a good-quality pet carrier
This is more important if your pets are accompanying you on holiday, but it’s still crucial even if they’re not. A good-quality pet carrier is important for your pet’s happiness and will dictate how they’re feeling during your journey to your holiday destination. Buying from sites like Doggie Solutions ensures that your pet is getting the best possible treatment when it comes to accessories. Don’t skimp on this aspect of petcare, because you’ll regret it if you do.
If they’re staying, put them in the right hands
Your next-door neighbour might be a wonderful person, but if they’re forgetful or neglectful then they won’t make a good carer for your pet while you’re away. Don’t pick people to look after your beloved friend based on how much you like them; pick them based on their ability to look after the pet. They should be attentive, have a good memory, and be affectionate and loving towards animals. Anyone else would just unduly distress your pet.
If they’re going, know the law on travelling
Most UK airlines won’t let you bring pets onboard. Naturally, assistance dogs are exempt from this rule, but they’re also not really pets as much as they are co-workers. Some will allow you to bring pets onboard for a fee, but for the most part you simply won’t be able to fly if you have a pet with you. Bear that in mind when you’re booking your flight, because you don’t want to show up to the airport with carrier in hand only to be told that you can’t go.
If they’re staying, make sure they’re entertained
Leave enough stuff for your dog (or even your cat, or any other pet) to do. Animals get bored just like we do and crave stimulation. If you don’t give it to them, they might cause some damage to your house or possessions, not to mention the emotional distress of your pet being unhappy. Scatter toys around the house and make sure whoever you appoint to look after your pet is au fait with the games they like to play. Think about keeping a constant source of noise for dogs as well.
If they’re going, keep your car ventilated
Your pet’s carrier should be very well-ventilated. You’ll be literally harming your dog if you don’t make sure their environment has enough air. If the dog gets hot and needs to cool down, you need to be prepared to stop or allow one of your passengers to give the dog some water. Don’t just ignore your dog if they complain, because that could be the beginning of a more serious health problem. You need to ensure the car is well-ventilated for the comfort and health of your pet.
If they’re staying, keep a regular routine
If your dog has a regular time they like to go for a walk, or if your cat likes to go outside at a certain time, it pays to keep these timings as similar to when you’re at home as possible. A regular routine is very important for dogs. This is a little less true for cats, but it still stands. Dogs rely on routine to feel like their environment is safe and comfortable, and if you’re on holiday, the last thing you want is for your pet to freak out because you’re not there and things aren’t the way they usually are.
If they’re going, keep a regular routine
Even if you’re taking your dog with you on holiday, it’s still important to keep up that routine. Dogs have a body clock (or circadian rhythm) too, and they can tell when something isn’t quite right in their usual routine. If you normally take your dog out for a walk at 9am, try to judge when that would be by local time and take the dog out then. If you absolutely can’t do this, try to deviate from the normal time as little as possible in order to minimise potential distress.
If they’re staying, leave contact info – for you and the vet
Nothing feels worse than an emergency striking your pet while you’re on holiday. To make sure this goes as painlessly and smoothly as possible if it does happen, make sure your chosen pet-sitter has the contact details for both you and your vet on hand. While your pet-sitter is likely completely capable of contacting a vet for themselves, it’s better if they know who the pet is registered with and also if they know of any pre-existing health conditions that may cause complications.