It’s bad enough setting out on a family holiday with the kids. “Are we there yet?” “I’m bored.” “I want the toilet.”
And that’s before you get out of the drive!
So what if you’ve a dog in tow as well?
It’s that time of year, isn’t it? School holidays. Off to the seaside, or some idyllic spot in the country. The seemingly constant rain in the wettest June on record hasn’t dampened your enthusiasm, because it’s going to be wall-to-wall sunshine from now on. Isn’t it?
But getting there. Oh, dear! It can be a bit of a problem if you have a dog – even if you do not have the additional worry of chattering children to contend with.
You may be one of the fortunate ones with a pet that lies doggo throughout the entire journey and doesn’t give you a moment’s trouble. On the other hand…
In any event, it’s worth taking just a little bit of care to ensure that your canine travelling companion is sitting comfortably, especially if you are planning to go some distance, and, of course, any advice will be particularly welcome if you are going on a lengthy trip with your pet for the first time.
If you belong to the latter group it might be a good idea to have one or two trial runs over short distances so that your dog will become used to jumping in and out of the vehicle and being cooped up for a while.
If you have room, give your dog the comfort of its own basket, or a pillow, cushion or piece of cloth that is familiar. Also make sure there is water at hand and a treat or two, and maybe a favourite toy. Plan your route so that you can break up the journey with stops for walkies – and other things – at appropriate places.
The more experienced among you will know by now that many dogs are totally unfazed by a trip in the car. In fact, they love it, and are quite disappointed when you drive off without them – to the shops, for instance. You are forgiven, however, if you return with a packet of their favourite biscuits.
If there is a problem your pet will let you know. Watch out for panting, drooling or licking lips – the most common signs that they are feeling the stress of travelling. As a precaution, pay a visit to the vets before you go. As well as making sure your four-legged friend is up to date with vaccinations you can ask what medication is recommended should anxiety and sickness become a problem.
Another course of action to help put your mind at rest – and this is something you might not think about – is to have your dog micro-chipped before going on holiday. That will minimise the chance of losing your pet pooch in an unfamiliar environment.
It is important that you keep the car well-ventilated while you are travelling – use the air conditioning if it is available – but never allow your dog to put its head out of the window unless you want to risk serious eye injuries.
If you are travelling with small children in tow as well, then make sure they don’t tease your dog or annoy it in any way and ensure that children and dogs alike are secured with a safety belt or harness.
There, that’s just about everything. Off we go!
“We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more worries for a week or two….”