As I sit down to pen this blog I find I’m having to pinch myself to curb the excitement of finally being able to think about heading on a vacation this summer.  It’s been so long since we’ve had the opportunity to think about travelling and moving outside the boundary of our local area.

I’m sure if you are anything like me, now that we are emerging from lockdown and getting back to normality, you’ll want to get the most from any trips away, even if it’s only a day trip to the coast, and make summer 2021 one to remember.

This past two years have been different for many reasons but in many ways it has made connections much closer with those that matter most and make us appreciate the simple things in life a lot more.  There has been a marked rise in pet ownership during this time and once again, if your like me, the thought of leaving the family pet out of this years holiday plans is unthinkable as they’ve been for many of us our companions, walking buddies and they’ve perhaps managed to put a smile on our faces even on the most difficult days of lockdowns.

I have always found over the years the best vacations have been the ones that I have fully researched beforehand.  Therefore I’m going to go through what I think would be the most useful tips for planning a holiday with your pets this year to make it the most successful trip for you and your loved ones, as I’m sure you’ll agree this years vacation has been a long time coming.

Due to the fact that most people, like ourselves, will opt for staycations this year I will focus on tips to ease car travel with your pet first.

1. Get your pet used to the car 

Get your pet used to the car, especially those of you with young pets that have maybe only travelled short journeys before.  The first thing I have ever done with any of our pets is to introduce them to the car when it’s stationary.  Get them use to the area they will be traveling in and keep the doors or windows open at first to ease them in gently.  Praise and treat them positively every time they sit in the car in this stationary mode.

2.  Build up the length of time in the car gradually 

Like anything in life practice makes perfect.  Make sure you have given your pet the chance to build up their tolerance to car travel over a period of time.  Travelling on motorways can produce a lot of anxiety with noise levels and speed being very different from country roads so give your pet the chance to experiencing this before setting off on a long journey.  Also have a think about the restraints for your pet in the car and make sure the area that they will be using is safe and also well ventilated and has room for the animal to move around a little and remain comfortable.

3.  Plan the route 

Pets need rest periods, just like us.  It’s certainly worth having a look at your route and pinpointing where you can stop along the journey to let your pet have a toilet break and drink as travelling in a car can be very hot and just like us your pets will want to stretch their legs.  Also when looking at the route to your destinations make sure you think about avoiding busy times of traffic so there’s less time spent sitting in long traffic jams.  I find setting off very early in the morning or late at night best.  This will also mean that you could be travelling with your pet when it’s normally their time for sleeping so there’s less chance for anxiety to creep in.

4.  Think about car sickness 

There are a few things that can be really useful when travelling with pets that are prone to car sickness.  The first thing I’ve found over the years is paying attention to when you feed your pet before setting off.  It’s best to feed them about ¾ hours prior to setting off.  Make sure also if you do give your pet water give it from a shallow bowl so they don’t drink too much at one time.  Keeping the pet well ventilated and cool when travelling can be useful too, a cooling mat may be an option.  If in the case that your pet may vomit it may be an idea to have a bottle of Oralade handy on arrival to replace electrolytes and build them up on arrival at your destination.  It goes without saying that dogs should never bee left in hot cars and this need to be something to think about when taking rest stops for yourself too.

5.  Packing 

Make sure you think about your pets when packing.  Take their food, bowls and anything like toys etc.. that they are used to.  Also if they are on medications make sure you have enough to last the duration of the holiday.

6. Security 

The thought of anything happening to my pets when I’m away from home fills me with dread.  Make sure you have you pets microchipped in case they happen to go missing at all and again think about where they are at all times and are they safe and secure.

There are many other things I do consider such as are they pet friendly cafes etc in the area and also nice places to go for a walk as I will be travelling with my dog.  The main thing is to make it work for you.  Remember this is a guide to help you make the most of your trip and the more research and preparation you can do beforehand the more successful the trip will surely be.  I hope this will be useful for you and I will be so excited to hear from you about how your summer 2021 vacations have been and most importantly how your furry friend have enjoyed themselves.

Happy Holidays x