Pets are part of the family so why should they miss out on the fun of a family getaway? Read on for some useful tips on how to holiday with animals.
If you’re going away to an EU or non-EU country included on this list your pet will need a passport/veterinary certificate, microchip, and will need to be up-to-date with their vaccinations, to be eligible for travel. If you’re going on a trip to a country that isn’t on the list your pet will also need a blood test to be able to return to the UK. Cats, dogs and ferrets can travel abroad but it must be through an approved transport company on an authorised route. Detailed information on the rules of travelling abroad with pets can be found here.
Choose a welcoming location
Search for pet-friendly holidays like stays in log cabins and lodges with nearby access to pubs and parks that welcome animals.
Select an appropriate pet travel bag
If you’re flying, remember that only guide dogs are allowed to travel in the aircraft cabin area – other animals travel in the hold as cargo. It’s worth familiarising yourself with your airline’s regulations as they do vary from company to company; specifically, check that your pet’s crate will meet the requirements of the flight.
Once you’ve landed, a shoulder-carry pet travel bag or a lightweight travel trolley is useful for keeping animals safe whilst you’re away. They’re ideal for seaside holidays and road trips because the breathable mesh surface allows your pet to stay cool and keep an eye on what’s going on outside.
If you’re driving to your destination then a crate, carrier or dog car guard is advisable. An alternative to these more traditional restraints is a car harness. Your dog will be safely restrained which reduces the risk of injury should you be involved in an incident or brake suddenly, and they can also prevent accidents; as your dog is less likely to distract you in the first place.
Pack practical extras and toys
Take along freeze-able travel bowls to keep water cool as well as cool pads and gel harnesses to ensure your pet doesn’t overheat in sunny climates or during long journeys in the car. Bright, squeaky toys, chew toys and treats will keep pets entertained on motorways and country roads. Try to stop every so often so everyone onboard can stretch their legs and go to the toilet - and don’t forget your poop bags! It’s also worth packing a Travel First Aid Kit for any accidents.
Opt for a pet sitter
Choose a pet sitter (or better yet, friends and family!) if you’d prefer to holiday without your pet. Tell your sitter about your pet’s routine and provide clear instructions so your pet feels safe and secure. You can find registered pet sitters here here who offer home boarding (where you take your pet to them) or house sitting (where they come to stay at your home with your pet). Always check their references and insurance.
What about kennels?
Kennels and catteries should have licences and insurance too – pay them a visit to check the facilities are clean and the animals are well cared for before you select your boarding establishment. Double check that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and leave your vet’s contact details in case of emergency.
With a little pre-planning there’s no reason why your pet can’t enjoy a fantastic holiday too – you’ll both love the change of pace that a holiday at home or abroad can bring to the family dynamic.