With the summer holidays upon us once again, you may already have your holiday arranged, but are your pets ready for that “restful” break you are planning?
We humans love our holidays because they provide a welcome break from our normal daily routines, but it can be a very stressful time for our pets who may find a change to their normal routine very unsettling and this may present itself as behavioural changes and even a loss of appetite.
Your pet will deal with their change in routine far better if they are fit and healthy, so a veterinary check before you go away can be helpful in spotting any problems that may arise whilst you are away, it is also a great idea to let your veterinary practice know that you will be on holiday in case they need to see your pet in your absence or discuss your pets clinical notes with another vet. If your pet needs to take regular medication you will need to make sure that you have enough to last.
Kennels and Catteries
If your pet will be staying at a kennel or cattery, make sure that you arrange to visit it beforehand; You should be able to inspect it for cleanliness and see how happy the other boarders are. You will also be able to discuss the individual care your pet will receive and what their daily routine will be.
Many pets don’t mind going into kennels and there has been recent research that suggests some dogs find it really exciting. Some pets, however, really do not like the extreme change and sometimes noisy environment of a boarding kennel or cattery and can be very distressed by the whole experience. Before you leave, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date as they will not be allowed to stay in kennels if they are not; dogs may also require a kennel cough booster vaccination before their stay in kennels, so discuss this with your vet and the boarding kennels (ideally needs to be given at least 10-14 days before your dog goes in to kennels).
It is also a good idea to make sure your pet’s preventative flea and worming treatments are up to date before they go into kennels.
Some pets cope much better if they are looked after in their own home environment and many companies now offer pet sitting services. Someone will either pop in to see your pet once or twice daily or move into your home until you get back to provide 24 hour care. these services are becoming more and more popular with pet owners and are a great alternative to the stressful kennel environment.
Make sure that you are comfortable with the person/company who will be looking after your pet, that they are reputable and have the relevant insurance policy for this job.
Another option for dogs is that they go and stay in someone’s home until you get back from your holiday. After a chat with you about your dog’s requirements and favourite things a host or carer takes your dog into their home for the duration of your holiday.
Whichever type of care your choose for your pet, make sure that you let your veterinary practice know how long you will be away for and that you give permission for someone else to authorise treatment for your pet in case they cannot get hold of you in an emergency. If your pet is insured, make sure that your vet has a copy of the relevant paperwork/policy documents.
Taking your pet with you
If you are lucky enough to be taking your pet on holiday with you, remember to take food, toys, bedding and pet insurance details with you.
If your pet is microchipped you may be able to update your pet’s id chip details to your holiday address and contact number (just remember to change it all back when you return!). You should also ensure your dog or cat is wearing an id tag with your contact details on it at all times, in case he or she gets lost (This is a legal requirement for dogs in the UK when in a public place).
It is a very good idea to know where the local veterinary practice is and their phone number in case of emergencies.
Dog owners should make sure that they know of any local rules and regulations regarding where and how dogs can be walked – this is especially important on beaches and in protected areas.
Remember not to leave your pet alone in a car or caravan, especially sunny days as they will get far too hot.
You can read our articles on travelling with pets for more information about how to keep them as comfortable as possible during the journey.
Pet Holiday Checklist
- Food and bowls
- Pet first aid kit
- Collar with id tags
- Id chip details updated as necessary
- Contact number and address of a local vet (plus your own vet’s number in case they need to contact them)
- Pet insurance details
- Let your usual vet know if you are going away and your pet is in someone else’s care
- Recent photo of your pet in case he or she runs away from where you are staying