January is the time that many people decide to go away on holidays, the biggest question though is, what to do with the pets? Often people with dogs decide to take them along as many accommodation facilities now accept family dogs. What do you need to think of before heading off?
A few days in the sun may be just what you are looking for, but the heat may be too much for your pet. Check with your vet before heading off to the beach and if you do go, ensure pooch has plenty of shade and drinking water.
Check the local disease and insect problems in the area you are going to, particularly if this is not in your home state, Some places are prone to infectious diseases like Lyme disease or pests such as ticks. Check with your vet about prevention strategies.
Whether you plan to go interstate or just to another part of your home state, your pet should be vaccinated and you should carry the current certificate with you.
Getting There by Plane
Travelling with a pet by plane in Australia can be quite cheap, but you need to check with the specific airline regarding their pet carrier requirements. Generally you are required to provide a crate of a specific size and style for your pet and need to be at the check in counter well before departure. Your pet will travel in the cargo hold.
During summer drives, keep the air-conditioner going. If you make a stop, never leave an animal alone in a closed car, where he/she can quickly overheat. Even on a cloudy day a short stop can turn fatal, it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a car to go from 35 degrees to 60 degrees. The same is true in cool weather. A closed car can still turn into an oven. Other points to consider:
- Pets should be tethered with a harness attached to the seat belt in the car, or in a station wagon, in the rear, with plenty of ventilation.
- Train your dog from when he/she is a pup to ride in the car. Take short neighbourhood rides, gradually increasing the distance as your pet becomes more accustomed. And don’t forget to lavish praise when you get to your destination.
- Whatever your distance, take bottles of water, food, treats, special blankets and toys.
- Make sure your stop every couple of hours – this is good for the people and the pooch. Put your dog on a lead and let him/her walk around for a while, never let your dog out of the car without the lead. This is also a good opportunity for a toilet stop.
- Don’t wind the window right down, you don’t want your dog to be hanging out of the window. Wind it down just a few inches so pooch can just put his/her nose out.
- Your dog should be micro- chipped and his license and identification tags engraved with your name and address. Some people add a neighbour or relative’s name; if you’re travelling, the finder can reunite you and your pet through that contact.
- Carry your pet’s vaccination and medical records with you.
- Take along your pet’s regular food, travelling is not the time to change your pet’s diet. To avoid carsickness, don’t feed your pet for three to four hours before leaving home.
To Sedate or not
Vets advise that animals should generally not be sedated in order to travel, whether by plane or car. Sedatives have the potential to cause side effects, which may be severe enough to require medical treatment. This is particularly important if your pet is travelling by plane. Travelling as cargo, a pet is not continually supervised by the crew, so they may be unaware of an emergency. In addition, should an emergency occur, there is no way that a visit can be made to a vet.
A Crate or Carrier is a Must
If you are going by plane a designated carrier is a must. This is a possibility but not totaly necessary if travelling by car, it depends on circumstances. The carrier should have enough space for your pet to move around easily, stand up and lie down. Mark it clearly with your name, address and phone number, and up arrows, and attach “Live Animal” stickers to it. Check with the airline you use to ensure your crate is the correct style and dimension for your pet.
- The container must have fixed food and water bowls and secure doors. Ventilation holes should cover at least 25 percent of the wall surface of the carrier, with most of them at the top half of the box. The water container should be attached to the inside of the carrier and unable to be upended. Water and food containers should be accessible without opening the carrier door.
- A few weeks before your trip, start getting your pet used to the carrier. Leave it out in your home, with the door open. Let the animal go in and out on his own. Once he’s comfortable with the crate, close the door for 5 or 10 minutes. When you let him out, don’t make a big production: This could make the animal equate the carrier with punishment, release with reward.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of hotels and motels that will make your pet welcome. Some may restrict sizes or breeds and some charge special fees and/or damage deposits. Make arrangements well in advance, if you just arrive you may be disappointed.
- Place a blanket or your pet’s regular bed on the floor to minimize shedding on the carpet. Do not let him sleep on the furniture.
- Put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door whenever your pet is in the room. If you don’t, the housekeeper may be injured or accidentally let your pet escape.
- Think of other pet owners coming behind you. Don’t ruin it for them!
When to Leave Your Pet Home
You or your vet may decide it is best to leave your pet at home. You then need to choose between a pet sitter or a boarding kennel. If you choose a boarding kennel, make sure you visit beforehand to see for yourself exactly where your pet will be living, what the recreation facilities are, and the expectations of the kennel in relation to behaviour and recreation. If you decide to have your pet in a kennel, take his favourite bedding and toys, and a piece of clothing that you wear, so he has familiar smells around him.