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    Holidays with dogs: 10 practical tips

    Travelling with a pet brings a lot more pleasure than drawbacks. Sharing one of the best times of the year with your dog also strengthens your bond with the animal, while creating lots of treasured moments. Here we have composed a list of 10 handy tips for unforgettable holidays with dogs.

    1. The pet travels with the family

    Increasingly more families are very clear that they will take their dog with them when planning for their vacations. Fortunately, nowadays there are more accommodation options to meet this demand, there are even specialised websites that offer lots of vacation possibilities, from hotels to apartments, campsites, country houses, and so on.…

    Some examples of these websites:

    1. https://www.fundacion-affinity.org/en/travel
    2. http://www.hotelesperros.com
    3. http://www.viajarconperros.es
    4. http://www.hotdogholidays.com

    However, before reaching the holiday destination, you have to travel with your pet and need to take certain precautions to ensure the journey is as comfortable for the pet as it is for the family.

    2. Pre-trip check-up: consultation and first-aid kit

    It is a really good idea to visit the vet before embarking on a journey with your pet: The veterinary surgeon will perform a check-up, inform the owner of the compulsory vaccines in the country of destination, and issue a certificate of good health, if required. All the owner needs is a first-aid kit with some basic medicines for the dog, such as:

    • A dog ear cleaning solution
    • An anti-inflammatory cream
    • Antidiarrhoeal medication
    • Analgesics and anti-inflammatories
    • Gauzes, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
    • Antiparasitic products

    It is a good idea to obtain the contact details of a local vet in the vicinity of the holiday destination. Having all the information at hand is very useful in case something happens.

    3. Pack enough of the dog’s regular food

    Try not to change the animal’s usual diet during the trip, as this will help avoid indigestion and gastrointestinal disorders. At the holiday destination, you probably will not be able to find the same diet as the dog eats at home, so we recommend taking a small packet of the dog’s usual food with you to cover the trip or a sufficient amount of food in a bag.

    4. Travelling by car with your pet

    In the car, you need to take some minor safety measures depending on the type of dog travelling with the family. From transport cages and harnesses, to mesh guards and grilles – there are plenty of ways to keep your pet safe during the journey. With small animals, you can even use their travel bag. Whatever you choose, make sure your dog is protected in case you have to brake suddenly.

    During the journey, make sure your dog gets a chance to rehydrate each time you stop (every 2 hours) and eats when you reach your destination. 

    Your dog must be properly identified (microchip) and should wear a tag on its collar, or similar, with information about its owners. In addition, take the dog’s health card and, if you are travelling to a European Union country, its European passport. 

    5. Travelling by plane with your pet

    You need to weigh and measure your pet, just like you do with your luggage. Airlines set limits based on weight, usually up to 8 kg including the transport cage, and size for dogs that are allowed to travel with their owners in the cabin. Dogs that are larger or weigh more will have to go in a special transport cage in the hold. You need to check the company’s acceptance conditions before boarding.

    Travelling by plane can be stressful for pets, especially if the animal has to travel in the hold, away from its owners. Secondly, if the journey is longer than usual, they may suffer something similar to jet lag, which can lead to digestive problems and irratibility.

    It is not advisable to sedate pets travelling by plane because sedatives increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems during the flight, particularly in dogs with a flattened muzzle. What is more, animals cannot maintain their balance when sedated and are more likely to be injured if they are not secured properly.

    6. Travelling by train with your pet

    Local, regional and high-speed trains in Spain only allow cats and dogs under 10 kg and they must always be in a transport cage. The animal should travel close to its owner but if it annoys other passengers, for example, due to its behaviour, the train company may oblige the owner and their pet to change wagons or even get off the train.

    7. Travelling by ship with your pet

    This travel option is usually a lengthy one and animals tend to be transported in an area specifically for pets equipped with individual kennels, but which is inaccessible to owners.

    If your dog gets car sick, it will probably get seasick when travelling on a boat. If so, you should use a special product for travel sickness.

    8. Practical advice for once you reach your holiday destination

    Ideally, you should take your pet to the grooming parlour before the trip. A clean, well-groomed dog always gives a better impression when checking in at a hotel.

    Dogs are creatures of habit, but they face a completely alien environment when they reach their holiday destination. Initially, your dog may be timid, insecure, and even rather short-tempered.

    The best thing is to show a positive attitude, so that your dog can see that nothing bad is happening. Your pet will sense this and quickly return to normal.

    Your dog is also faced with new places, odours, sounds and maybe even different food.

    Dog owners must be aware of the possibility of intoxications due to their pet eating strange plants or unusual food.

    9. Holidays with dogs: take their toys as well

    You should take some of your dog’s toys and usual snacks with you, so that it does not feel homesick. This also means it will be more likely to stay quietly in the room if you decide to go out without it.

    10. Take your pet to a specialised kennel

    As a lot of families cannot take their dogs with them on holiday, they decide to take them to a specialised kennel. In this case, before leaving the animal at the kennel, you should take it to visit it beforehand, so that it can start getting used to the environment. Dogs love routine and changes affect them more than you might realise. Of course, we definitely need to leave our correctly identified pet (microchip) with up-to-date vaccines and, if necessary, let pet carers know about any special diets or allergies.

    Josep Campmany
    Associate No: COVB 1125

    Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Zaragoza and Advanced Management Program. Marketing Management (ESADE, Barcelona)

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