The holidays can be a very exciting time for you and your human family but it can be a confusing and disruptive time for your furry family members. Once the search for your ideal holiday destination has been completed, there is a lot to be done to ensure that your pets are as happy and comfortable during the awesome holiday break. Whether you find a pet-friendly spot and will be taking your animals with on the holiday festivities or your pets will be staying home, your pet’s needs will need to be carefully considered during this time. Whether you have dogs, cats or both, don’t let the holiday excitement get the better of you or your pets...
One would assume that if your pet will be with you, looking after their needs will be business as usual and you do not need to make any special arrangements for holiday time with your pet. That, however, is not the case as the new environment brings with it many new scenarios and surroundings for your pet to navigate through. This situation presents a number of little challenges for you to find solutions for. Some of the considerations have been listed below.
Some say the journey is part of the holiday however you will find many humans that disagree with the statement. If humans tend to find travel uncomfortable, you can only imagine the confusion and discomfort that travelling causes for your pets. If you decide to drive with your pet in the vehicle make sure you consider their discomfort and stop regularly for them to drink water and do their relevant business. If your pet is travelling on a plane or train, make sure your travel box meets the requirements and that the logistics around the travel are as calm and stable as possible. Whichever travel method your pet lands upon, it is advisable to speak to your local veterinarian about the possibility of calming medication to keep your pet relaxed throughout the journey.
Hopefully, your search for accommodation has lead you to a pet-friendly place however it is advisable to double check the property and surroundings upon arrival to ensure the house and its surrounds are indeed suitable to your pets and their specific needs. Double check that there are no loopholes through which they can escape as they are bound to get lost if they wander through the unfamiliar surroundings. Spend time going through the property with your pet so that they know how far they can explore and what their limitations are. Remember that all of this is new to your pet so show them where they can find their food and water and where they will sleep at night rather than assume they will go where they would usually go at home.
Make every effort to include your pet in all the fun and excitement of a family holiday. If you head off to the beach rather take your dog with if it is possible as leaving your dog behind in the unfamiliar surrounds of the holiday accommodation could be quite lonely and depressing and may bring about destructive behaviour which could be awkward if you are renting the holiday accommodation. Holidays and walks in the countryside go hand in hand and that is right up your dogs’ alley too so take them along.
You may have become accustomed to your local store stocking all the different food, treats and other items that your pet is used to, however, you may find that the local holiday shops may cater for a completely different market and carry a different range of products. It is advisable to take all the relevant pet supplies with you when travelling with your pet to make sure your pet is not without any of the usual comforts although out of the usual surroundings.
Along the journey, your pet is going to be in many new places and situations and most likely come across many new smells, people and other pets. Some pets may find the new surroundings quite intimidating and could put them on edge for social interactions with humans and pets. The result of being on edge could be some unfamiliar reactions and some unusual aggression which is your pet's’ way of protecting themselves through the vulnerability. Make sure your pet is well trained and comfortable with other people and pets before you embark on the journey and put your pet in potentially difficult situations. If you are unsure of how your pet will react, introduce them slowly and keep an eye on them.
Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are 100% up to date and find out if the region you are travelling to has any specific issues that are not as prevalent in your hometown. Then find out from a veterinarian if your pet requires extra protection before heading off on your journey. You will find certain diseases occur more regularly in certain regions such as rabies being more prevalent in KwaZulu Natal than it is in Gauteng.
Travelling with your pet can involve some extra searching for accommodation and the logistics around it, however, being on holiday with your four-legged family and being able to spend your relaxing time as quality time with pets by your side is surely worth finding a balance for.