On the Road With Your Dog

June 07, 2016 in Tips for holidaymakers

For some people, their furry friend is a part of the family. And why would you leave family at home when you go on holiday? The following tips and information can help guarantee a carefree holiday with your dog. 

Dog with blanket

A Crate for the Road:

We are all familiar with the image of a dog on the seat sticking his head out the window, tongue hanging out of the mouth, enjoying the wind and the road. However, this is dangerous for both the occupants and the dog. If you unexpectedly need to brake, the dog can be thrown around the motorhome, potentially injuring both the animal and the occupants inside. Additionally, if your pet gets into a troubled state during the journey, this could distract the driver while they're driving. For these safety reasons, a crate where your dog can safely stay whilst you are driving is a good option to explore. However, do make sure that this crate is large enough for your pet to turn around in whilst inside. Also make sure that the crate is securely positioned, so it cannot turn over or move through the vehicle whilst you are driving. If traveling with young dogs, a crate is an even smarter idea, as at the end of the holiday you'll need to clean your vehicle, and young dogs can create quite the mess that's not that fun to pick up! 

Dogs in crate

Sick Pups:

It is not only people that suffer from motion sickness, as dogs can also suffer from this ailment. Unfortunately, road trips are not for all dogs and you should consider this when planning your trip. Puppies and young dogs are especially prone to motion sickness and some dogs throw up even when they just see a car. Therefore it is important to make sure that your dog can handle a motorhome holiday. One way of testing this could be to let the dog get used to a motorhome by trying to make short trips inside of one. What also helps is that your furry friend travels with an empty stomach. If your dog starts to feel unwell during the trip, make sure you put a blanket or newspapers under your pet, as this can help them get comfortable and alleviate some symptoms. Try to normally stop every 2 to 3 hours to let them stretch their legs, but stop more frequently if your dog is not feeling well. The bumpy movements of the motorhome can cause your dog to become disorientated; so letting the dog walk outside can help the dog to feel much better. It is also important to make sure your dog is properly hydrated, as a lack of water can also contribute to the sickness. Additionally there also tablets that can be prescribed by a vet in order to help your dog not suffer from the sickness. 

Keeping Cool and Calm:

If you're spending a lot of time in the sun, as you may hope to do, temperatures can get dangerously high inside your vehicle. If there is no air conditioner, make sure that you institute enough breaks to leave the motorhome whilst traveling. If possible, do not leave your motorhome in the full sun, but instead leave it in the shade. It is also very important that you never leave your dog alone in the motorhome as dogs lose their heat much less easily than humans do. As vehicles such as cars, caravans and motorhomes swiftly turn into furnaces in the sun, with temperatures reaching 50 to 60 degrees, dogs can quickly overheat if left inside. When a dog does overheat, their blood starts clotting, which is life threatening to the animal. Slightly opening the windows is not enough to significantly reduce the heat in the vehicle, and it is still extremely dangerous to keep an animal inside. If you notice that your dog is very hot, make sure to keep them well hydrated with water. Some dogs also appreciate lakes, rivers or swimming pools to cool off in, so you could consider planning your journey around this, they're great fun for the rest of the family too! Finally, there are also several objects that help keep your dog cooler on extremely hot days, such as a cooling pad. 

Dog in water

Taking Your Dog Abroad:

To travel within the EU it is mandatory to have a European animal passport, which states that your pet has been vaccinated (at least 21 days before the trip), does not have rabies and that the animal is identifiable via a microchip. Regulations do vary by country, so please do your research before hitting the road. Remember to check the regulations for the countries you will drive through as well, not just your start and destination country. If you are traveling to a country outside of the EU with your dog, pay attention to what the requirements are to get your dog back to the UK, as in some instances you may be asked to complete a blood test for your pet. It is also wise to bring the medical information of your dog with you, in case you need to visit a vet whilst you are travelling. 

More information on the requirements for each country and on traveling with your pet in general can be found from the UK Government. Website: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/travel-within-the-eu

Animal passport

A Home From Home

It can help your dog feel more comfortable if you bring their favorite toys, his own blanket or basket and his own water and food bowls. Try and make sure your dog's routine will not be disturbed too much, for example if you normally go for a walk in the evening, try and do this regularly on holiday as well. 

Dogless Excursions?

Going on a trip for a day, for example to a museum, and it won't be possible to take your dog? You can easily find someone in the neighbourhood that wants to temporarily look after them. A very useful website that can help you do this is: http://www.pawshake.com. You can easily find a temporary nanny on this website, and as a bonus you get in touch with the local community! Two birds, one stone! 

Walking in the Wild

If you're going for a walk with the dog, there is always a chance that you or your dog takes home or encounters an unwanted local species. Always check yourself and your dog after walking for tick bites and remove the tick with tweezers or a specialised tool. Ticks can be found in bushes and grass and they occur everywhere: in forests, parks, moors and dunes. Other things to watch out for might be adders, common across Europe and throughout the UK, as an adder bite can be fatal to a dog. If your dog is bitten, you should immediately contact a vet and bring your pet there as quickly as possible. In most cases your dog will suffer no long-term effects from an adder bite, but it is important to get them treated as soon as you can.

Also pay attention to the areas where you are walking with your pet. Your dog is not allowed to roam everywhere, and many places restrict places that dogs can go and may require your dog to be attached to a lead. Throughout the UK it is mandatory to have poop bags or similar with you, and if you do not have these then you may be fined. It is not a pleasant job, but it is even less pleasant to walk through areas plastered with dog waste. 

Dog on vacation

Considering Others:

One final important thing to note is that there are, of course, other travellers who do not like animals or may even fear them. Try and make sure that your dog does not run to new visitors in all of their enthusiasm as this can make people very uncomfortable. This can be particularly important if you are travelling abroad, as different cultures have different attitudes towards dogs. Also try to remember that there are also people that go on vacation for their rest and respite. Unfortunately, not everyone can appreciate a busy, barking dog, so please take care to be careful with your dog.