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Holidays usually mean there are a hundred and one things to think about, but how to care for your pets on holiday should be one of the first. Planning in advance is very important. Reliable neighbours or friends may be prepared to help with cats, rabbits and goldfish but more thought needs to go into caring for your dog whilst you are away or making plans for taking your pet with you.

Many people book their beloved animals in kennels or catteries, many take the time to check the facilities in advance and check out for bright clean surroundings, warm sleeping quarters and adequate exercise areas. It might be a good idea to ask around for recommendations and remember that any good cattery or kennel will always want to check your vaccination certificates are up to date.

Pets on holiday. Cat looking at map.

Many owners decide to take their dogs on holiday with them. Most holidays will mean a car journey and a car safety harness for medium and large dogs and a carrier for small dogs is recommended. A loose dog in the car can cause serious injury to itself and to the humans travelling in the car. At 30mph an unrestrained Border collie size dog would be hurled forward with the force equivalent to the weight of a Polar Bear so the damage can be significant and sometimes fatal.

Remember to always carry plenty of water and have frequent stops, but always make sure your dog is on the lead BEFORE you open the car door. Never let your dog stick its head out of the window during car journeys, this can result in eye injuries from stones and insects.

Taking Your Pets on Holiday Abroad

Holidays outside of the UK are becoming more and more popular and if you are planning to take your pets on holiday abroad then you need to check with your vet regarding the legal requirements for paper work, rabies vaccine requirements. All of this can take time so please plan in order to get all of this in order. The Pet Travel Scheme and Pet Passport process can be a lengthy and time consuming process.

Pets on holiday. Dog in hammock

Top Tips – Pet Passport

  • Your pet must be microchipped
  • A rabies vaccination (must be given 21 days prior to holiday)
  • You will be issued with an EU passport for your pet
  • Protect your pets against parasites which are common in mainland Europe such as
    • Leishmaniasis – often fatal and spread by sand flies
    • Canine Babesiosis and Erlichiosis – spread by ticks
    • Heartworm – invades blood stream and causes heart failure
  • More info at www.defra.gov.uk/pets or pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk Helpline +44 370 2411710
  • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for ensuring your pet meets all the rules for travelling

Top Tips – Pet Travel in UK

  • Accommodation: When thinking about where you want to stay, take your dog’s needs into account as well as yours.
  • Booking: Having found somewhere you want to stay, double-check that dogs are definitely welcome. Ask at the same time if there are any restrictions on the size, breed or number that you can and find out how much it will cost – dogs don’t always go free!
  • Driving there: Make sure your dog will be comfortable on the way to your destination. Give him a comfy blanket to snooze on, ensure he has adequate ventilation, and either has drinking water available in a non-spill travel bowl or offer him some whenever you stop. Take a break every two hours at a suitable place to let him stretch his legs and spend a penny.
  • Insurance: Make sure your pet is insured, not just for accidents and illness, but also for third party liability.
  • Microchip: Microchipping is now compulsory for all dog owners in the UK. All dogs in England, Scotland and Wales are now legally required to have been chipped by the time they are eight weeks old. This permanent form of ID will improve the chances of being reunited should he stray.