So, you just chuck Fido in the back of the car and try not to forget his lead, right? Well, you can try the last-minute approach to travelling with pets, but unless your pooch is an old hat at life on the road, things will probably go pear-shaped.
(Just ask American presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who’s still copping flack about taking his family dog Seamus on holidays back in 1983, by unfortunately deciding to strap him in a crate to the car roof… Some last-minute decisions can still haunt you three decades on!)
Fortunately, the list of things to keep in mind when you take your pet along for the ride is pretty short. And some of them are so obvious that we probably don’t even need to include them. But we will, because we’re a thorough bunch and pride ourselves on putting Fido at the head of the pack.
1. Know where you’re going.
Have some pet-friendly accommodation booked in advance, or at least warn your hosts that you’re bringing the Burmese kitten with you.
Sneaking the fur friend in the back door isn’t always as easy as you’d think, and can have you booted from your holiday earlier than you’d like.
Sometimes, there can even be a fine involved, so be upfront from the start and avoid nasty surprises with your pets on the go.
2. Know how you’ll get there.
Taking the scenic route can be a great start to the holiday, but not if all those mountain hairpins mean Fido does a projectile vomit all over the packed lunch in the back seat.
You’ll also need to plan a few toilet breaks on the way – we recommend using a mobile app to find dog parks and suitable exercise areas from the convenience of your passenger seat. Got kids? Then you already know how road trips work. Lots of stops makes for happy travellers.
(Check out the new Take Your Pet app for iPhones by clicking on the link at the right of this article – it has everything you need for all your impromptu pet stops on the go, plus handy hints about how to travel with pets. We love it!)
3. Know what to pack.
Other than his favourite dog nuts and maybe a toy or two to snuggle up to, your pet will need his usual bed or crate, a water bowl (the fold-up travel variety works a treat for the team at Take Your Pet), a food bowl, his lead and collar, some poo bags, and vaccination certificates in case you need to visit a vet on the way.
If you’re going to a coastal area, find out whether paralysis tick is present there, and make sure you treat your dog with an anti-tick preparation suitable for this nasty little critter.
Avoiding unexpected dramas on the road is the easiest way to making sure Fido has a happy time — and you get the break you deserve.
For more tips about how to travel with pets, sign up to our free newsletter!