Pet owners are being urged to carefully pre-plan holidays to avoid being turned away from accommodation or denied entry to their destination country. Travel experts at Panache Cruises, specialists in ultra luxury cruises, have researched the 10 things all holidaymakers should do before booking a trip away with their pets so the holiday goes off without a hitch.
For many Brits, their pets are an important part of the family so taking them on holiday seems a perfectly natural thing to do. But the holiday could be over before it has started if pets haven’t been given the appropriate vaccinations and don’t have all the correct paperwork necessary to travel. And taking a much loved pet abroad and travelling long distances with them can cause the animal to become easily unsettled and frightened in a new environment.
That’s why it’s important to pre-plan an itinerary to ensure furry friends aren’t left alone for long periods of time, and to find animal friendly places to visit. James Cole, founder of Panache Cruises and self-confessed dog lover said: “We can spend hundreds on planning the perfect trip away with family and beloved pets, but not getting the right vaccinations or paperwork for animals will completely ruin your holiday before it’s even begun.”
“Whilst most people will opt to take their dog away on holiday by car, it is possible to arrange travel by sea or air for a range of different pets. Imagine turning up to border control excited for your big trip away but being denied entry because you’ve brought along the wrong records for your pet and they haven’t had the correct medical checks.”
“It’s a good idea to get pet travel insurance in case any accidents happen whilst away, and getting them microchipped as they’re more likely to get lost whilst in an unfamiliar environment. It’s also important to make sure accommodation and transport is completely animal friendly by carefully pre-planning your trip. Once on holiday help your pet feel settled and comfortable by sticking to a regular routine and packing their favourite toy. Familiar smells always help! Not all pets will like change and may find the sudden change of surroundings and the long journey stressful. Check that bringing them on holiday with you is the best idea for them first.”
- Check everything is pet friendly
First and foremost, before even booking a holiday, ensure that everything is pet friendly. It’s impossible to take pets anywhere which isn’t suitable for furry friends, most importantly accommodation and travel. Check if there are any restrictions on which pets can be brought along or any size and weight limits. Never assume and always double check, and ask if there are any additional costs for bringing along a pet.
- Correct paperwork
Before travelling check official government websites to see what specific records need to be in hand to be able to bring animals into another country. Different countries require different documents – passports, health certificates and medical records all need to be accurate and up-to-date for pets. It’s a good idea to take a copy of these records too.
Ask the vet for advice prior to travelling and to see if the animal is healthy enough to go abroad. Research online on official government websites to see the vaccination requirements for animals. Some countries will require tapeworm treatments, and the majority of destinations require a rabies jab. Rabies injections must be done at least 21 days prior to travelling so it’s important to check everything health related is up-to-date. Microchipping is important too in case pets go missing – something more likely in an unfamiliar environment.
Just as it’s advised to take out travel insurance for ourselves, it’s a good idea to also consider getting insurance to cover pets whilst on holiday. If the animal already has insurance, check against the policy in case it covers any travel or holidaying abroad. If not, most insurance providers can upgrade packages to cover travel; or it may be cheaper to take out a short term insurance policy for this specific trip.
- Travel safe
It goes without saying that it’s super important to make sure the journey is as comfortable and safe as possible for our furry friends. If travelling in the car get pets used to the journey by taking them out beforehand and use a secure harness on the backseat, or crate in the boot. But things might be a little more difficult if travelling on a plane or by boat – check with the travel provider for any restrictions and buy a suitable and secure crate.
- Plan an itinerary
Doing spontaneous activities on holiday is hard when travelling with a pet as it could mean leaving them alone for long periods of time. Before leaving, plan a list of pet friendly places to ensure there is enough for the whole family and furry friends to do, and schedule in the times where someone can stay at your accommodation to look after the pets.
- Stick to their regular routine
On arrival it’s important to keep to a regular routine as much as possible and not to slip into full holiday mode. Pets still need the same amount of care, if not more, on holiday as they do at home. Stick to the same walk time and feeding times to try and help them feel comfortable whilst in a new environment.
- Settling pets in
One of the first things when travelling with pets is to take them out for a walk and look around their new surroundings to help them get used to this different environment as early as possible. Helping furry friends feel settled in is super important, so avoid leaving them alone for long periods of time as this can make them feel frightened in an unfamiliar setting.
- Bring home comforts
Another way to help alleviate any unsettled feelings is to pack something which will remind pets of home. Most animals are very sensitive to smell and will find comfort in a familiar scent. Pack a blanket or their favourite toy, and if possible bring along their same bedding or cage that is used at home for a sense of familiarity when in an unknown environment.
- Pack all the essentials
Don’t assume that things can just be brought upon arrival on holiday – shops might not supply the right things or may be closed. Think about pets’ daily routine and what they need accordingly – essentials such as the right amount of food, a lead, poo bags, medication, bedding and favourite toys.
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