Planning a road trip with is always exciting and even more so if you are going to take your favourite furry friend with you. Why not plan your next holiday away to a location that is Pet Friendly? Here are some handy tips that will help you to plan ahead and make the experience of taking your pet along with you, just that much more fun.
1. The Destination Notify the people (friends and family) at the destination that you are bringing along your pet/s. Or if its a paid for accommodation venue, make sure they are a Pet Friendly Venue. Notify them of the type of breed and the size of the breed. Confirm that you are able to take your pets to this destination and find out what other animals will also be there. Respect their property. Find out in advance if they can recommend to you a Pet Friendly Restaurant in the area. Its not only important to find a location, but when it comes to a time that you want to go our, it will be great if Fluffy can go along with you.
2. Keeping your pets safe If you are new to being a pet owner, its important to try and keep your pets safe in the vehicle. Keep them secured in the vehicle to avoid any unexpected behaviour. When driving, keep them safe from running around in the car, or worse, finding a gap in the open window.
Keep your pets leashed at all times, during stops and when you get to your destination. If the pet is stressed out, keep the music tone in the car calm and you will enjoy the experience even more if they are relaxed and stay unharmed in new and unfamiliar environments.
3. Car Training for pets Car training is like potty training. You have to start the moment you have your new pet. Keeping calm while your pet is in the car - this will help them to calm down too. Start off by leashing the dog inside the car so that they cannot move around further than their body space. The leash must be long enough so that they can put their head down when the do calm down and start to relax. I normally tie the leash to the handle on the inner-roof of the car.
Make sure you have taken your pet to do "their business" before the journey. Start off with short drives. And dont always take them to 'fun places', take them with you to the mall - if you know you can park your car undercover, and be quick. Dogs get bored quick - especially puppies and they could destroy the inside of your car. Never ever leave your dog in a car that is parked in the sun, not even for 5 minutes!
Learn to listen to tell tale signs of them wanting to do their business. Often the dog will make a noise or become restless in the car to indicate that they need to "go".
4. Pet Collar and Name Tag Does your pet have a collar and a Name Tag? There is no way you should even consider leaving home without this.
5. Microchip your Pet A responsible pet owner will ensure that their pets have some form of permanent identification. Your pet could also be stolen, or they could lose their collar.
Parts of this responsibility is to ensure that your microchip is readable by your vet, and then try to find your Pets data online by ensuring that their Microchip number and your personal information has been captured and registered accordingly. Two microchipping companies in South Africa are Identipet and Virbac Backhome.
6. Where will you place pets inside the car? When you plan to do a long road-trip, the best place is to keep your pet is in a crate big enough for them to stand in and turn around in. Otherwise, make sure they have a comfortable bed so that they are secure in a section of the car. We have a special foam sponge for our pets. It bends perfectly to the shape of the interior of the car, and then we cover it with doggie blankets. Secure a sunshield onto the window to protect the pets from the sun.
7. Untrained pets or those who do not adjust well to riding in the car Consult your veterinarian about the options to calm your pet down. The vet might even give them a mild sedative to help calm their nerves for the road.
8. Pet Food and water Take along their normal dishes which you feed your pets in.
They will feel more 'at home' if you feed them in a familiar bowl. Feed them at the regular feeding times, and if this is not possible, try to do it as close to those times as you can. Alternately you can give your pet some biscuits in between the drive to help those hunger pains. Make sure you offer your pet water at least every 2 hours on the road. Its always good to find a farm road to drive a short distance into so that your pet can safely get out, stretch their legs and do their business.
9. Medical Care for your Pets The first thing you have to do is get the details of the veterinarian in the area that you are travelling to. Keep this information on a piece of paper inside the medical aid kit for your pet. Should something happen to them, you can focus on finding all you need in one place.
10. Pet Bedding A pet needs to have 'its own space' at all times - at home and even more so while away from home. By taking along their bedding, they will immediately become more relaxed in their new environment if you give this to them as comfort.
What better than to feel like you have a home away from home. If you make your pets sleep on the bed with you, make sure you have made a prior arrangement with the venue owner.
Keep in mind that if your bed does not get comfortable and go to sleep, it will not only be their night that is restless, but yours too. They will continue to get up and walk around, making noises that will also keep you awake.
Enjoy your holiday or road trip and please write to us and tell us about your experience. You are invited to send us some images of your holiday with your pet and we will publish your story for the readers to learn from your experiences too. Thank you.
Article dedicated to my Wire Fox Terrier Norman who lived only for 2 years, but they were 2 very special years for us. May you rest in peace Normie.