Going on holiday with your pet? Tips and advice
The summer holidays are around the corner. Whether you are taking your pet on holiday with you or whether your pet is staying home or going to a boarding kennels, it is important to consider a number of things. In this article, our veterinarian will give you a number of tips so that you are well prepared for your holiday.
Entry requirements EU
If you want to take your pet abroad with you, you need to comply with foreign laws and regulations. Your pet must be chipped, must have a European passport and must have been vaccinated against rabies 21 days before departure. Passports issued after 29/12/2014 must also be laminated.
When your pet is brought to the boarding kennels, the animal will also need to be vaccinated against kennel cough. Inform with the boarding kennels in good time about when this vaccination needs to be given. The requirements may vary between 3 weeks and 1 day prior to arrival, depending on the boarding kennels. In any case, it is sensible to have your pet vaccinated in good time (at least 2 weeks before the holiday) so that the vaccination will actually be effective when your pet arrives at the boarding kennels. If your pet eats a special diet food, you should clearly communicate this to the boarding kennels and ensure that you provide them with enough food.
Protecting your animal
It is important to protect your dog from ticks when you go on holiday. In some countries, ticks carry certain diseases. In addition, in some countries around the Mediterranean sea (France, Spain) sand flies (phlebotominae) can be found. These can transmit Leishmania, in the same way that heartworm mosquitoes can transmit heartworms. Measures must be taken to prevent this. A suitable product to prevent ticks and sand flies is the Scalibor.
Before your holiday, look up a local veterinarian and note the details in your phone so that you can contact them quickly if necessary.
Checklist for packing
The following checklist helps you pack your pet’s “suitcase”.
- European pet passport with your pet’s chip number in it, vaccinations and a possible health declaration
- If applicable, a copy of your pet’s Pedigree papers
- Your veterinarian’s phone number and the details of a veterinarian at your destination
- Collar with tube to insert your holiday address and/or phone number
- A clear photo of your pet
- Water for the journey
- Food and drinking bowls
- A dog carrier, blanket or travel crate
- Lead and/or harnesses and a product for securing your pet in the car (this is required by law in some countries)
- First Aid kit & tick remover
- Any medication your pet needs
- Care products (brush, shampoo etc.)
- Dog poop scoops and poop bags
- A muzzle if necessary
On the road
Not every dog (or cat) enjoys long car journeys. Some animals get travel sick due to a disruption of the vestibular system. It is sensible to bring products to support animals with travel sickness, such as Beaphar Travel Fit or Puur Travel. It is sensible to try these products out before your trip to see how your cat or dog reacts to them. Should the product be ineffective, you should contact your veterinarian so that they can prescribe suitable medication. Make regular stops for walks on the way, allowing your dog to do its business. Of course you should always provide plenty of fresh drinking water.
Is your pet prone to stress? A long journey or a new environment (holiday address, boarding kennels) can be very stressful for your pet. For many animals, holidays are a lot less relaxing than they are for their owners. Take appropriate measures in good time, such as giving your pet calming food supplements. These include Telizen or Zylkene. In addition, we offer stress-reduction products based on pheromones, such as the Adaptil Diffuser, Spray or Collar for dogs. Many animals respond positively to these, provided that you start administering them in plenty of time (2 to 4 weeks before your holiday). For cats, such products include the spray and diffuser from Feliway.
Your dog’s safety in the car
When you take your dog on holiday with you, or when you transport pets in general, please ensure that you do so safely. In Germany it is not just a guideline, you are actually required by law to secure your pet. Regardless of the fact that it is highly unsafe for animals, like humans, to be travelling without a seat belt, this can also result in dangerous situations for other road users.
Special dog seat belts are available for dogs, so that you can comfortably and responsibly transport your pet. Never attach this seat belt to a collar (in relation to a possible trauma to the neck area when you brake harshly or have an accident), but instead always attach it to a sturdy harness. For cats and small dogs, a dog crate, travel basket or transport box can be a good solution.
Dealing with the heat
In summer, your pet may be at risk of overheating. This can be caused by a lack of shade or an excessively hot environment (such as a parked car on a hot summer day). Dog breeds with short noses (such as French/English Bulldogs and Pugs) are at a higher risk of overheating. The consequences of overheating can be very serious. Dogs cannot sweat and can only lose their body heat through the soles of their paws and by panting. When a dog overheats, it will start panting to release body heat. Due to the exertion caused by panting, the dog’s body heat will actually rise further. It is therefore very important when you go on holiday to a warm country that you pay close attention to your dog and give it plenty of opportunities to cool down.
On hot days, it is important that your pet can lie down in a shaded area on a cool surface with plenty of drinking water. Avoid long walks in warm countries and ensure that the dog can swim to cool down where possible. It is also important that you provide your car with plenty of refreshment during your car journey. For example, offer your dog fresh water regularly (bring it along in a cooler bag). Never leave your dog alone in the car!
The risk of overheating can be reduced through the use of a number of “tools”. These include the Aqua Coolkeeper Collar. This collar contains an active cooling gel and cools the animal’s neck and therefore the large blood vessels that run through the neck. In addition, we also offer various cooling mats, as well as cooling jackets; Aqua Coolkeeper Jacket, Hurtta Cooling Vest or Suitical DRY Cooling Vest are highly effective for keeping your dog cool.
Should your dog unexpectedly get overheated, then it is important to administer first aid by cooling your dog down as quickly as possible. You should also contact a local veterinarian immediately. Bring your dog out of the sun immediately, put a wet towel over your dog or let your dog lie/swim in the water. Lay wet towels on your dog’s belly and refresh these every 5 minutes. Never completely cover your dog with wet towels, as this prevents your dog from losing its body heat! If you are able to, sometimes the best thing to do is shave a dog with a thick or long coat. Make sure that the dog has fresh drinking water available.
It is a good idea to bring a First Aid kit on holiday with you. A good First Aid kit should include bandages, such as sterile gauze, betadine or iodine wipes, leukotape, scissors and protective gloves. Nail clippers are needed for torn nails. A tick remover should also be part of the First Aid kit. In our article about First Aid, you can find advice on how to administer first aid to your pet.
Do you have any further questions about going on holiday with or without pets? Please contact our veterinarian by phone on 020 3191 8322, or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org