Pet experts share advice for dog-friendly holidays and days out
The Easter bank holiday getaway is upon us. It’s one of the busiest weekends on the UK’s roads, and thousands of dogs will be spending time with their families in cars up and down the country.
To make journeys as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, experts at PetSafe® have revealed their top ten dog-friendly travel tips for the most ‘egg-cellent’ Easter break.
PetSafe’s Rob Steele said: “Last Easter, British motorists made more than 21million leisure trips over the four-day bank holiday weekend and we’re set to see a similar number of UK-wide journeys made this year - many with our furry friends in tow.
“Travelling with dogs can sometimes be stressful, especially if they’re anxious or uncomfortable in the car. Although we can’t control the bank holiday traffic, by following these dog-friendly travel tips, we can help make Easter journeys easier and happier for those who are hitting the roads over coming days – including their dogs.”
Avoid feeding your dog for two to three hours before setting off on your journey and take him out for a walk. This will help burn off any pent-up energy and give him the opportunity to go to the toilet.
Do your research
Research the area you’re travelling to and driving conditions to get there. Where are the nearby dog-friendly attractions, pubs and events? Where are dog friendly beaches? Which walks and activities you would like to do?
Be prepared for all eventualities
It’s important to be prepared for those worst-case scenarios while you are away. Pet insurance is the most reliable way to ensure you are covered in the event of illness or accidents, and it’s also a good idea to find out where the nearest vet is, just in case.
Pack a doggy first aid kit
In the event of any doggy injuries, it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit in the glove compartment of the car. Whether you have to soothe cuts and grazes or bandage a leg until a vet can be reached, every dog owner should have one. They’re also handy to take on walks and hikes.
Secure your dog when driving
Having a harness, carrier, crate or guard for your dog to sit in comfortably will not only make the journey safer and more restful for you both – it will also mean that drivers aren’t breaking the law. The Highway Code states that dogs must be “suitably restrained” – and failing to do so runs the risk of a £5,000 fine and nine licence points.
Stop for regular breaks
As with pet parents, dogs also need to take regular breaks during long journeys, to go to the toilet and stretch his legs. Official advice for drivers is to take a 15-minute rest every two to three hours to beat tiredness, so use this as a guide.
Never leave your dog alone
This is one of the most important tips of all. Even with a window slightly open during springtime, cars can become extremely hot – especially in the back seat and boot, away from the air con. Dogs can die of heatstroke in less than 15 minutes. Leaving him alone in the car also makes him vulnerable to theft – the same goes for outside shops, even for just a minute.
Pack plenty of water, toys and treats
To keep your dog sufficiently hydrated during the journey, always take bottled water and a bowl and encourage him to drink when you stop off.
Packing his favourite toy, blanket and a few treats for good behaviour can also come in handy to calm more anxious pooches. Signs of dog anxiety include reluctance to get in the car, whining, panting, barking, pacing and restlessness.
Help him relax
Travelling can take its toll on dogs but sticking to the same feeding and walking routine as you have at home can really help him relax whilst you’re away. Also create a safe, quiet space upon arrival - bringing bedding, blankets and toys for familiarity -- and giving him lots of love and hugs will also help him to feel calm in an unfamiliar environment.
Use a lead
For road safety, put your dog on the lead before you open the car doors. And, if his recall isn’t great, be very careful of allowing him off it when you’re out and about - especially in unfamiliar areas. An alternative, safer option is to use and an extending or training lead instead.
PetSafe® Brand’s Rob Steele said: “As we approach the first bank holiday of the year, millions of us are gearing up to go on holiday, visit family and friends and embark on days out. While lots of dogs love car journeys, others are less than thrilled. This can be stressful for all passengers – those with two and four legs. But by planning ahead – and following these simple tips – car journeys with pets will be much easier and enjoyable for everyone this Easter.”
For further information visit www.petsafe.com/UKDownload