A guide to preparing your pet for a family holiday from start to finish created by Take Your Pet.
There’s no doubt it takes a bit of extra planning and commitment to make your vacation truly pet friendly. Finding accommodation, packing all the right things, dealing with transportation and settling them into unfamiliar locations are all part of the ‘take your pet’ holiday experience. But word from the wise? It’s always 100% worth it to have the whole family together.
Why You Should Holiday With Your Pets
First of all, let’s start with the WHY of it all. If pet friendly travelling takes extra planning, why do it?
This is something we’re super passionate about (obviously!) and we think there are some amazing benefits to bringing your pets away with you.
No one likes the feeling of leaving their fur-baby behind. This can often be a source of worry as you consider how they’re doing at a kennel or with a pet-sitter. When you make your accommodation and activities truly pet friendly, they don’t have to miss out and you don’t have to be distracted thinking about their wellbeing back home. With so many pet friendly accommodation, dining and activities on offer these days, they can get so much stimulation from the new places and experiences too.
Taking our dogs on holidays also encourages more family bonding and active leisure time. When you have your pet with you, raring for a daily walk, you’re more likely to get out and see the sights with them in tow. When travelling with kids, their pet can be a useful anchor that calms any anxiety of being in unfamiliar places. This greatly reduces the parental pressure on you if they’ve got their four-legged bestie by their side.
Read more about why you should take the plunge and travel with pets.
Choosing a Kennel or Pet-Sitter
Now we know what we JUST said about why you should take your pets away with you. But sometimes, it just isn’t possible. We get it. Life happens. Maybe you’re not going to a location that accepts pets, maybe you’re staying with friends who are allergic, maybe your pooch is too old to take the stress. Whatever your reasons, YOU know your pet best.
So when it comes to alternatives, what can you do? Your choices include hiring a pet-sitter or engaging a great kennel service to house them while you’re gone. There are pros to each option depending on your preference and what you think your dog will deal with best.
Here is a blog post on choosing the kennel that’s right for you. It takes you through the questions you need to ask, the paperwork you’ll need and what you should pack for their stay. If you prefer the pet-sitter route, we’ve got some ideas on how to prep for a successful stay, either with them or within your own house.
What Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning A Pet Friendly Holiday
Now that you’re feeling convinced, it’s time to start planning. This means considering where you’re going to go and how you’re going to get there.
First off, consider what you, your partner or your family are looking for. Is it beachside fun? Hikes and bush walks galore? Retreat-style accommodation? A cheap and cheerful holiday park? Then think about how far you’re prepared to travel. How will you travel there? Does it involve a flight or will a road trip do just fine? Finally, you want to consider what pet friendly features are non-negotiable to you and get familiar with reading the fine-print. Not all pet friendly destinations are created equal, so do your research. Fortunately, we know just the way – helloooo the Take Your Pet directory. With over 12, 000 pet friendly businesses on here, you can search by location, key word and business category.
Pro tip? When choosing a location, don’t just think about the accommodation. Consider what you’re going to do when you get there – are there pet-friendly parks and beaches nearby? What about dining options for your fur-baby? This will ensure you have a well-rounded break and aren’t confined to the B&B.
For more tips on reading the fine print on pet friendly accommodation, click here.
The Ultimate Pet-Packing Checklist
Anyone who has ever packed for a family holiday will tell you it’s no easy feat. There always seems to be those few pesky items you completely forget. Add in a four-legged family member and your mental load just increased x 10. Never fear! Take your Pet has compiled a pet-packing checklist that covers everything you need to have in order for your trip. From vaccination records to pet food to bedding, simply consult it as you go.
You can check out the packing checklist here.
Travel and Transportation with Pets
Now that you’re packed and have your booking sorted, it’s time to travel. For many pet-parents, this is the slightly stressful part. Not every fur-baby is a good traveller and many can have slight anxiety when travelling in cars. This can be because they have negative associations. Fortunately, these can be lessened over time – you just need to do some groundwork before you leave. It’s also ALL about safety. Do you know the laws and regulations you need to follow with a pet in the car?
And what about the dreaded M word? Motion-sickness. We’ve all been there. You’re travelling down the open road, music on, windows open….and then you spot your pup in the rearview mirror, starting to look a little green. Cue panic stations.
Being a Good House Guest
What if you’re not staying in accommodation? Staying with friends and family, with your fur-baby in tow is quite a different story. Your pet may struggle to fully settle in to an unfamiliar house and experience some slight anxiety if their regular routine is upset. Fortunately, there’s plenty of ways to help them acclimatise to their new surroundings. And as for the adjustments you’ll need to make, it’s worth thinking about some boundaries you can put in place for your pet to ensure you don’t overstay your welcome. As with anything, matters manner!
Holiday Activities 101
And finally, what are you going to DO on your holiday?! Plan ahead with some suitable activities the whole family can enjoy, four-legged members included. Some foolproof, free options tend to be the local dog-friendly beach or park. Your dog (and kids!) can have stacks of fun, get some exercise and acquaint themselves with their new surroundings. But like anything, a successful doggie beach day or park visit demands a little preparation. Is your dog up to the challenge of meeting other dogs? How do you make sure they stay cool, calm and collected amongst the surf and sand?