Organising festive family plans can be stressful enough without worrying about how to travel with your dog this Christmas, which is why we’re here to help by providing our top tips. We all know that dogs are important family members and it’s only natural that we want them to accompany us, especially during this magical time of year. With a little thought and planning, a Christmas road trip can be a happy experience for your pooch too!
Barking Mad Dog Care have nearly twenty years experience of providing chauffeur driven holiday transport as part of our 5* rated dog sitting service. This experience has been invaluable in putting together the list below. We know that as we head towards Christmas and the days get chillier, there is nothing better compiling a festive playlist and driving off to spend time with friends and family. Naturally you will want to take your pup too but if this isn’t possible, we will also look at the alternatives. We hope that the following tips help everyone to have fun!
Check whether your destination is dog friendly
When planning a festive trip away, you should always enquire if your pup is a welcome guest too. If you plan to stay in a hotel or self-catering accommodation, always ensure that it is dog-friendly in advance. When staying with friends or family you should make sure that no other guests are allergic to animals and that resident pets are sociable.
Consider your journey well in advance
Preparation really is the key to successful Christmas travel. Plan your route so that you know where will be a good place to stop for breaks and bear in mind it could be much busier than usual over the holiday period. www.drivingwithdogs.co.uk is a great resource which contains details of lots of ideal locations to break your seasonal journey, with directions for winter walks and pet friendly places to eat.
Put your dog’s safety first
Ensure that your vehicle is equipped to transport your dog safely and comfortably, particularly in colder weather. Check that you are prepared with a torch, a bottle of water and warm blankets in case of problems. It is also a good idea to carry winter essentials such as an ice scraper and de-icer. Make sure that you carry out winter safety checks on your vehicle before setting off. The RAC offers a guide to preparing your car for winter, which you may find helpful.
Think about how you will transport your dog. The Highway Code which can be found at GOV.UK clearly states in rule 57,
‘When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.’
Using a crate for travelling with your dog
If you are planning on using a dog crate in your car, it should be big enough to allow your pooch to stand up fully and turn around but not allow them to slide around. It should also be securely fastened in place, as should a dog guard, and be able to restrain the weight of your dog in an accident. At Barking Mad Dog Care, all our vehicles are equipped with a safe and secure space for your dog to enjoy their journey comfortably. Their welfare is our number one priority.
Carry a canine winter first aid kit
Always carry a pet first aid kit in your vehicle. These can be purchased from retailers or you can put together your own tailored version. The Blue Cross has written a fantastic article about first aid for dogs which includes a helpful list of what your dog first aid kit should include.
Consider emergency situations, when thinking about how to travel with your dog
Make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag bearing your mobile number. If you are away from home, a home contact number really isn’t much use if you become separated from your dog! You should also check that your dog’s micro chip details are up to date.
Pack everything your dog will require for a winter journey
An ordinary travel checklist should include: collar (with ID tag as mentioned above), lead, waste bags, food, water, bowls, bedding, towels and toys. In the winter months, it is a good idea to include a coat, extra blankets, a flask of warm water for washing paws (check the temperature to make sure it’s not too hot) and even a hot water bottle for young or older dogs.
Get your dog used to car travel gradually
Introducing your dog to car travel should be a gradual process. If they are not used to travelling in a vehicle, start with really short journeys with a fun activity at the end, in order to make a positive association. This will be far less stressful than trying to take an unhappy pooch on an already potentially busy and long journey.
Don’t forget refreshments
Food and drink play a vital role in keeping your dog happy on a long car journey. Remember to carry plenty of drinking water, with extra to wash your dog’s paws if they come into contact with any road grit. The RSPCA recommends that you ‘feed your pet no sooner than two hours before you travel.’ It is also important to stick to their regular food to avoid stomach upsets and travel sickness.
Take plenty of breaks when travelling with your dog
It is important to remember to take plenty of breaks whilst travelling. You may be in a rush to reach your destination but your canine best friend will most certainly not be happy to be contained in the car for hours on end. Toilet breaks are obviously a necessity but it’s important to give your dog a chance to burn off some pent up energy too! If it’s a particularly cold day remember that a dog should never be left alone in the car.
Have fun this festive season
Travelling together can be a lovely way to build the bond between you and your dog and their companionship is sure to enhance any trip or holiday. Dogs really do become part of the family and sharing quality time together can be so mutually beneficial.
Sometimes though, no matter how organised or well prepared you are, taking your dog with you just isn’t possible. Maybe they suffer badly from car sickness or a medical issue? Perhaps you have to attend an event which isn’t dog friendly at the journey’s end, such as a Christmas party? Whatever the reason, if you have to go away without your dog, it can be difficult over the festive period as often friends and family are busy themselves.
Professional dog sitters such as Barking Mad can offer the next best option to home. Our dog home boarding service offers loving, experienced care and the faithful replication of your pup’s routine. Our local doggy holidays offer the opportunity for your dog to live as part of a family, whilst you enjoy your trip away with complete peace of mind. Click to find your local branch today or give us a call on 015242 20202. We’d love to tell you all about our service!Back To Main