Helping your pet to be holiday ready

It’s not just humans who need a break at the end of the year.

Increasing numbers of pet owners are travelling with their four-legged friends. But before you decide to hit the road with your dog, best to make sure they are suitably prepared. Here are some tips:

1. Is your destination pet-friendly?

It doesn’t matter how well-trained your dog is, if they’re not allowed in the caravan park, camping ground or unit, you’ll need to organise alternative accommodation for them. If they are allowed, is it on-lead only? Are they allowed in the water? What are the rules about waste disposal? Do your research before you leave home so you and your pet can enjoy yourselves.

2. Train your pet

It is critical that your dog is trained to a level that ensures they are equipped to respond appropriately despite distractions. At the very least they need to be able to follow the five basic instructions of sit, stay, down, heel, and come. Your dog should be able to walk properly with a lead, too. Even if your destination is pet-friendly, your best option is to keep them on a lead for their safety and your peace of mind.

3. Protect your pet

You might say “my dog wouldn’t hurt a fly”, but small pests don’t return the favour. Make sure you’ve applied flea and tick protection, apply sunscreen if they are fair skinned, and you’ve packed medication to treat them for mosquito bites. Brush your dog each evening, checking under their collar, behind their ears, and anywhere that a tick or a leech might have attached themselves. Always make sure you are fully up to date with all the appropriate vaccinations and if your dog has any medical conditions, chat to your vet about anything additional you might need.

4. Make sure your pet is fit

Like their owners, if your dog is not used to being active and outdoors, it’s important to prepare them for what’s coming. Make sure you take them walking outside more, at different times of the day, gradually building the length of time they are walking to ensure they are fit. They also need to be used to being around other people and pets.

5. Pack for your pet

It’s not just you who likes to take a few home comforts with you on holidays. Don’t forget to pack a bag with your pet’s favourite food, treats, water, blanket and a couple of toys.

6. If you have to leave them behind

If your destination isn’t pet-friendly, think about checking them into a boarding kennel. Places like Hanrob Pet Hotels* have accommodation that is suitable for older pets, luxury suites, training and play areas, to make sure your pet has a holiday that is just as much fun as yours.

*Hanrob Pet Hotel, located in the Brisbane suburb of Eagle Farm, opened on December 1, 2016. RACQ members save 10 percent on Classic Dog and Cat Rooms and Luxury Suites. To book, visit hanrob.com.au/brisbane or contact 1300 426 762.