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How to prep your pet for a holiday

Dogs in the back of a Chevy Volt during auto maker Chevrolet's Pet Day event promoting safe travel for pets in cars, at the New York International Auto Show in New York April 11, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS TRANSPORT SOCIETY)

Dogs in the back of a Chevy Volt during auto maker Chevrolet's Pet Day event promoting safe travel for pets in cars, at the New York International Auto Show in New York April 11, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS TRANSPORT SOCIETY)

Published May 31, 2022

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Your pet is an essential part of your family. What would a family holiday be without them?

Before even considering going on holiday locally with your fur baby or fur babies, there are a few things you need to take into consideration, among them checking in with the vet and making sure that your pet’s annual vaccinations are up to date.

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This protects your fur babies against some nasty viruses and is essential when travelling to a new or unfamiliar environment, even within the same country.

We sought advice from Dr Michelle Enslin, a register vet, who shared some insightful and crucial tips to keep in mind when arranging your local pet-friendly getaway.

Preventative measures before you hit the road

AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Taking your pet outside the home environment can leave them unprotected against a higher than normal “parasite load” or prevalence. For instance, those mean little fleas are more prevalent in sub-tropical climates, such as coastal regions. The warm temperatures and high humidity in these areas mean fleas reproduce faster and pets travelling there for the first time do not have the level of immunity to cope with the higher exposure and risk.

If you will be travelling to KwaZulu-Natal or the Eastern Cape, make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date, due to frequent outbreaks of the disease.

On the road

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Just like humans, long journeys by road can be stressful for an animal. It’s best if your pet is well accustomed to travelling by car. Cats should not be roaming free in your vehicle. Motion can affect their balance and put them at risk of falling.

Cats were a decade ago welcome in Ireland Gardens, but no longer. Picture: Pexels

Therefore, cats and small dogs should be kept in secure cages or carriers in the car. Dogs, like humans, can get car-sick. However, they don’t always exhibit the same symptoms we do. The first sign of motion sickness is salivation, and you might notice an increase in lip licking. Similarly, cats often foam around the mouth when nauseous. Look out for constant swallowing or gulping as they are trying to get rid of the extra saliva.

When travelling by car you can have a blanket, pillow, or toy that smells like home to keep your pet calm along the way. It is also a good idea for one family member to sit in the back seat with the animal to keep an eye on them and provide comfort.

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‘’The journey itself can have an effect on your cat or dog, sometimes causing a great deal of stress to an already anxious animal. When visiting your vet for your pre-holiday check-up, make your vet aware of this and he or she can prescribe medication and/or some natural supplements to help with this,’’ says Enslin.

Adjusting to the new environment

In advance of even considering vacationing locally with your fur baby or fur babies, there are a few things you need to take into consideration

The parasite load differs from region to region and province to province, so keeping on top of your pet’s parasite control is as important as vaccinations.

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‘’Broad-spectrum protection will guard against both internal and external parasites, making it the best preventative measure your pet can get, and all in one easy treatment!’’ Enslin says.

Have you read the latest IOL Travel digital magazine? Read it below

Pet-friendly accommodation

Make sure your accommodation is fit to host your pet and should explicitly state that it is pet-friendly. Even if your hotel or guest house is pet-friendly, make sure your hosts are aware that you are bringing your pet with you.

Make sure any outdoor area is fully enclosed, especially if you have a puppy, or make sure your dog (or cat) is trained to not wander off. This is important if you are to encounter other animals, domestic or otherwise. They may pose a threat to your pet or play host to diseases and parasites.

What to pack

Make sure to pack enough food that can last the holiday.

Always have their leash and harness on hand along with some treats, especially those that can keep them busy or entertained.

Pets that have light or white colouring are at risk of sunburn or sun damage. They can get burnt on exposed areas, such as their noses and bellies so always pack pet sunscreen.

Along with sunscreen, if your dog loves a swim in a river or the ocean, keep ear cleaning solution with you to prevent infection.

‘’Travelling with your pet should be a treat for the whole family. It’s important to keep the aforementioned in mind when planning your holiday, so you are prepared for any situation,’’ Enslin says.

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Eco-travel

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