Summer holidays are round the corner. And loads of vacation plans in the anvil. Have you considered taking your furry friend along? A vacation with your pet is always a lot more fun. Dogs really know how to switch on the ‘party meter’. And nowadays, there are many places that open their doors to pets. But first, you need to prep. The foremost consideration should be how are you going to get your pet to the holiday destination — by air, rail or road? It is best to avoid flying your pet — can be dangerous; train is a better option if you book an AC coupe, but you will have to be at the station hours in advance to ensure no one puts a spanner in the works. On the other hand a road trip by car can be hassle free, flexible, safe and easy on your dog.
Some dogs are prone to car sickness. So it would be a good idea to introduce your dog to the car well before the vacation. Start with really small steps: Get in the car; get out. Get in, turn the engine on, get out. Get in, turn engine on, drive five feet forward and backwards, get out.
If progress feels small, don’t despair. You can take a drive around the block. Drive up to the department store and back. And soon, you are ready for that road trip.
Next, get your dog’s health check-up done. Get your vet to help you put together a need-based, terrain/destination-based first-aid kit for your dog. Don’t forget basics in your kit like NS solution, tweezers etc.
WHAT TO PACK
Extra blankets — you don’t want the hotel linen to be covered in dog paw prints or fur.
Dog bed — some places allow dogs in the open dining areas. Put out dog bed or just a bed sheet beside your table. It helps your dog relax beside you while you have your noses buried in a board game or in an animated vacation conversation
Dry food — dog-friendly resorts will often oblige and give food to dogs. But it might not meet your standard, or your dog might have special diet needs, so it is best to carry some dry food.
Doggy-shoulder bag — should contain the first-aid kit, a small water bowl, water bottle, some wet wipes and super absorbent micro-fibre towels available in pet shops. If you deicide to go trekking or exploring, take this bag with you.
Change of harness and leash — comes in handy when the dog decides to roll/jump into muck and gets all wet.
Poop scoop — Don’t let other guests cringe at the sight of your dog pooping. After all, they are on vacation too.
Don’t forget to call the resort/home stay and let them know you are bringing dogs. If there are other guests there with dogs, you may want to reconsider this venue and look for a different one. And lastly, set an appointment with a grooming salon as soon as you return to get all the muck off your dog, before you bring them all into the house.
Be a responsible traveller, not leaving behind signs of your pets having been there, so that the resort keeps their doors open to the rest of us who want to vacation with our pets. Have a good summer vacation! The writer is a