Summer is here and we’re all thinking about getting away for a well-deserved break to beautiful holiday spots. Dog lovers like us want our furry friends to be a part of the holiday too and they definitely shouldn't miss out on all the fun beach days and picnics.
If you’re travelling by car, it’s good to get prepared ahead of time to make the journey comfortable and safe for your fur buddy. There are many ways to protect your doggie when travelling by car, including safety harnesses, boot guards, pet carriers and crates. You know your dog best and will know what they might be more comfortable with, based on what they’ve been exposed to.
Dog crates are often a great option, especially if your doggo is used to having their crate in the house as their ‘safe space’. If you’re new to crates, here are some pointers to consider before purchasing one for your summer adventures!
Type of crate
Crate size: First off, you need to know what size of crate you need. Start by measuring your dog from nose to tail and from the top of the head to the floor. A great tip for this is to stand them against a wall and mark the wall with pencil and then take the measurements. Remember that your dog might even be taller in a seated position than standing (especially if they have big ears) so take this measurement too. Add 10-15cm to your measurements and look for a crate around this size. Your pup should be able to comfortably sit, stand and turn around.
Material: Crates come in all sorts of materials so choose wisely based on your pet’s chewing and escaping tendencies! If you’re flying with your doggie, check the IATA guidelines or enlist the help of a pet travel expert.
Prepare the crate
Bedding: Get some crate-appropriate bedding like a crate pad. Some other types of bedding can be too easily chewed and become a hazard to an unsupervised dog. Their normal bedding might also make them too hot.
Food and water: Give them some food and water inside the crate. There are plenty of water bottles on the market specifically for this purpose and receptacles that can be fitted inside higher up. Again, if your canine is flying, take advice on guidelines for this.
Temperature: Make sure your doggie will have a comfortable temperature by placing your crate in a sensible, ventilated place. Airlines ensure that temperature in the hold is appropriate and monitored.
Accessories: Take off all your dog’s accessories, especially collars as these are hazards when travelling.
Assembly: Follow the instructions carefully and do just triple check that there aren’t any jagged edges or sharps implements sticking out that could hurt your furry friend.
Your crate is all ready but is your doggie? This is a really important part of preparing for your travel adventure. Your canine might be used to being in a crate, in which case, scroll on and bon voyage! But, if this is their first ride, it’s time to get them trained.
Timescale: Get your pooch prepared ahead of time -- start at least a month or so before the trip or preferably longer.
Safe space: Doggo should feel safe in the crate -- encourage them by putting their toys, blankets and comfort items inside. And let them come and go as they please and when they feel happy inside, try closing the door for a short time. Encourage them too!
Dummy runs: Do some dummy runs in the car to get them used to being inside the crate inside the car -- check it’s secure and that they are comfy and not sliding around in there.
On the road
Ventilation: This might seem obvious but make sure there’s enough ventilation getting to the place where you’ve placed the crate.
Comfort breaks: Make plenty of stops for pee breaks and of course fresh air, sniffs and some contact with their humans.
Pay attention to health: This goes for mental and physical health -- if your pup is prone to nausea or car sickness, get some herbal tablets or ask the vet for advice. Watch out for separation anxiety -- regular breaks will help or get some calming herbs to help ease their suffering.
This goes without saying perhaps, but make sure your chosen holiday and destination are going to be fun for your furry friend as well as for you and your human companions. Now you're travel-ready with pooch, all that’s left is to enjoy. Happy holidays!