April is National Pet Month, celebrating the benefits of pets and encouraging responsible pet ownership.
Caravan holidays are a great way to spend quality time with your pet (especially if the thought of leaving them in someone else’s care makes you anxious) but there are a few things to consider to keep pets safe and happy while you’re away.
Before you book
· Check your pet is healthy enough to travel – are they up to date with vaccinations and flea/worm treatments, and are they generally fit and well?
· Consider if your plans are suitable for your pet – what activities will you be doing and are there pet-friendly pubs/cafes and recreational spaces in the area?
· Find a pet-friendly place to stay – let them know you’ll be bringing your pet, check what the rules are and ask what facilities they offer.
Before you travel
· Pack your pet’s essentials – including their regular food (to avoid stomach upsets), any medication they need and familiar items (e.g. their bed and favourite toy) to make them feel at home.
· Check you can transport your pet safely by doing a test run so they can get used to being in a moving vehicle – they should be in a carrier or harness with enough space to stand up, turn around and lie down, and they need good ventilation, access to water and regular breaks.
· Find a veterinary practice near your destination – it’s important to be prepared in case of an emergency while you’re away.
During the trip
· Help your pet settle in by maintaining as much of their usual routine as possible (e.g. by feeding them at the same times each day), putting their bed somewhere quiet for them to rest and letting them explore their new surroundings at their own pace.
· Avoid leaving them on their own and keep them on a lead when you go out, as you’ll be unfamiliar with any hazards in the area. Make sure they wear a tag with your local address (rather than your home address) in case they get lost while you’re away.
Monitor your pet’s behaviour for any signs that they’re uncomfortable, especially if the weather’s warm as they could easily overheat. Always take water with you when you go out for the day.
Top three dog-friendly campsites in the UK
· Wolverley Campsite, Kidderminster
With scenic canalside walks and pet-friendly pubs nearby, this campsite is a great spot for dog-lovers.
· Old Oaks, Somerset
Offers showers, washing machines, waste bag dispensers and an exercise area just for dogs, plus dog-minding services for when you want to go out dog-free.
· Norman’s Bay Club Site, East Sussex
With easy access to countryside walks, the site is also next to a dog-friendly beach where you can play ball games.