We love summer, with its longer days full of sunshine and warmer weather, allowing us to spend more time exploring with our dogs on long walks, at the beach or treating them and us to a trip away.
Unless you're lucky enough to live on the coast, or in a national park, most of us will have to travel in some form to take our pooch to the great outdoors. Whether that's by car, train, tube or even boat, planning ahead will make your journeys easier. We’ve pulled together some top-tips for travelling with your dog during the Summer holidays.
- Cars get HOT, quickly. So never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle, especially when it is warm. Leaving your dog unattended in a vehicle puts them at risk of being stolen, and leaving them in a hot car puts them at risk of overheating which can be fatal.
- Make sure your dog is secure. Use a dog car seat belt attaching to the seat belt buckle, clip a harness to the or a dog carrier/crate.
- Ensure there is plenty of ventilation. Pop your air conditioning on, or if the vehicle doesn’t have AC, open the windows - though not wide enough for them to try to jump out!
- Protect your dog from direct sunlight with a window sunscreen.
- Wherever possible, travel early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler to avoid the midday heat.
- Keep a travel bowl and a spare bottle of cool water in your car/bag so you always have water to offer your dog to keep them hydrated and cool.
- Consider buying a cooling mat for your dog to lie on in the car. Otherwise, you can makeshift one by soaking a towel and wringing it out, then pop it in the freezer for 15-20 mins. When you take it out and put it in the car, it will give your dog a cool surface to lie on.
Train or tube
- If your dog is not used to the train and you are planning a long journey, start small and go on a few test journeys during off-peak when it is quieter - even to the next station and back. This will offer your dog the opportunity to get used to the train and help you determine if they will be comfortable with travelling on the longer journeys. By doing this, you may find that your dog is calm but suffers from motion sickness, in which case your vet is able to provide medication to help with this.
- Long journeys on the train with your dog can be tricky, as they do not stop for long for your dog to go to the toilet, so do some research and enquire with the provider as to breaks on the planned journey.
- Exercise your dog before the journey to tire them out a little. Trains that allow dogs will only do so on a ‘well behaved’ basis, and it will make your journey hard work if your dog is full of energy.
- Lift small dogs onto and off the train to ensure they don’t get hurt or fall down the gap.
Bus or Coach
- This may sound obvious, but before you do anything else, research your route and the bus company to check they allow dogs on board… otherwise your journey may be cut very short!
- As with trains, lift small dogs onto and off the bus and keep your dog on a lead at all times; both on the bus and at the bus stop/station.
- Even if your dog is a good swimmer, we strongly recommend finding the right life jacket for your dog and testing it in calm, shallow water before heading out onto a lake or sea. Keep it on them at all times around the water - including at the dock or boat launch point area, not just when you are on the boat.
- Have a dog overboard plan. Knowing what to do if your dog falls or jumps off the boat could save their life. Make sure everybody on the boat knows what the dog overboard plan is.
- Just like your skin, being out in the sun all day isn’t ideal for your dog, and when you u are out in the open when on the water, their skin can become more exposed to harmful UV rays so make sure you use pet-friendly sun cream on any areas of exposed skin on your dog, and bring a first aid kit and any medication your dog may need.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade available.