A family has many possibilities for travelling throughout the year: weekends, holidays, Bank Holidays. None of them should be missed, if possible. But when the family has a pet, doubts arise: Should we take it along? Will the hotel admit pets? Would it be better to leave it at a boarding kennel?
It is best to take your pet with you when possible, because when you go on holiday you will be able to spend more time walking, playing or just relaxing. The problem is that, in Spain, it is still difficult to travel with your animal.
It is still difficult to find hotels that admit pets. Nowadays, only 22% of Spanish hotels do so, mainly in Catalonia. Although this figure is increasing, there is still a large gap between Spain and other European countries, where most hotels do admit pets.
There are other possibilities if it is not possible to find a hotel, such as renting a farm cottage or an apartment. You may use a boarding kennel as a last resort. It is an acceptable solution, especially if it is in the same place you have chosen to spend the holiday: it is not necessary to take into consideration only kennels close to home. It is important to visit the boarding kennel in advance to check the installations and for your pet to have a first contact with the accommodations.
Transport is another question. There are not many options if the owner does not have a private vehicle. Few transport companies offer specific services for companion animals. Busses usually only offer the luggage compartment. And imagine a barking dog on a train.
No matter what the situation, a veterinary clinic should be consulted in case the animal requires preventive treatment due to the characteristics of the destination area. It is especially important to find out the specific requirements when travelling to other countries, because there are particular conditions to be met, even inside the European Union. The requirements should be arranged in advance, because in certain cases they take some time to fulfil.
On arrival it is important to locate a veterinary practice that has an emergency service, because if an emergency should occur, time is often vital.
When travelling by car it is important also to consult a professional, for example, if it is necessary to administer medication so your pet has a quiet journey. Certain very nervous animals or pets that are not used to travel by car may need such drugs. But the owner should never administer medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinary surgeon.
It is also necessary to be careful and avoid giving the animal food or drink at least two hours before the trip. This way you will make sure that the animal’s digestive system is empty and avoid vomiting.
Once in the vehicle, owners should take care that their animal does not disturb other passengers or even the driver. To accomplish this, there are special screens that separate the luggage compartment from the passenger compartment, special pet seat belts and comfortable travelling crates or cages. You should use any of these possibilities, not only to avoid being fined but for your and your pet’s safety.
If air conditioning is used, the airflow should not be directed towards your animal. If the sun is bright, it should not hit your pet directly to avoid adverse effects.
You should stop every two hours, for the animal’s as well as for your sake. Before leaving the vehicle you should make sure that your pet is wearing a collar and lead or that it is inside its cage. This seems very obvious but is a very common error: animals get lost frequently in petrol stations and rest areas because they have not been properly secured. You should use stops to take your pet for a short walk, so it can go to the toilet and drink some water. You do not need to feed it until you have reached your destination. It is even better to wait one or two hours after arrival before giving it solid food.
If you pay attention to these simple guidelines you will be able to enjoy an uneventful car trip and a few days of well-earned rest.
Finally, you should keep in mind that many cities have local companion animal byelaws. You should get to know them in advance as a sign of respect towards the town or city that you are visiting and to avoid problems caused simply by ignorance. This will allow you to know if you can take your dog to the beach or if there are any special areas set aside for pets.
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Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Alicante
Mendez Nuñez, 38 · 03002 Alicante
Tel.: 96 521 41 11 · correo electrónico