Travelling with your puppy

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There are so many more opportunities to take your puppy away with you on holiday these days. In fact, in most newsagents you'll find publications that list holiday accommodation where you and your pet will be made most welcome.

You can even take your pet on holiday abroad, thanks to the Pet Passport Scheme (PETS). This means that pet dogs living in the UK can go to, and return from, European countries without quarantine. But organising a pet passport can take about eight months, so planning ahead is essential.

It almost goes without saying, but whether you intend to take your puppy on holiday at home or abroad, you should ensure he has the correct vaccinations before travelling, and that they're up-to-date. If you're in any doubt, then please consult your vet.


Preparing your puppy for the journey

It's essential that your puppy is fit and healthy before he travels. However, during long journeys, dogs can become sick and show symptoms of distress. It is advisable to ask your vet about travel sickness remedies, even tranquillisers if your dog isn't a good traveller.

And as you'd expect, it's important to get your puppy used to the car before he travels. Once he's used to his household surroundings, place him in the car to sleep for half an hour, or allow him to explore the inside. When he's used to the surroundings, you can take him on short journeys, gradually increasing their length over time.


Before you hit the road

Your puppy should be fed well in advance of any travel. If this isn't possible, you should consider putting off feed time until you arrive at your destination. And make sure he's microchipped, wearing a collar and tag with your address and contact numbers.

Basically, microchipping is law, is an effective and simple way of linking your pet to you, and is a virtual guarantee of you both being re-united if he gets lost, strays or is stolen. A simple injection of a tiny microchip the size of grass seed is inserted under the skin. This cannot be seen but it can be read by a scanner. Your vet will be happy to give you more information about microchipping.


Now that you're on your way

Your puppy should always be transported in complete safety, preferably in a purpose-built cage safely secured to the car (in the luggage department if you drive an estate car). However, if it's not possible to put your puppy in a cage, he should be securely placed in the back of the car in a special dog seatbelt or harness. Alternatively, in an estate or hatchback, put him in the space behind a fitted dog guard. But always remember that your pet should be able to stand up and turn around, and sit and lie down comfortably. And please, never shut him in the boot or keep him in the front unless he's secured.


Give your puppy a break

If you're going on a long journey, take a break; stop the car and let your puppy have a drink of water and a little exercise. If you're making a short stop, for a meal or the toilet, never leave your pet in a hot, unventilated car; leave it in the shade with a window partly open. And don't forget: The sun's position changes throughout the day. Your car may have been in the shade an hour ago, but could be in the full glare of the hot sun now.

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