Taking your dog with you to visit friends or family?

There is nothing quite like gatherings with family and friends. But, as we all know they can create stress, especially if you’re having to take your dog with you. We look at how to make things run smoothly when travelling with your dog: for your hosts, for you and for your pet.

Auckland kennels and catteries get very busy over public holidays, and the neighbours and friends we rely on to look after our pets rather inconveniently have lives too. To ask about our boarding facilities call 09 299 7415 or book your dog in with us.

So if you missed the boat on finding a reliable pet-sitter, or you didn’t organise booking into a kennels early enough, you may be travelling with your dog. With proper preparation and planning, however, your trip can be stress free and you may get invited back again.

The first consideration should be how well you dog travels. Does he enjoy travel, or does he get anxious and uneasy? If your dog is up to the trip, the following checklist can help ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

Before You Leave

  • Don’t presume everybody loves your dog as much as you do. Many NZers still think dogs should live outside, not inside, and many people are fearful of dogs. Check ahead to see if your dog is going to be welcome at your host’s home and whether all guests will be comfortable in their presence. Is your dog good with children, of all ages?
  • Does your dog get along with other animals, both dogs and cats? And, more importantly perhaps, if there is a cat where you’re going, does that cat like, or tolerate, dogs?
  • If all is OK, then start your preparation by making sure your dog is going to be okay in the car. Make a few trial trips to help him get used to your vehicle and its movement. If your dog’s going to be traveling in a carrier or crate, it’s important to let your dog get used to the shape and smell of it ahead of the trip. Leave it out so it can be investigated and maybe even put treats inside to create interest and even a snooze in it. Also make sure the crate or carrier can be safely secured in the car.
  • Will you dog be allowed inside? If your dog is going to be staying outside at your destination, is the section fenced or will your dog need to be tied up? You may need to take a chain with you, and you may need to practise tying the dog up well in advance of your trip so he doesn’t howl or bark while you’re away.
  • dog houseWill he need to sleep in the travel crate, or if he’s going to be outside, will he be sleeping in the garage or carport? Practise this at home too.
  • Take along his own bed and bedding. Most people don’t want dog hair on their beds or chairs. Having his own bed will also give him a sense of familiarity.
  • If your dog is allowed inside, will he be allowed on the furniture? If he isn’t, but he is at your home, practise having him stay off the couch in the days or weeks before you leave, using positive reinforcement.
  • Take along some familiar comfort items like a favourite blanket or toy. Pack some safe, clean chew toys so he won’t be tempted to try his teeth out on a table leg. Give out the toys one at a time and rotate them so he doesn’t become bored.

While On The Road

  • Make sure your dog is properly secured and comfortable in the car. Make sure the driver is not distracted by a dog roaming around the car, or who is fussing, restless or sick.
  • Give yourself some extra time. You may need to stop more often than you think you will, breaks can take longer than you anticipate, and that means it will take longer to get where you’re going. Be patient, go with the flow and expect the unexpected. It’s also a good idea to plan out your route so you can work out where and when you’ll be stopping for toilet and exercise breaks, or to eat and rest.

When You Get There

  • Remember to pack disposable wipes or a towel; these are handy for wiping muddy paws before entering someone else’s home.
  • Pack a placemat for dog food and water dishes so you don’t have to put them on carpets or nice clean floors.
  • It’s a good idea to bring the food your dog is used to eating at home, in order to avoid digestive upsets.

Properly planning your trip with your dog is well worth the time and effort. Being prepared can mean the difference between a safe, relaxed and enjoyable experience, and one filled with tension and upset. And who wants more stress?

We can’t reinforce enough to our clients how important it is for them to organise summer pet care plans well before November, and well in advance for all other public holidays to ensure their pets can be looked after in our kennels and cattery. We have a minimum 7-day stay over the Christmas period: 20 December through to 10 January. We also require a deposit for bookings during this busy holiday month and payment in full when you bring in your cat to board with us. This deposit is non-refundable, unless your booking is cancelled before 1 December. There is a $10 per dog and $5 per cat surcharge on public holidays.