Spring is approaching, and therefore it is time to consider where this year's summer holiday will go - and whether the family's four-legged member will be included.
Every year, Danish families go on holiday by plane or car – and every year many take dogs with them. But there is good reason to consider whether it is actually in the dog's best interest to be transported to warmer climes, or whether care in a safe environment is a better alternative.
Transport stresses dogs
Dogs are by far big security addicts. They like things to be the way they usually are, and they enjoy having their safe base where they can relax and float. Transport is one of the biggest stress factors for dogs; especiallytransport by plane . Here, the dog is caged inside and transported in noise and very fluctuating temperatures together with other stressed dogs, who may do or beep, without knowing how long this "torture" lasts and what actually awaits at the other end.
Transport by car is milder. Here the family is gathered, and the dog can be petted a little behind the ear along the way and transported in a safe transport box, which is usually used when the family goes on a trip.
Remember to take lots of breaks
It is rarely recommended to transport dogs by plane, but a car is typically perfectly fine if the dog is used to and comfortable with driving in a car. Remember to take lots of air breaks so that it is comfortable for the dog, and remember to offer water often; especially as temperatures drop across Europe.
Many dogs will wait to eat until they are at a fixed base, but there is nothing in the way of offering them something along the way.
If the dog tends to motion sickness, it would be a good idea to consider alternative solutions. Neither the dog nor the rest of the family will have a fun trip with large amounts of vomit, lack of appetite and a dog that can't handle the drive.
Watch out for the heat
If the summer holiday goes to warmer climes, it is important to consider the dog's breed and relationship to heat. Does the dog enjoy lying in the sun on the hot summer days in Denmark, or does it have difficulty coping with high temperatures? Dogs with flat noses will in many cases struggle with breathing in hot weather.
If the dog enjoys the sun, warmth and a trip out to bathe, it's just wonderful. However, make sure to take care of the dog's paws if it has to stay in sand or on asphalt, as the surface can get very hot and even cause burn marks. Feel free to feel with a hand or a bare foot before the dog has to walk on a new surface. Grieve
also always for shade and brought water for the dog. Just as the rest of the family needs a shady place to seek shelter, so does the dog. And then a cold dip is never out of the way to continuously bring the body temperature down.
If necessary, use a cooling mat - see more here
Get your dog looked after
Most families take the dog on holiday with good intentions; it is part of the family and should not be cheated of the experience. It can be really nice for some dogs to come on holiday and really be stimulated together with the family, but for other dogs it will not be a good experience. You know your dog best. Carefully consider what is in the dog's best interests. If it is a safe and calm dog that follows the family through thick and thin and manages to relax as long as its people are present, then by all means take the dog along. But if it is an insecure dog that is not good with new people and other dogs, that quickly gets nervous and that prefers its safe basket at home, it would be preferable to let the dog be looked after while the family is on holiday.
The optimum will always be to have the dog cared for in your own home, so that everything is as safe and normal as possible. Perhaps some family or some friends would like to stay in the house while you are away on holiday? The next best option is for the dog to be cared for in a known place where it is comfortable. Perhaps she often visits grandparents or the neighbour's house, and then it would be obvious to ask there.
The last option is a boarding school. For some dogs, it is a good option – especially if the alternative is a flight, which few dogs benefit from. Feel free to have an honest chat with a number of boarding schools and tell them about your dog. Different boarding schools offer different solutions, and it is important to find the solution
your dog can thrive best with. If you choose the boarding solution, we can give good advice for those of you who are not completely comfortable leaving your dog at boarding school. Book a time for a single night or a weekend when you are not on holiday - this way you can calm your stomach or perhaps find out that you want to find another care solution.
Katja N. Masters | Pet sitter & co-owner of Uswithpets.dk