Here is a packing list that comes in quite handy:
- Water and bowls
- Treats (we all deserve a spoil every now and then)
- A leash/harness (keep this close by incase your pet needs a pit stop on route)
- Poop bags
- Doggy first aid kit
- Shampoo, towels and brushes
- Bed and blankets (unless you all cuddle at night)
- Up to date vaccination card
In order to avoid your dog becoming sick in the car, try not to feed them a few hours before leaving home. It is safest to travel with your dog in a basket if they are small, or you could use a harness and attach a clip that buckles them in into the car’s seatbelt. A sling/hammock in the back seat will also help stop your dog from moving around too much and distracting the driver. We strongly advise against dogs travelling on the back of a bakkie as in the case of an accident, they could be thrown off. Remember to stop every two or three hours for a loo break and some water and never leave your pet unattended in the car. Even with the car windows partially open, the inside temperature can reach well above 40°C within a matter of minutes which can cause your dog to suffer brain damage or even die of heatstroke or suffocation.
Being Summer, we need to ensure our pets always have access to clean and cool water to stay hydrated. Keep water bowls in a shaded area so that they don’t evaporate too quickly and keep them topped up throughout the day. Ensure your dogs always have a shady spot or even a little splash pool to cool down in if they like.
When going for walks, always have your dogs on their leash unless you are in a safe area away from other people and animals, and your dog has a good recall. Bear in mind that, just like with us, their paws burn on hot tar and other surfaces exposed to the sun. A simple test one can do to determine if the pavement is too hot is the ‘seven-second test’. If you are able to touch the pavement with the back of your hand for more than seven seconds, it is cool enough for your dog to walk on.
If your pet is well socialised with other animals, introduce them to “buddies” on the beach or at the park under your supervision. While they might not get along with some, others tend to be friendly and just like children, will enjoy some play time. It’s great socialising and fun for both the dogs and owners – who knows, you might make a friend or two of your own!
Most importantly, remember to relax and have a jolly good time. Your dog senses your mood and feelings and often reflects them too. As long as they are with you, have their bed, and feel safe, they will be just fine and settle in no time. Remember to have FUN!