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How to prepare your dog for the family bank holiday weekend away

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Pet owners across Kent are raring to go on a bank holiday weekend away as lockdown eases - but many remain unprepared.

Just under a quarter (24%) of pet owners confess to not doing the appropriate prep for their pets before jetting off on a staycation, according to a Blue Cross survey.

Source: Blue Cross
Source: Blue Cross

Before heading off, 10% of owners don't tend to research pet friendly venues and 18% haven’t even thought about what they will do with their pet over the bank holiday, half term and summer.

Despite 66% owners admitting to being nervous of their pet being lost or stolen on holiday, 12% of owners admit their pet does not wear a collar, 10% have no tag and 15% said there was no phone number on their tag.

Shockingly, 27% admit to leaving their dog in the car with windows open when making a quick stop.

While 50% say their pet always come when called, 40% admit they are worried about how they will react to a new place.

Kerry Taylor, education manager at pets charity Blue Cross, said: "It's quite normal to be anxious before we go on holiday and we think about taking our dog away.

Kerry and Poppy Taylor with Diddy (c)MARTIN PHELPS PHOTOGRAPHY LTD
Kerry and Poppy Taylor with Diddy (c)MARTIN PHELPS PHOTOGRAPHY LTD

"But it doesn't always reflect in how we behave sometimes - there's simple things like pre-planning and making sure your dog's got a collar and a tag. It's easy to forget those sorts of things.

"Legally, a dog needs to wear a collar with a tag on and the details and information about where they live with their owner. We also say to add your mobile number on, which is really important, it's essential if you're going away on holiday, because you're going to be far from your home and your address.

"If you do have that unfortunate situation where your dog gets lost them, then they're going to be more likely to be returned to you and more quickly if you've got your telephone number on there."

She suggests not only checking for dog friendly venues, but also making sure to check where the nearest vets are.

Then before you leave, have a check-list for the dog's beds, their blankets, their food bowls, treats they love their favourite toy.

Kerry with puppy Flossy
Kerry with puppy Flossy

After you arrive where the family is going to stay, it's likely your furry friend will be just as worn out as you are. Give them space to relax in their new holiday space and sniff around.

The Blue Cross manager also asked pet owners to consider whether to take their pets at all.

She added: "A quarter of the dog owners who took part in the survey actually said they'd got their dog during the pandemic. We know that during the last 18 months, we haven't been socialising as much, we haven't been going out and about, we've only just started to go and sit in pub gardens.
"It will be the same for those dogs that have been purchased during that period so they may not be as used to different environments and meeting other dogs.

"We need to be really careful about how far we're walking our young puppies so there's not too much pressure on their joints.

Stock picture of a dog in a field Source: Blue Cross
Stock picture of a dog in a field Source: Blue Cross

"You can take your your new dog away and have a wonderful experience but you do need to really deal with that preparation and think about what is best for your dog.

"What wouldn't be great is if you took them on holiday, and it was their first of everything - their first time in a pub, it was their first time in a new home, it was their first time going on a train - that can be really overwhelming.

"It would work if you've got the time to prep early and start getting them very used to that slowly and more positively.

"If you don't, then maybe it would be better to try and look for a way in which you can leave them safely and happily at home so you can go and enjoy your holiday and know they're still nice and well looked after in your home environment."

If you have any other questions, there's plenty of advice for taking your pet on holiday on the Blue Cross website.

To read more about Kent’s furry, flying and finned friends, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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