PadraigWebsiteThe holidays are coming, the holidays are coming and many of us are counting down the days to that well earned break. With the summer holiday season approaching, are you and your pets prepared to enjoy your holidays?

If you are going away and leaving your dog or cat in a kennel or cattery, then you need to make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations. Dogs and cats should have an initial course of two injections and then a booster injection every year. Your pet will need these injections before they are allowed into kennels. You should take your vaccination card to the kennels with you so they can ensure all the boarding animals are fully protected. All reputable kennels insist on vaccination.

If your pet has not had any vaccinations, they need to have a course of two injections. For dogs these are given 2-4 weeks apart, for cats it is 3-4 weeks apart. The full course should be given before your pet goes into kennels, so make sure you start it a minimum of a month before you are going on holiday, preferable more.

All dogs going into kennels should have a vaccination against Kennel Cough which is squirted up the nose. As this can cause coughing and sneezing it needs to be given at least a week and preferably a month before they board in kennels. It lasts for a year.

Make sure you use Advantix/Advantage before they go into kennels to prevent them bringing any extra visitors home with them.

If you are staying in this country and taking your pet with you, you should also ensure that your pet is up to date with their vaccinations, because they will be exposed to different infections in new areas.

If walking features in your plans, however gentle your walk is to be, make sure your dog has adequate tick protection – Advantix applied regularly will kill any ticks your dog comes into contact with. It will also prevent your dog picking up fleas whilst away.

Make sure you take your pet’s regular medication and food with you when you travel and stick to their normal routine of walks and feeds so as not to unsettle them. Find out the contact details of a vet in the area before you get there, in case of emergencies. We are happy to fax clinical histories to vets in another area if your pet needs to be seen whilst you are on holiday.

What about car sickness? Puppies and kittens can be trained early in life to be relaxed about travelling and even to enjoy the experience – plenty of short journeys when they are young will do the trick.

Older dogs can be trained to travel well, especially if there is a walk at the end of it. If your dog or cat is very stressed by car journeys you may need to start by acclimatising them to a stationary car, before taking them on very short (even as little as 100m long) journeys. Please speak to our staff about training your dog to travel well, as it will make life far more pleasant for all of you. If you start now, there is time to make a significant improvement before the summer holidays.

If you’re having problems or have left it too late then there are some drugs which can help your pet become more relaxed about travelling. We have collars and sprays to settle and relax you dog in the car and a highly effective drug available as either an injection or tablets to prevent vomiting.

If your pet is staying at home and someone is looking after them, prepare in advance. Ask the carer to stick to your pet’s normal routine, so there is a little upheaval as possible. Make sure they have supplies of medication and food to last until you are back. Leave a clear list of when food and medication should be given and make sure you leave them a contact number for you in case of emergencies and also our number. If there is an accident or medical problem, they need to be able to contact us straight away.

If you are planning to take your pets abroad on the Pet Travel Scheme, they should have been identichipped, rabies vaccinated and blood tested by now. They cannot come back into the country until at least six months after the blood test has been taken. If you are thinking about taking your pet abroad next year, you need to start preparations now. More information on the pet travel scheme can be found here.