VET’S VIEW: Make sure your pet’s ‘staycation’ runs smoothly

MORE people are now choosing to holiday here than abroad – with many taking their beloved pets with them.

Tough times mean summer getaways may have become one luxury too far, so cheaper holidays in Britain are back in fashion, with pet owners enjoying the added benefits of animal companions accompanying them, not being left behind.

But how can you make sure a “staycation” with your pet runs smoothly? Make sure accommodation is definitely pet-friendly before booking and paying. Ask about restrictions or extra charges for pets, as you will not want any surprises on check-out.

Research local vet practices at your destination, recording their contact details, and not forgetting any medications such as heart tablets, as they may be harder to obtain at different vets.

Never travel with “loose” pets – they can become nervous and panic, often trying to escape through open windows or doors before you can grab them. Make sure your pet is microchipped in case the worst should happen.

If you’re travelling by car, any sudden stop or accident could send your pet flying forwards. Securely fasten dogs using a special pet harness, padded crate or purpose-built caged area, putting cats in a cat carrier attached to the seat. Arrange to travel when there is less traffic, especially in hot weather, providing an ample supply of cool, fresh water and spotting any spillages. Many dogs and cats do not travel well, so ask your vet for travel-sickness pills (although half a ginger biscuit on empty stomach can work quite nicely).

Better still, feed your pet in a stationary car, then reward short journeys with treats to help reduce travel anxiety.

Finally, never leave animals alone in vehicles during warmer months – even a short time with windows slightly open can prove fatal to your pet – and they could be stolen, too.