Visiting family or going on a road trip over the Easter break? Travelling with your best friend can throw up a few challenges to your dog’s health and safety, so follow these tips and ensure your Easter holiday is a fun and relaxing break for both you and your pooch.
Chocolate is toxic for dogs, so know where the nearest vet is located
Easter is a time for celebration, fun, family and… chocolate. But, like many man made foods, chocolate is toxic for dogs. So when it comes to the Easter egg hunt, it’s not uncommon for pooches to sniff out a treat or two and get themselves into trouble.
That’s just one of the many reasons you may need to take your dog to the vet over Easter. If you’re staying with friends and family it’s important to know where the closest vet is located. Write down the address, or use Google Maps to help locate and save veterinary services nearby. Remember to check their opening times, as some may be closed over the holiday period.
Looking out for other risks at Easter
Chocolate isn’t the only risk to your dog over Easter. Be wary of the following high risk products:
- Sugar free lollies: Great for the hips but not so great for your dog. Many contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
- Foil wrappings: Many Easter treats are wrapped in aluminum foil which can cause danger to the intestinal tract if eaten by your dog.
- Hot Cross Buns: The sultanas in hot cross buns come from grapes that are toxic to dogs and have been known to cause renal failure.
- Cellophane: Contained in many Easter baskets, cellophane is often shredded to look like grass, and can be dangerous to dogs if swallowed.
Dog safety while travelling
Dogs are like humans when it comes to car travel. Some are very comfortable in the car, others get restless easy, and some suffer from major bouts of car sickness. Just like people, your pooch also needs regular bathroom breaks.
Securing your dog for a long road trip can be as simple as purchasing a safety harness. Commonly referred to as ‘roadies’, these harnesses help secure your dog in the car by connecting around the chest and shoulders rather than the neck like a standard leash. Roadies can help avoid:
- Dogs launching themselves around the car or distracting you
- Fines from the police (dogs need to be restrained by law)
- Injury to your dog from a prang, sudden stop or sharp corner.
For smaller dogs, there are also travel crates and carriers that might be more suitable for your pet, especially if they’re already comfortable travelling in a crate.
Treating dogs who get car sick
Dogs that get car sick might simply whine or experience mild nausea. Others can become quite ill and even start vomiting. In some cases, it’s the motion of the car’s movements, while anxiety over travelling or being secured in a small space for a length of time can also attribute to sickness. If you’re worried about travelling long distances in the car with your pooch, take them to the vet, who should be able to diagnose the issue and provide solutions for treatment.
Camping with your dog
Easter weather is generally great for camping, but you’ll need to consider several things before going bush with your best friend.
For starters, National Parks in Australia generally don’t allow dogs within their boundaries for conservation reasons, which means they’re off limits when it comes to your choice of camping spots.
You’ll also need to consider how to secure your dog and keep them busy and entertained without letting them run wild. The new smells, wide open spaces, other campers and small animals to chase will prove too much for even the most disciplined of dogs.
Making the most of the easter break means finding ways to keep your dog engaged without endangering its welfare or that of other campers, flora or fauna. For smaller dogs, this might mean packing a decent sized pen to provide boundaries. Alternatively, long leashes that still allow your pooch to move around the camping area are also useful. Finally, you’ll want to make sure there’s a walking routine. Split it up between the family to ensure everyone gets a chance to enjoy the break without your dog missing out on having fun as well.
Booking your dog into a kennel for Easter
If it’s simply not suitable to take your dog with you over the holiday break, you may want to consider a dog kennel. Your best friend will be able to mingle with other dogs and stay social over the holiday period while you catch up with friends and family. When selecting an appropriate doggy day care for your pooch, consider the following:
- Is the kennel large enough for your dog to be comfortable?
- Does it look too cramped or crowded?
- Does it look and smell clean?
- What is the daily routine?
- What will they feed your pet? Do they cater to special needs or allergies?
- Are there reviews online about the kennel?
- Will they provide other services like grooming and training?
And if you find the right kennel, your pooch will have such a great Easter that they might want to go back for Christmas!