It’s always fun to take the whole family on holiday with you- including your furry friends. There’s a few things you need to consider, however, so Ou Kaapse Vet has your holiday checklist at hand.
A microchip is an absolute must
Hopefully, your best buddy is already microchipped- but don’t just assume because they have a chip, everything is in hand. Now is the perfect time of year to double-check your listing with the microchip company and ensure your details are all up-to-date (or have a chip added if they aren’t already chipped). You would be horrified to know how many people don’t maintain their pet’s listing, losing out on being reunited with their missing pet because their details were invalid or an old owner/the shelter were listed and you weren’t.
Have your vet check the chip with their scanner, too, to ensure it hasn’t migrated and the number that the scanner picks up matches your pet’s documents. Should the worst happen, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you have the extra security you need.
Microchips are the single best step you can take to keep your pet safe this holiday, whether they’re coming with or staying at home with a responsible sitter. Why? Let’s take a look.
1. It’s the way most guaranteed to bring your pet home
All shelters, rescue centres and vets check newly admitted animals for chips. If a chip is picked up, they will contact the numbers in the chip’s database….and your pet will be on the way back to you. Dogs with microchips are 3 times more likely to come home to you with a chip- and cats over 20 times more likely. This is even more important when on holiday, where you may lose your animal far away from their home and people who would recognise them. Isn’t your buddy worth it?
2. It’s proof of ownership
A microchip number that matches your pet’s paperwork is the best proof of ownership you will ever have. It even acts as a critical part of their export paperwork and passport if you go over borders with your animal. Keep everything up to date, and check data correctly- don’t just take the paperwork and file it away somewhere
3. It can never be lost, destroyed or removed
Collars and ID tags can be useful- but they don’t have a patch of the worth of a chip. Your animal’s chip will be with them for life, and can never be lost, misplaced or ‘ignored’ by a well-meaning adopter.
Travelling with pets? The rest of the checklist
Now you’ve triple-checked your microchips (or had one added), here’s some other things to think about when travelling with your pet.
- Have you booked pet-friendly accommodation? We’re sure you’ve already done this- but make sure that everywhere you are staying will allow your animal. You don’t want a nasty surprise ruining the holidays, after all.
- Have you packed your dog’s bags? Make sure you have a familiar blanket/basket, their collar and leash, medications and paperwork, ID tags, water and food bowls, and enough of their favourite food to hand to make their holiday a fun-filled time as well. You don’t want to be finding a supermarket (or dealing with tummy trouble from unfamiliar food) when you should be enjoying your holiday. A gentle chew toy for the car journey is a good way to keep them calm and quiet.
- Travel when it’s cool: Summer in South Africa is really hot, so travelling when it’s cool will keep your four-legged (and two-legged) travellers far happier. Remember to ensure all pets (and little ones) are safely restrained in the car, both for the driver’s safety and their own. This will also make their escape if you have an accident, or simply open the door before you have their leash in hand, far less likely. Doggy ‘booster seats’, seatbelts and zip lines all make for safe car rides.
- Check-in with your vet: Now’s a great time to get a basic physical, check vaccinations, and scan your microchip so you know Fido’s all set for a summer of fun. Smart travellers will also look up the details of a trustworthy vet clinic near their destination, so in case of emergency you aren’t trying to find somewhere. Ask your vet for recommendations. If you will be away over firework-heavy times, consider asking for a calmative for nervous dogs too.
- Get preventative: You will probably be giving Rover a bath before you set out (a travelling dog has to look his best, you know). Be sure to get them up-to-date on their tick, flea and worm control before you leave too.
Now your best buddy is ready to travel, it’s time to pack your own bags too! Have fun and travel safe- Ou Kaapse Vet looks forward to seeing you all in the New Year.