Three dog experts discuss whether it's a good idea to take a puppy on holiday, or whether you should you make alternative arrangements, such as kennels or a house sitter?
Trainer Elizabeth Kershaw advises:
Family holidays can be excellent opportunities for socialising young puppies. However, don't expect him to be able to take 10-mile hikes or play vigorously all day. Be careful regarding sand and salt water. Rinse him off with clean water if he goes on the beach. Make sure you have relevant identification attached to his collar; both home and holiday details.
Check if you can buy his usual food at the holiday venue or take supplies with you. An indoor kennel will help prevent damage. House sitting means your house remains occupied while you are away. For a list of sitters visit The National Association of Petsitters website at www.dogsit.com or contact 0845 230 8544. If you are booking kennels make sure you visit to see the accommodation. Your puppy will need to be fully vaccinated. This is often a very reasonable option. Many dogs return to the same kennels many times during their life and build up a rapport with the staff.
Behaviourist Claire Arrowsmith advises:
This decision depends on where you are going and how much time you'll have to spend with your puppy during your holiday. It is wonderful to be able to take your dog away as long as he will not be left alone for long periods and if the location is safe for dogs. Long car journeys can also be hard for young dogs who need frequent toilet breaks. Consider how much space you'll have once your family and luggage are in the car.
There is no right or wrong solution when it comes to choosing kennels or house sitters as there are great and awful examples of both. Cost varies depending on location and size of premises. Ask other dog owners about their experiences and pop into your vet's and local groomers to see who they recommend. Visit kennels now so you have time to choose and book the best one. Kennels are often full well before the holiday season. It can be a good idea to introduce young dogs to kennels for one day and night initially to get them used to it.
The advantage of house sitting is that the pup can stay in his own environment and the sitter can follow your toilet-training routine. This arrangement can benefit nervous dogs who don't suit kennels, though this option is normally more expensive. Unless the sitter is someone known to you always check their experience, whether they are police checked and insured and ask for references. Some dog sitters will board your dog in their own home. Spend some time with the person to see how they interact with your pup, see where he will be kept and ask them about what methods they use.
Vet Roberta Baxter advises:
If you are travelling in the UK and are holidaying somewhere where pets are allowed, then taking your pup may be a good option. You can also take him to certain countries abroad if you get him a pet passport and fulfil the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme. Apart from kennels or a house sitter you might be able to arrange for him to stay with a friend.
Whatever your decision it is particularly important to ensure that you pup is up to date with his vaccinations and protected against kennel cough and that he has been treated against fleas and worms. Costs vary enormously. Your vet may be able to advise you as to reputable people locally.