ALERT: PET ON BOARD!
It’s hard prepping your pets for a holiday you’re about to embark on. Your cat might pretend she doesn’t care, but she’ll look at you accusingly when you roll your suitcase out through the front door. Your dog will howl as soon as you begin to pack and upset the neat stacks of clothes on your bed. You feel terrible about leaving them behind and spend the length of your holiday trying to talk to them over the phone — “Mommy will be back soon” — to which they whine mournfully.
Take them with you, we say! Telegraph helps you plan a trip for you and your forever companion…
Things to pack when you have a pet on board
- An ID tag with your name and contact number.
- Certification from your vet that your pet is healthy and that the vaccinations are current.
- Seat covers for your car, because they will be a mess!
- A first-aid kit with some gauze and antiseptic ointments.
- A poop scooper, in case your dog decides to relieve himself in inconvenient places. Portable litter boxes if you’re travelling with cats.
- A handy blanket.
- A towel to keep him clean.
- A couple of his favourite toys.
- Enough water to go around, especially if it’s warm.
- A sturdier leash than the one ordinarily used to take him for a walk, because he’s bound to be more excited.
Mars India, which owns the dog food label Royal Canin, has a to-do list
- Check to see if there are vets around the place you’ll be staying in.
- Complete all vaccinations before the journey.
- Feed them at least a few hours earlier as some pets get carsick on long trips.
- Take frequent short breaks during the journey.
- Leave the window down in unpolluted areas. The fresh air is good for him.
If you’re planning a road trip from Calcutta, these hotels will welcome your pets. They’ve been tried and tested…
- The Elgin, Darjeeling, and The Elgin Silver Oaks, Kalimpong. These luxury hotels house dogs of their own — the Siberian Samoyed. “As long as the animals are well-behaved and have been vaccinated, we welcome dogs and cats in our hotel. There are gazebos on the hotel premises where people can sit and share a meal with their pets. Our own dogs are very friendly,” said Viraj Oberoi, director, Elgin Hotels.
- Arpita Beach Resort in Chandipur. Visit arpitabeachresort.in to inform them before landing up with your pets.
- Marino Beach Resort in Mandarmani. Visit marinobeachresorts.in.
Travelling with your four-legged friend is something you should not undertake without putting in some serious thought. It is a lot of responsibility. Here’s what I learnt when I went on a six-hour drive to my aunt’s house in Asansol with my dog.
Forget travelling light. That ain’t gonna happen. Your dog needs his comfort, especially on a long road journey and in an unfamiliar place, and you have to deliver. So, there will be a bagful of his favourite toys. There will be one with his food and bowls. Litres of water. A blanket. Yep. All you need will probably fit into a backpack. What he needs will take up most of the space in the boot of the car.
Forget the comforts of air-conditioning. Your dog might like small spells in the AC but he’ll definitely be happier, and more comfortable, with the windows rolled down and the fresh air on his face. Just make sure he is properly secured and half of him is not hanging out.
Consider yourself lucky if your dog is not a bheto Bangali like you and is used to doggy food like Pedigree. Otherwise be ready for the on-the-bonnet bhaat and mangsho mixing.
But your dog is not used to a long journey in a car, so keep the meal lighter than usual. You can give him some treats in-between .
It will be difficult to find lay-bys or places off the highway for your doggy to stretch his legs, so keep a keen eye out.
If you don’t take those breaks, get ready to be embarrassed by your dog peeing in the middle of the walkway to the restaurant or the coffee shop.
Carry plastic bags to scoop up the poop, they are easier to dispose off in the nearest garbage bin. The poop scoopers can be a little unwieldy.
At the end of the journey, be prepared to have either an overexcited dog or a cranky dog. Being cooped up in a car can do that to them.
But every trouble is worth it because you don’t have to feel bad about leaving him behind. No constant worrying about whether he has eaten, whether he is comfortable, whether he is well. And no returning home to finding your shoes peed on and cushions decimated.