Our dogs are our everything and we want to do everything in our power to give them the best quality of life for the years they have left with us – and that’s also true when it comes to holidaying with an older dog. When planning a break with our furry golden oldies, we want to give them the same amount of adventure but without the increased risk and stress.
Pack Holidays has put together 10 tips on how to make your senior softie as happy and comfortable as possible.
1. Get a Vet Check Before You Go
It’s natural for dogs to slow down a bit as they get older, but it’s important to have regular vet checks to ensure your dog remains healthy, comfortable and pain-free from common age-related conditions such as arthritis.
It’s advisable to time one of these regular vet checks for shortly before you go away on holiday, for your own peace of mind and to minimise any problems while you’re away.
2. Reduce External Stress Factors
We know not everything can be controlled, especially while you’re away on holiday, but there are a few things you can plan for. For example, think ahead to certain dates such as Bonfire Night or New Year’s Eve when there are bound to be fireworks. Choose a holiday cottage that best suits a reactive dog, if yours has noise sensitivity or other issues. Some holiday companies provide information on nearby noises, such as loud bird scarers or busy roads, and some even give a ‘reactivity rating’. Reducing external stress factors as much as possible helps keep your senior dog relaxed and happy.
3. Maintain a Consistent Routine
Easier said than done, we know, but try to plan your day around your usual routine while you’re away. This includes consistent mealtimes, walkies and bedtime. The more your senior dog follows their usual routine, the more at home and in control they’ll feel while they’re away.
4. Shorter Walkies
Walks are important for a dog (and human’s) mental and physical health, but just as you wouldn’t take great-granny on an ultra-marathon hike through the Pyrenees, so should you plan your routes before you go, tailoring walks and excursions to your dog’s abilities. Many older dogs don’t know their own limits and will happily try and keep up with you. to their own detriment.
5. Avoid Travelling in Hot Weather
The risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion is a concern for dogs of any age, but it’s particularly perilous for seniors. With their extra layer of furry insulation, try to keep your dog as cool as possible by planning your travel in the evening when the sun has gone down, or early in the morning before it comes up, if possible. Car aircon, a cooling pad and a travel fan are all options for keeping your senior chilled and relaxed.
6. Take Plenty of Breaks En Route
Us humans will usually take a pit stop every few hours to stretch our legs, grab a coffee and use the facilities. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook that dogs can’t hold their bladders for as long as us and also need a stretch, some fresh air and a few slurps of water. Senior dogs require this even more regularly, particularly those with stiff joints and weakened bladders. Enjoy the opportunity for extra coffees and extra doggie strolls and cuddles.
7. Stay at Your Destination Longer
Especially if you’re travelling quite a distance to your destination when holidaying with an older dog, consider staying at your holiday cottage a little longer than a day or two. Travelling can be stressful for some and it could be disruptive to introduce new surroundings before moving on again the next day. Plan plenty of time to rest and recuperate before travelling back home.
8. Make the Car Journey Comfortable
We know that dogs need to be suitably restrained in the car, whether that’s in a crate or attached via a harness. But that doesn’t mean they can’t also be comfortable too. Take plenty of snuggly blankets and maybe your dog’s favourite toy to accompany them on their travels. If your senior dog doesn’t suffer from motion sickness, take some tasty treats and chews with you too and offer water throughout the journey.
9. Keep Your Dog’s Diet Consistent
It’s so easy to disrupt your usual routine when away on holiday. If you’re eating out more, avoid sneaking table scraps to your dog. And make sure you take your dog’s usual food with you, in case you have difficulty sourcing it while you’re away. Older dogs are more prone to getting unsettled tummies and sickness from changes in diet, so do your best to maintain the dietary status quo!
10. Pick the Right Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottage
Last but certainly not least, choose the right holiday cottage that feels like a home away from home for your elderly furry companion. Pack Holidays offer holiday cottages specifically catered for dogs. And for senior dogs in particular, they can even offer dog buggies and high food stands to help.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere by the sea or closer to a busy market town, Pack Holidays have a wide selection of stunning holiday cottages for you to choose from, along with reactive dog ratings, information on fence heights, recommendations for local dog friendly pubs, cafes and restaurants and details on local walks and things to do with your senior dog.
What’s more, on arrival at your chosen cottage, you’ll be greeted with a welcome pack, doggie treats, spare blankets, throws and other thoughtful additions. The ulit-mutt choice for the pawfect holiday for you and your senior dog.