Tips For A Stress-free Vacation For You And Your Dog
By Mary-Jane Gallagher
Summer (and the December school holidays) is just around the corner, which means that countless South Africans will once again be heading to their favourite holiday destinations over the festive season. Among these holidaymakers will be numerous dog owners who can’t bear to think of going on holiday without their best friend in tow. While being able to take your dog on vacation with you is a real treat, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that both you and your dog are having a good time away from home.
Distinguish between ‘dog allowed’ and ‘dog-friendly’
After deciding to take your dog along on vacation, it’s important to conduct some research into your destination. While they may sound like the same thing, there is a huge difference between an establishment that allows dogs and one that can be considered dog-friendly. Although some destinations, including bed & breakfasts, campsites and resorts, may offer accommodation to your canine companion as well, you may find it harder to find popular tourist attractions that are equally accommodating. Cape Town is particularly dog-friendly, with the mother City boasting a wide range of accommodations (including the Radisson RED Hotel at the V&A Waterfront), restaurants and other places of interest that will welcome both you and your four-legged friend with open arms.
Make your stay as stress-free as possible
Even when you find suitable, dog-friendly accommodation, it’s important to do everything in your power to make your holiday stress-free and enjoyable for both you and your dog. Try at all costs to avoid leaving your dog in the car during check-in, even if the windows are open, as they may become distressed. It may also be a good idea to have someone take your dog for a walk while your luggage is brought to your room, or alternatively, close your pup in the bathroom momentarily to prevent them from darting out of an open door and cause havoc.
Don’t leave your dog unattended for too long
The sole purpose of bringing your dog along on vacation is so that you can spend quality time together. This does not entail leaving them unattended in a hotel room for hours on end while you enjoy the local attractions. Having someone (like a spouse or a responsible child) with you to keep an eye on your dog while you pop out for a few canine-free minutes is ideal. Alternatively, ensure that your dog is either secured in a room with sufficient amounts of fresh air, food and water, or drop him off with a dog sitter for the day.
Having a special, furry friend to share your vacation with is one of life’s greatest blessings. While you may encounter a few hiccups along the way, spending time with your dog will undoubtedly provide you with enough beautiful memories to last a lifetime.