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Hastings Direct news: how to keep your pets happy on the move

With nearly half of households in the UK owning a pet, it's safe to say we're a nation of animal lovers.

As if you needed any more reasons to show your pet just how much you love them, National Pet Month is running this year, from 1st April to 2nd May.

Dogs on the move.

For many pet owners, they're our friends and so much more than just a pet, they're a member of our family. In fact, new research revealed half of dog owners admitted talking to their dogs more than their partners!

If you're heading off during National Pet Month, it's important that you prepare for a safe and smooth trip for you and your pet.

So, whether you're a dog lover or a cat lover (or can't choose between them), follow these top tips for keeping your pet happy while you're on the move...

Prepare your pet for a long trip

First things first, getting your pet used to car journeys from a young age will help sensitise them to the experience. If your pet isn't used to car trips, get them prepared by taking them on short drives, gradually building up the amount of time spent in the car, before you head off for your big trip.

Before you set off

Dogs can be prone to motion sickness so feed them early and make sure they don't eat in the few hours before you head off. Similarly, don't let them gulp down lots of water before you get in the car, as this may force them to 'hold it in' before your planned stops. Exercising your pet several hours before you head off while not only make sure they're not too hot but will hopefully mean they will be more likely to rest during the journey.

Take regular breaks

More dogs on the move.

If you're planning a long drive, you'll need to factor in breaks. The official advice for drivers it to have a break of 15 minutes every two hours but you may want to extend this time if you're travelling with your pets. When on the break spend a little time playing in a safe place or walking your dog on a lead to get rid of some pent-up energy and tire them out until the next break.

Pet travel checklist

  • Pet passport — if you're heading abroad then don't forget to check the legal requirements of the country you're visiting
  • Food and bowls — bring your pet's regular food to minimise the chance of an upset tummy
  • Waste scoop and bags or a litter tray — for when you're out and about
  • Bed or carrier case (especially for your feline friends) — to make them feel secure in a new environment
  • Medication and pet first-aid kit
  • Toys or their favourite item from home to help give them a sense of familiarity

And remember; never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Even leaving the windows open can be dangerous for your beloved pet as it can take as little as 15 minutes for an animal to succumb to heatstroke.