A PAW FORWARD.
USEFUL TIPS AND WHAT TO DO FOR TRAVELLING HAPPILY WITH OUR PETS.
It's holiday time, at last! We're off, and those who love the company of their pets can continue to take care of them even "on the road". Besides, isn't that one of the pleasures and comforts of travelling by campervan? Here are our tips:
Before leaving, make sure there is enough room inside the vehicle in relation to the size of your dog (the capacity of a 5 m. campervan is quite different from that of an 8 m. motorhome), with a dedicated space. For obvious reasons, avoid areas too close to the kitchen. A place near the driver's cab or bathroom would be ideal. To make your dog "feel at home", use its usual basket or covers whose smell it will recognise. If your dog is restless, use a leash or fit a grid to prevent it from reaching the cab.
Of course, in a small setting like that of a campervan, make sure to wash your dog regularly and, every day, spend a little time grooming it and sanitising the place. It is also a good idea to keep a small first-aid kit on board, for the exclusive use of your dog (bandages, disinfectant, plaster, etc.).
The same applies for cats: choose a suitable area for the carrier (preferably large). If the campervan is spacious, a removable enclosure (even in cloth) can be fitted. During the trip remember to stop occasionally to let your cat free for a while, and prepare the box with the litter (preferably in the bathroom).
The litter should be biodegradable and treated with a specific deodorant. Avoid giving it too much to eat or drink when on the road.
Once stopped (e.g. at the campsite), you can prepare an area without carrier, with bowl for food and water, remembering to always keep the mosquito nets closed, so the cat has as much space as possible to move around without escaping.
For all animals
if travelling to a EU country, make sure to obtain a document identifying the animal and its owner. It is a sort of passport issued by the Local Health Authorities, giving the animal's state of health, the veterinary procedures performed, details and other useful information. Because treatments against ticks and tapeworm are required in some countries, such as Ireland and the UK, it is advisable to inquire about the procedures involved beforehand.
For all your pets, take the precaution of using a microchip, a very small inert device (like a grain of rice) which, inoculated in the subcutaneous tissue, facilitates their identification.
Microchips can also be decisive if your pet becomes lost or in case of litigation regarding its ownership.
Last but not least, don't leave your little friend alone in the campervan for too long, and worse still if in the sun. Remaining closed inside for hours is extremely unpleasant for anyone, especially when it is very hot. In such cases, animals become nervous and aggressive and could damage the vehicle or even suffer serious heatstroke.
The above are some of the basic measures to take; the rest is up to your common sense and, especially, the care and affection you show towards your faithful four-legged friends.