Most expats would choose pets over in-laws

Photo by photostock, freedigitalphotos.netTravelling pet owners have to make a choice to either leave their pet behind or bring them on holiday. A recent survey asked how expats would be treating their pets this Christmas and the results are rather heart warming, that is, unless you’re an in-law.

It’s probably not surprising to find that 8 out of 10 expats would rather spend the festive season with their pets rather than their in-laws, according to a survey by TrustedHousesitters.com, a website dedicated to matching home owners with trustworthy people to mind their homes and pets while they go on holiday. Nothing against the in-laws, of course, it’s just that pets are a little lower maintenance and we do consider them to be members of the family. “A large proportion of the pet sitting assignments posted on TrustedHousesitters.com come from expats,” says Andy Peck, owner of TrustedHousesitters.com, “so we’ve always known about the close relationship expats have with their pets.”

Travelling with your pet has become easier since the advent of the PETS scheme that allows dogs to travel between mainland Europe and the UK. When it comes to transportation the first choice for pet owners appears to be the ferry for the simple reason that it easier to take your pet in the car with you. We asked a ferry operator to give us one piece of advise that they would like their passengers to remember, “If I had to pick one thing,”says Kevin Root, Operations Director at MyFerryLink ,”is to remind our passengers that pets have to remain on the car deck in your vehicle,so it’s important that you always leave a window slightly open, and of course be particularly vigilant on hot days”. A car waiting in the parking lot in the sun on a 25°C day can quickly reach a temperature of 71°C inside of ten minutes.

Besides transportation, there are plenty of other factors to take into consideration when planning to take your canine companion on holiday with you.

  • Check that the hotel, gîte or campsite welcomes dogs. Will your dog be noisy, thinking it must protect your tent/caravan from passers by and other dogs? Most campsites insist on proof of up-to-date vaccines for dogs including rabies.
  • Check if they are allowed on the beaches that you are planning to visit.
  • In summer, don’t exercise your dog when it is very hot. If they are kept outside, provide shade and a bowl of water that cannot be knocked over. If your dog is old, and/or overweight, and/or short-nosed (Boxers etc), or has heart or lung disease, it should be kept indoors in the cool during the hot parts of the day.
  • Check if there are any diseases prevalent in the area. Near the Mediterranean for example, your dog will need protection against Leishmaniasis (carried by sand flies). Ask your vet for over the counter collars or drops that are licensed to repel sand flies. They also help protect against ticks, which can carry fatal diseases.
  • Just in case your pet gets lost, make sure it has a tag on its collar showing a mobile number where you can be reached.You need to think carefully about whether your pet will enjoy a holiday with you. If you are unsure, and do not want to send your dog to kennels, why not consider a house sitter? If you find it difficult to leave your pet behind, you are not alone. Almost half of the TrustedHousesitters.com survey respondents said that they would be cooking a special Christmas meal for their pampered pooches and kitties, and almost three quarters said that they would be buying them presents too. Most expats will be spending up to 20 Euros on each pet so if the Trusted Housesitters.com survey is anything to go by, pets are in for a great Christmas this year.

    Information on how the PETS passport scheme works can be found in this handy guide.

    •S. Davis, P&L Editor

    With thanks to:

    MyFerryLink.com Ferry Operator
    •Diana James BVetMed MRCVS Ordre Vétérinaires d’Aquitaine
    TrustedHousesitters.com , statistics about expats and their pets.
    •Photo by Photostock, freedigitalphotos.net

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