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Holiday travel with kids and dogs.

Holiday travel with kids and dogs.

As the end of the year approaches all I am thinking about is holidays. As we drag our way through November many of us will be taking time off over the Christmas break to spend with our families.

What holidays do you have planned? Are you traveling with your four and two legged family members? How can you guarantee that time spent is enjoyable journey, rather than a stressful relocation? Here are my top tips for holidaying with two and four legged family members?

1. Preparation is key.

Make sure you have planned out your journey. Book ahead. Trying to remain spontaneous with kids and dogs in tow is a recipe for disaster. Make sure each location is dog friendly and kid safe. 

2. Leave plenty of time for the journey.

Kids can slow down any progress we make on our way to the holiday destination. Make sure you allow time for procrastinating, toilet stops, and tantrums. Dogs can be no help either. On long journeys they need to stretch their legs, pee on new trees and have a drink. By a having a little more time up your sleeve you can enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

3. Think about the weather.

What activities will you do when it is too hot or cold to venture outside? Have you packed clothes that will make the kids comfortable and able to venture outside? Do you need to think about a cool coat or winter coat for the dog?

4. Monitor health.

Due to lack of usual routine both kids and dogs can tend to get sick. Be prepared for low energy levels and the sniffles. Pack pain and fever medication, for your kids. Make sure you have both a human and dog first aid kit with you, which will include antiseptic wipes, plasters, sting treatment, and a thermometer. We also pack Nutrigel for the dogs, which is a palatable high calorie dietary supplement which tends to give the dogs a little help when diet and stress levels are changeable.

5. Give the kids a digital camera. 

Kids + camera + dogs = hours of activity. If your dog is happy to be put have their photo taken by the kids and the activity is safe get the kids to create a photo journey from the dogs perspective. It allows the kids to think outside the square, create a narrative and interact positively with the family dog. You will also end up with a pretty cool family album at the end.

6. Keep a close eye on diet.

Resist giving the kids too much sugar, you will regret it on the long car journeys. Instead pack savory snacks. The dog should also be monitored. When meeting at gatherings people tend to make friends by giving the dog table scraps - that can add up to a lot of calories they don’t need as well as some foods that could be downright poisonous to your dog.

7. Is everything labeled?

Check to see that the kids clothes, games, toys have their name on them. So if left behind can be returned. On that note, is the dog labelled? Make sure they are wearing a collar with a mobile number (no use having a home phone when you are not at home). Also as you vet to check to make sure your dog’s microchip is readable.

Traveling with kids and dogs can be a wonderful experience. There is nothing better than having the whole family together at Christmas. These tips may just help in keeping the stress levels low and the happiness high!

Enjoy the upcoming holidays!