/ Parenting, Travel & Leisure

Does your pet get stressed when you jet off on holiday?

Dog alone

Have pet passports opened up new horizons for holidaying with your cat or dog? Or do you leave them behind? Given the stress my family’s dog suffered from when we left it at home, I don’t think I could any more.

I grew up in America, travelling everywhere with my dog and cat. When we went on holiday, they went on holiday. They loved it and would get excited as soon as they saw us bring out the suitcases.

But sometimes, if we were going on long-haul trips, we’d have to leave them behind. We would come back to find that the cat was annoyed with us – she wouldn’t acknowledge our presence for days – and the dog was in a frantic state. He’d leap for joy at the sight of us, but then be so anxious over the following days that if we left the house, he’d paw at the front door for hours.

Worse, he would barely touch his food while we were gone, so he’d lose weight. He did this whether we had a dogsitter look after him or put him in kennels. And we tried everything – leaving his favourite treats, having fresh chicken and beef prepared for him. No joy. He just couldn’t bear to be away from us.

It got so bad that we decided it wasn’t fair to leave him any more, so we just stopped taking long-haul trips. But that was fine. He could easily go with us in the car, on the train or in the cabin of the plane on short-haul hops around North America.

Travelling with dogs in Europe

When I moved to the UK in the 1990s, however, I was shocked at just how impossible it was to take your dog with you – even on short journeys to Europe. The destinations were often far closer – just a few hours to France, Ireland and Spain – than the epic trips we used to take with our animal entourage. Yet getting pets over the Channel required a six-month quarantine period.

When the pet passport scheme was introduced in 2000, I was thrilled. Free movement at last for pets and their people.

Of course, plenty of people still choose to leave their pets at home, and some dogs and cats prefer to be left behind rather than face a long journey. But I’m sure my family’s dog isn’t the only one who suffered from stress and anxiety when we went away.

Does your pet get stressed?

I’d like to hear from you for a future article in Which? Travel magazine. We’re trying to find out how many people’s pets suffer from stress when they leave them behind to go on holiday. So if you have a dog, cat or another pet, please take a second to vote in the poll and share your experiences in the comments below.

Does your dog suffer stress when you leave them behind to go on holiday?

I don't have a dog (59%, 626 Votes)

Yes (25%, 258 Votes)

No (12%, 122 Votes)

Don't know (4%, 47 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,053

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

Haha, that’s a Comment of the Week right there @user-66219 😀

Dogs are pack animals and invariably get stressed when left. This was confirmed in ‘Dogs their secret lives’ tv programme where even dogs not outwardly showing separation disorder where blood tested and the results showed that the chemical changes indicated stress, even when left for a couple of hours. Think of the consequences of holidaying without your dog. They have no way of knowing that they will ever see you again. Their stress levels must be unimaginable and akin to bereavement. I believe it just isn’t fair and very selfish to holiday without your dog(s).

I have to admit to being slightly perplexed as to the shape of the article destined for Which? Travel. Looking at mammals as a whole they like routine and dislike uncertainty and would be stressed.

Perhaps it is not so clear cut with rodents? How excited are Rabbits? And will all be revealed? There is one possibility not mentioned and that is if you are a lousy owner and the pet goes and stays with someone much nicer routinely ……. : )