It’s time to celebrate our furry friends…
Did you know this April is National Pet Awareness Month? And did you know Friday the 11th is set to be National Pet Day?
Yep – you can assume that all those slobbery, boxer-dog kisses have been asking you for even more attention. And why not? After all, the saying “it’s dog’s life” didn’t make it into history for nothin’. They wake us up in the morning with a pawing or rough-tongued lick to the face – acting as alarm clock (or perhaps just begging for breakfast). They drag us out of bed to take a long walk along the beach – acting as personal trainer (or perhaps just out to play ball). They stand guard at home all day – acting as security guard (or perhaps just chewing up our brand new, designer cushions). And by night time? We have our very own counsellors. No, they don’t exactly ‘chew the fat’ (well, sometimes – acting as live rubbish disposal is also a pretty great perk at bad dinner parties) but they do lavish us with unwavering love.
No one’s keeping tabs on who benefits from the pet/master relationship, of course, but our animals – big and small, furry and not so furry – are constant companions who deserve a day out. In that vein, how will you celebrate with your four-legged, winged and gilled friends this month? And where will you take them? This year marks the silver anniversary of the event – 25 years of promoting pet ownership and helping pet charities, and as such, there are dozens of fun and educational activities taking place up and down the UK.
Fundraisers; group walks; charity balls; pet first aid courses: there’s sure to be something happening near you and your pal. Or perhaps you’ll just spend a day roaming the hills, or snuggled up by the fire. Here’s what our HomeAway pet-friendly panel are getting up to.
“Where in the UK will you take your pet on National Pet Day”?
Marc Abraham, TV Vet
“There’s really no better place in the UK to spoil your pooch than a walk at Cuckmere Haven in Sussex, with its beautiful meandering river, lovely beach, and stunning views of the Seven Sisters – see you there!”
Find more about Marc on his site www.marcthevet.com
“Where will I take my pet on National Pet Day? Hmm…it depends on the pet! My boyfriend’s parents have a very obedient collie, so I’d take him to one of our national parks here in Scotland; perhaps the Cairngorms where we could roam free in the hills for hours… Alas, I have a very disobedient basset hound – but she loves taking walks along the beach.
Here on the east coast, around the Dundee and Fife area, we have lots of long, sandy stretches where dogs are welcome year-round bar the high season (June/July/August). It’s not as dramatic as the Highlands, but it has its seaside charms. Afterwards, I’d head down to one of the pubs where I live in Broughty Ferry, where she could enjoy an Arbroath smokie (smoked haddock) as a special treat – and I’d have a pint of local MòR, brewed in Kellas nearby. Many of our pubs welcome dogs, water bowls and all. Of course, it’s important to remember all of the animals looking to be re-homed on National Pet Day, too. Perhaps I’ll make a new addition to our family – someone to show Frankie who’s boss!”.
Find Sophie on Google plus.
“To celebrate National Pet Month (and day) I will have my dog Archie with me at work. He generally comes to work with me on Fridays and he absolutely loves it! We go for a nice, long, early morning walk before getting settled in for the day with his bedding, lunch, toys and his best friend Millie, who is my colleague’s dog. Here at Animal Friends it is always ‘bring your dog to work day’ and there is always a dog, if not three or four, around the offices.
Of course, the whole aim of National Pet Month is to promote responsible pet ownership, something that we wholeheartedly support. I count myself lucky in that my role allows me to work first-hand with many charities and educational programmes and I have to say, National Pet Month is one of the best year-to-year campaigns. Whilst your dog may be loved and cared for, remember that there are thousands of dogs that aren’t. Please take the time to read about, or indeed become actively involved with, National Pet Month; it is a wonderful campaign.”
Find more about Dan on his site www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog
Kirsti Banyard, travel writer
“Having a small menagerie of pets (partly due to my children’s love of our furry friends and my own affection for cats and dogs), the question of where to take “Max” – our family’s Cairn terrier – to celebrate National Pet Day is an easy one. We live in Hampshire and not only do we love animals, but we also love being by the coast. Lepe Country Park in the New Forest is a perfect choice.
We always start our walk along the seashore where Max loves to run in and out of the sea even on the coldest of days; he jumps and snaps at the waves breaking, whilst my boys skim stones, a mix of boys and dog bouncing around in the sea breeze. We then head up the cliff steps where the views look across the Solent to Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower. Walking along the cliff top with open grass areas provides the perfect space to throw a ball for the dog and boys (Max makes a great fielder!). We always finish with hot chocolate and chips from the beach side café. A happy pooch and smiley boys. ”
Find Kirsti on Google plus.
“For National Pet Day this year, I will be taking my two Tibetan Spaniels, Tomi and Dodge, 80 minutes south of where I live on the Isle of Lewis, to Luskentyre Beach (recently voted the third best beach in the world, and best in Europe, thank you very much!) The best thing is, is that they won’t suspect a walk is on the agenda, as the harnesses and leads will be left at home. This is the best walk of all – a freedom walk. This beach runs seamlessly on the coastline for miles, and my dogs will undoubtably cover just about every inch as they run, jump, dig, play, splash, and bury their heads in the sand. When they go to bed at night, with all their energy zapped, they will dream of sand, sea and one heck of a good day out.”
Read more of Terri’s musings, articles and beauty advice at www.thewriterri.com.
National Pet Month runs from April 1 – May 5, promoting responsible pet ownership and encouraging the nation’s pet owners to raise money for their favourite UK pet charities.
For more information on how to get involved with National Pet Month go to www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk.
National Pet Month
Taking your pets with you on your travels can be a wonderful experience, but there are a few key things to remember before you set off to ensure you and your pets have a happy and safe holiday.
· If you’re planning on travelling long distances, whether in the UK or abroad, check with your vet to ensure your pet is in good enough health to make the journey. This is especially important for animals with on-going illnesses.
· When planning an overseas trip there are a number of legal requirements required to keep your pet safe. Talk to your vet about this and check out the Defra website for more information: www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad.
· If your pet is on medication or has been on medication for an on-going or recurrent condition, write down the condition and the treatment your pet has been receiving and take it with you on your travels. You can then pass this on to a vet in the local area if needed.
· Write down and take with you contact details of your local veterinary practice so you can pass this onto other vets if your pet needs treatment while you’re away.
· Research the area you’re travelling to and create a contact list of vets so you have them to hand in case of emergency.
· When travelling by car make sure you build in regular breaks for you and your pet. This is especially important during hot weather when animals can very easily overheat and need to remain hydrated. Ensure there is plenty of fresh water available at all times.
· While on holiday try to keep your pet’s diet as close to its home diet as possible. The last thing you want on your holiday is a pet with an upset stomach!