Holidays shouldn’t just be for human members of a family. Dogs enjoy time away to explore new territory just as much as their owners. But planning a holiday with a pet takes careful thought and preparation, especially for if you’re travelling long distances.

There are several options to ‘take your pet with’ on domestic flights South Africa, with Mango airlines offering a safe and secure cargo environment for your bae.

You’ll need some essential items to curb their anxiety and allow for a stress-free holiday for both you and your dog, but choosing the right type of pet-friendly holiday will ensure you create special memories together.

What type of holiday is good for dogs?

Obviously anywhere that has big expansive outdoor areas for running around and exploring, as well as the type of dog friendly accommodation that caters for animals. Generally, the best choices are either out in the countryside or at the beach. Try:

  • River Edge on the Breede River, Western Cape
  • Barking Beach Cottage, Sandbaai, Western Cape
  • Antbear Lodge, Estcourt, KwaZuluNatal
  • St Fancis E’s Cape, St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape

Dogs love great mountainous expanses and will be happy to be able to spend their days walking with their owners. Wherever you are in the country you will find pet-friendly trails and accommodation that is suitable for hikes ranging from just a few hours to a few days. Be careful not to overestimate your pet’s fitness levels and to allow time in between hikes for them to rest for a day if necessary.

What you’ll need to hike with your dog.

There are some great accessories that you can get for dogs that won’t weight your backpack down. There are even backpacks for dogs, so they can help share the load. Collapsible food and water bowls are lightweight and good space-savers. If you don’t want your dog off-lead then you can get ones that attach to an owner’s belt to avoid injury from lengthy periods of holding onto a lead.

Dog-friendly beach holidays

South Africa has lots of dog-friendly beaches in Durban and Cape Town where you can plan your holidays. Some beaches do not allow dogs off a lead and others have specific swimming times for dogs, so check which one is most suited to the pet-friendly holiday you have in mind, before you book your next beach holiday with your dogs.  

What you’ll need for your dog’s beach holiday

Dogs are just as susceptible to the sun as humans, so you’ll need to take the same precautions as you would if you were taking a child to the beach.

Midday summer sun on sand and roads can reach dangerously high temperatures. Making your dog walk on these surfaces will cause painful blistering of their paws, so rather keep your pet off the beaches during midday heat and stick to early mornings and late afternoons.

Dogs can get sunburnt and suffer from it in the same way as humans do, so speak to your vet about special sunscreen for dogs. Never use your sunscreen on a dog as most sunscreens contain zinc which can be toxic if ingested by a dog. Make sure you take plenty of water with you and a packet to pick up after your dog.

Dogs and air travel

Taking dogs in the car for extended periods of time can cause distress and car-sickness, but many domestic airlines and their cheap flights have made travelling with your pet, a quicker and more convenient option.

Mango flights allows dogs to travel in an area in the cargo hold that has the same temperature regulation as the cabin. They have strict rules about the type of carrier your pet needs to travel in as well an age restriction (over eight weeks minimum) but this is to ensure that your pet travels as safely and as comfortably as their owner.

With so many great dog friendly accommodation, beach and restaurant options available to you, taking your best friend on holiday doesn’t necessarily mean another human! But just as many of us humans find travel a little stressful, dogs and cats often suffer similar anxieties. Always consult your vet before travelling with your dog as anxiety reducing medication for your pet is often recommended for any types of long-distance travel.