As a nation of dog lovers, many pet owners can’t bear to be apart from their beloved companions and so take them on holiday.
Around 67% of UK dog owners have revealed that they plan to holiday with their dog this year, with more than half (60%) even planning their holiday around their pooch.
It’s never nice to leave your dog in kennels, whilst on your travels. However, as many holiday destinations in the UK now have pet friendly accommodation, many owners don’t have to make that choice. It’s important that while we love to take our dogs with us, as responsible owners, we should ensure our pets are safe and happy while we’re away. Preparing for your trip in advance can make a big difference to holidaying with your dog and reduce stress.
Before you leave
It’s important to research where you plan to visit. Ensure that your accommodation accepts dogs and how many they allow. Are there dog-friendly facilities and attractions close by? It wouldn’t be much fun for your dog if you take them on holiday with you but they are left in the holiday home all day. There are many dog-friendly holiday stays available in the UK. Website such as, Pitch-up.com and Canine Cottages offer a collection of dog-friendly holidays and locations across the UK.
Plan what you are going to be doing while you are away, days out etc. Be sure to research local attractions and restaurants to ensure your dog is allowed to accompany you.
Visit your vet to ensure your dog is healthy and OK to travel. Make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date, as well as their flea and worming treatment. It’s also important to ensure they are micro-chipped and your contact details are up-to-date in case they escape or get lost.
Pack the essentials
Make sure that you have all the essentials that you will need for your dog whilst on holiday. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t forget anything. Pack your dog’s favourite toys and bedding to help them settle while you’re away. Check with your holiday rental what is included before you go, many may supply water and food bowls. Make sure you pack enough food and any medication they may need.
Going somewhere new could be a stressful experience for your dog. Try to keep key routines as normal as possible to reduce any stress for your pet. Natural supplements, such as Nutracalm can help to reduce stress and keep your pet calm during this time.
Add some extra training
You may think that your dog is well behaved and can follow basic commands, but in a new environment this may change. Be sure to re-teach your dog basic commands to ensure they remain well behaved in distracting environments. If your dog is not used to being around other dogs, socialisation training would be key before you go, as there may be a number of pet owners holidaying with their dog in close proximity.
Whilst on holiday with your dog
If you are traveling by car, make sure that your dog is used to it, especially if it is going to be a long journey. Ensure they are secure in the car in a crate or by using a harness. During the journey stop for breaks and allow your pet to stretch their legs. Make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated on warm days. Settle your dog in When you arrive, take your dog for a walk to familiarise yourself and your dog with the area. Be sure to keep them on their lead. This will also offer a chance for your dog to stretch their legs after the car journey.
Even when on holiday stick to your dog’s routine as much as possible, including feeding times, walking and sleep. This will help to reduce stress as much as possible for your dog. Look up local sitters If you can’t take your dog out with you on some days whilst you’re away, look for local dog sitters or boarding kennels to ensure they are looked after and not left alone all day. Check out DogBuddy.com who offer dog sitters in your local area.
Your dog’s safety
Once you’ve settled in and unpacked, it is important to keep an eye on your dog to ensure their safety. It may be easy to slip into holiday mode but keep your pet’s safety in mind. Don’t leave them unsupervised whilst outside in case they run off or escape and always keep them on their lead if possible when walking. Don’t leave your dog alone in your holiday home or in the car whilst on days out. Also be sure to supervise your dog at the beach whilst near water and check which beaches allow dogs before taking them for a walk.
Plan for an emergency
Make sure you find out where the nearest vets is whilst on holiday in case something should happen. You could look up the address and plan a route so that you know where to go in an emergency. Take your pet’s insurance details with you.
Planning in advance can make holidaying with your dog a much more enjoyable experience. Trial weekends and days away are also a great way to get your pet used to travelling and staying in an unfamiliar environment. And, don’t forget to have fun – remember the reason why you can’t bear to be without your beloved four-legged companion! – even on holiday!