We’re undoubtedly a nation of dog lovers – they are a part of the family, so it’s no wonder that more of us than ever are choosing to bring our beloved pooches on holiday. It is now estimated 1.4 million pet lovers choose to holiday in the UK, simply because they want to bring their dogs along!
Travel with Pets
Taking pets abroad can be a complicated process involving quarantine and vaccination as many countries are concerned by the potential spread of diseases. Fortunately, holidaying with your pet in the UK has become much simpler and more and more places are beginning to recognise the need to cater for our four-legged travellers. However, this doesn’t mean thorough planning should be neglected, quite the contrary, for this can make all the difference in your holiday being comfortable for your dog.
Want to guarantee your holiday goes without a hitch? Here are our pawesome tips for planning the perfect pooch-friendly holiday.
Do Your Research
There is a big difference between accommodation that’s dog-friendly and dog-tolerant. When searching for your ideal accommodation it’s essential to consider this. Do they merely allow you to bring your dogs along, have they gone above and beyond to accommodate them? Venues that provide enclosed garden areas, food and water bowls, waste bags, a welcome pack and perhaps a list of local activities which are dog-friendly are definitely going to be more suitable; whereas somewhere that just hands you a list of rules for your dog upon arrival probably won’t be the best.
Be sure to thoroughly research the type of accommodation that would be the most suitable and comfortable for your dog. Hotels might not be the best choice as it’d mean confining your dog to a very small space. Would a campsite work better, a cottage, caravan or maybe a lodge? If the local area doesn’t have many dog-friendly cafes or restaurants, then perhaps self-catering would make things simpler.
Delve into the Details
Once you’ve found your accommodation it’s crucial that you read the small print before booking or paying a deposit. The majority of dog-friendly places will include a daily charge per dog that will fluctuate depending on whether or not it is peak season and this might not always be listed at the booking stage.
You should also check whether the charge applies to every dog you take and whether there is a maximum number of dogs allowed in the property. Checking the guidelines for the accommodation is also important – are there any areas where dogs have restricted access, are they allowed on the furniture, etc.? Depending on your expectations, these might be deciding factors for you, so ensuring you find out beforehand will make things considerably easier and guarantee your holiday runs smoothly.
Find the Local Vet
Hopefully you won’t need to contact a vet on holiday, but it’s always best to be prepared in case your dog falls ill or is injured. Research vets close to your accommodation and keep their details handy throughout your stay. Keep your pet insurance records handy or ensure your pet is covered when on holiday so, if the unfortunate does happen, you won’t be out of pocket.
It would also be beneficial to book your pet in for a check-up prior to a trip away. This is especially important if your dog is likely to come into contact with other animals that might carry fleas, ticks or worms. Having the necessary treatments beforehand would minimise the risk of picking up anything unpleasant. If your pet isn’t microchipped, make sure you fix this, both for safety and legality – it is now a legal requirement in the UK to have your dog microchipped by the time it’s eight weeks old, your vet can advise/undertake this; otherwise you could be fined up to £500.
Plan Trips Around Your Dog
If you’ve taken your dog on holiday with you to avoid leaving them behind, then it’d be pointless to arrange activities that wouldn’t allow your pooch to join in. Remember – not many places will let you leave your dog unattended inside the accommodation, so organising dog-friendly activities is essential. However, if your accommodation does allow you to leave your dog, make sure you aren’t gone for too long – you don’t want to come back to any nasty surprises!
Accommodation that’s situated near picturesque forests or landscapes, for example, at a New Forest holiday park, with mapped walking trails are perfect for guaranteeing your dog isn’t left alone while you’re exploring and ensures they get plenty of exercise – they are also free! When visiting beaches, remember to check the rules for dogs depending on the time of year – the most popular beaches only allow dogs in certain areas.
Enquire with the staff where you’re staying about more information on nearby, dog-friendly activities if you plan on venturing further. Alternatively, websites such as Dog Friendly recommend and review the best locations around the UK where you can take your dog.
Make Long Journeys Easier and Safer
Travelling with dogs for long distances can be extremely stressful for them; especially if they aren’t used to it. If you are travelling by car with your dog, ensuring they’re familiar with the experience is crucial for keeping them comfortable, take them out on short journeys beforehand will help accustom them to the experience and ease their stress.
Safety is also crucial. For your dog’s sake and your own, they must be secured. Purchasing a crate is a safe solution as it restricts their movement and will stop them from distracting the driver. A harness is another option, but you must always position them away from the airbags. Throughout the journey you should aim to stop every two or three hours to allow them to stretch their legs.
Make it a Home
Once you reach your destination, you need to spend time settling your dog in otherwise they will feel uncomfortable throughout the holiday. Familiarise your dog with the surroundings by taking them for a long walk as soon as you arrive to de-stress. Walking in an area with other dogs will allow your dog to socialise and play, hopefully tiring them out enough so they don’t worry about being in a different environment. It’s also recommended that you bring familiar items such as their bed, toys and blankets to provide your accommodation the scents of home.