Taking the whole family away on dog friendly holidays is a great way to involve everyone in your expeditions and can avoid the cost of kennels and the distress of separation for you both! Here are our top tips and advice (from experience) to make your doggy getaway blissfully stress free.
Research your location
Search online for a pet-friendly cottage, campsite or hotel that will accommodate your whole family. There are a surprising number of companies out there that specialise in dog-friendly breaks. Cottages are a great idea as the choice of locations will be great and you’ll get the place all to yourself for the duration. A campsite could be a great budget-friendly option for you all, they’re cheap and readily available although camping will be more suited to spring and autumn time. Have a trial run sleeping outside – if your dog is spooked easily by noises, it’s not going to be fun woken up throughout the night. Dog friendly hotels and guesthouses are slightly more difficult to come by, will have more conditions to staying and will also cost more.
Select your destination with your dog in mind, consider how long can they be in the car on a single journey. Maybe just head somewhere a few hours away to reduce stress on you all.
Research the actual journey to your destination and find out what there is to do locally. Plan some great walks and hikes through the countryside, maybe with a few local pubs along the way!
Check out all suitable stops to make on the way where you can safely give your pooch a walk to break up the journey, toilet stop and water stop.
Remember it is never a good idea to stop on motorway hard shoulders or main roads and always be extremely careful when you are getting in and out of the vehicle. Keep your dog on a short lead as loud traffic can startle.
Get your car ready for your dog friendly adventure
It’s a good idea to secure your dog either in a suitable boot/trunk area, with a dog guard in place, a suitable dog crate or securely restrained with a specialist seatbelt harness or similar.
Make sure your dog is comfortable on their favourite bed or blanket
Have plenty of water and any treats that may be required and don’t forget the poop bags at all times!
Never leave your dog unattended in the car for any length of time, especially in summer or winter; it can quickly result in uncomfortable conditions for your dog.
Packing for your trip
Take your dog’s usual bed and don’t forget leads, toys and food bowls that you will need for the duration of your stay.
Take some dog food with you, especially if your dog is on a special diet, you may not be able to get their favourite food in all places.
Don’t forget any medication your dog may need. It is also a good idea to consider taking some medical first aid items such as creams etc, to treat any minor ailments.
Check out the local veterinary services, just in case and don’t forget to take your insurance paper work with you, should it be required.
Make sure your dog is micro chipped and registered, in case they get lost in unfamiliar surroundings.
When in your chosen holiday accommodation observe the pet policy and rules of your destination. Always take your dog’s bed with you; they should not join you on seats or beds even if this is their normal home routine!
Never leave you dog alone for any length of time in unfamiliar surroundings.
Remember to keep to your dog’s usual diet; overfeeding or holiday treats and unfamiliar food can upset you and your pooch!
Consider a separate collar tag with additional details of where your dog is staying along with a contact number, always ensure your dog has their collar on (as is law in many places) and keep them on a lead as you do at home.
Follow these tips and you and your pooch could have one of your best family holidays ever!
By Julie Bowman