With over 9 million dogs in the country, dogs must come along on their owner’s holiday for many. Here’s how to keep them happy.
By Jack Teare, Guest Blogger
Holidaying in the UK or abroad can be fun for all family members, and preparation is key, so here is a helpful list of things you may want to consider before you set off on your next adventure.
Insurance and microchips
It is always a good idea to ensure that pet insurance and microchips are up to date, but these should be checked before embarking on any trip. You may wish to call your insurance provider to ensure that every aspect of your holiday is covered (including if you are going abroad).
Make sure that you are prepared for any eventuality. Research where the local vet is, including out-of-hours, and ensure vaccinations, flea, and worm treatments are all up to date. It may be worth booking in for a vet check-up and confirming that you have any medication (if required) for your dog. If you are traveling abroad, you should consider what is required for a Pet Passport in plenty of time. Your vet can advise on what is needed and when.
A doggy essential, but something to consider is food – especially if you feed a raw diet. Are you able to take enough food with you, or where can you potentially get more from? Your dog will need continuity for its vacation as a sudden change of diet may cause an upset tummy. If you do need to change food, make sure you do it gradually before your holiday.
Local activities and venues
Once you have decided on the location, make sure you scope out the local activities – not just dog walks and day trips but also dog-friendly pubs, restaurants, and cafés. Are there any restrictions on where you want to go? For example, beaches or woodland may only be dog-friendly during certain times of the year.
Make sure that your accommodation is dog-friendly, and it isn’t just an old statement on the website. Look at reviews, phone the proprietors, and check their dog policy. It may also be worth researching their rules – are dogs allowed in all the rooms, can they sit on the sofa. Most holiday accommodation is unlikely to allow you to leave your dog alone, so it may also be worth enquiring about dog-care should you want to leave your pet at any point.
It’s always a good idea to have a list, to check that you don’t forget anything. Include a water bowl, food bowl, food, lead, harness, poo bags, treats, toys, and a familiar blanket for them to sleep on. You could also think about an anchor and line if you are staying on a campsite or just resting at the beach.
Ensure regular stops on the way. If your dog isn’t used to traveling, you may decide to make some shorter journeys to familiarise them with the environment. Don’t forget “when in a vehicle make sure dogs are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or cause injury to you, or themselves, if you stop quickly” (Highway code, Rule 57). If you are going abroad via ferry or train, you should look at the transport company’s dog policy.
On your holiday!
A regular routine is essential for your dog, especially when they are away from home. It’s a good idea to maintain your daily routine where possible to settle your dog quickly into their temporary home.
Time is so important on holiday. It would be best if you always allowed your dog to explore their surroundings and ensure that they feel comfortable and at home – also, remember they will need rest time from all the new sights, smells, and experiences.
Be safe and secure, and never leave your dog unattended. Be aware of any locations that could be a potential hazard, such as cliffs, water, or roads, and it is always a good idea, unless you know the area well, to keep your dog on a lead.
If you do plan on walking in the countryside, always remember the countryside code.
So, preparation and research are key. Think about all your dog’s needs, help them to feel safe and secure, and try and plan for every eventuality. But most importantly… have fun!
about the author
Jack is the Head of Content at Affinity and has been an avid dog lover for as long as he can remember!