Have you thought of taking your dog on holiday with you?
When taking your pet on holiday always make sure that your chosen holiday destination has all the facilities necessary for your pet’s requirements.
The hiring of cottages, seaside bungalows and even camping have all recently become a firm family favourite. Not only are they cheaper but they could also include the family dog. You can also save money on boarding your dog and include them on one of the most thrilling family activities of the year, the family holiday.
Dog friendly Guest Houses, B&B’s and Hotels
A dog stroller or carrier makes a perfect portable bed for your dog while being on holiday. Their own dog blanket will also make them feel more comfortable in a strange room or house.
Walking, Camping or Cycling Holidays
Always make sure your dog is always within sight. And always keep a look out for local notices or signs about dogs or wildlife. Kids tend to enjoy looking out for these (it’s a a bit like a treasure hunt) so look after your dog as a whole family. Walking in woodland or near farmland may have seasonal restrictions for example lambing season is in the spring and ground nesting birds may be raising their young between March and July in some woodland areas. So do your research before travelling.
Whenever you are out and about with your dog always pick up their dog mess, even on rustic walkways. Other walkers use these foot paths. Flick it into rough grass or woodland, or take it away with you and dispose of it at back at the campsite. There maybe some bins provided on route.
A Dog Trailer can be fixed onto your cycle so that your dog can now join you on your family cycling holidays.
If you are out on a whole days activity always make sure you have plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink. Dogs do sweat and dehydrate and are covered in fur, so they can suffer in the heat. Small dogs may need a pet stroller if you plan to spend the whole day walking. Strollers are great for a small dog to rest in and it also protects them from the sun, wind or rain.
Dog Friendly Cottages
It’s always courteous to remove any dog hair and clean up any mess before leaving your rental accommodation.
If you happen to take your dog along with you when renting a cottage, you must always keep your dog off the cottage furniture and beds, even if you don’t do this at home. Your dog should be exercised regularly and not left unattended in the house or garden. A strange location can easily stress out your dog and what do they do when stressed? Chew! Some holiday cottages prefer the dogs to sleep downstairs, so try and find a cottage that suits your requirements. And it’s always courteous to remove any dog hair or dog mess from the property before you leave.
Dog Friendly Beaches
Using a dog stroller or pop up tent is ideal for keeping your dog out of the hot sun. Give them shade and plenty of water.
Dogs do like to sleep a great deal and they will need to rest in cool shade rather than baking in the hot blazing sun. These strollers are also fitted with great storage areas for bottles of water, bowls and food. The also fold easily and can be stored in the boot of a car. They are perfect for a long day at the beach. Dogs do overheat in the sun, especially due to their fur coats. If your dog is too big for a stroller invest in a small pop up tent.
Always make sure that they have plenty of cool fresh water to drink. Some dogs can be seen drinking sea water at the beach, which only makes their thirst much worse! If your dog does happen to suffer from heatstroke, they will need to be taken to a cool room, bathed in cool water and you need to seek medical advice from a vet. There is some more information on dog heatstroke in our article about dog life jackets.
Check the internet for any beaches which are close to your chosen holiday destination, the local council will advise you on whether that beach is dog friendly or not.
Speak to your vet or contact the Pet Travel Scheme if you plan on taking your dog on holiday with you.
If you are planning on travelling abroad with your dog always check the possible dangers that may come into contact with your pet. America and Australia have poisonous snakes, scorpions and insects. There is Leishmaniasis in the Mediterranean and tick bourne diseases throughout the world. So check all this out before booking them a ticket.
If you are flying by air, chances are your dog will need to be placed into a flight approved pet carrier and be placed in the hold and not within the passenger cabin. Check our section on Travelling by Air, further down in this article or read our longer article ‘Travelling by Air with your Dog’ for some more advice
Driving with your Dog
Always take plenty of water with you. Your pet should always have access to water during your car journey. Feed your pet no sooner than two hours before you travel. Your pet will travel better if they do not have a full stomach. If your journey is long enough to cover a period of time in which your pet would normally be fed, remember to take some of your pet’s food with you. Take regular breaks and let them take a short walk or stretch their legs occasionally if taking a long trip.
If your dog is out of their carrier, make sure all your car doors are locked and the windows are closed.
Travelling by bus or train
If using trains or buses abroad check with each travel company to see what their pet policy is before you book your trip. It’s wise to travel with your pet during the coolest times of the day. Avoid midday journeys as the heat inside buses and trains can be uncomfortable for your dog. Try and travel in the mornings or at night.
Some dog owners use a stroller or carrier to transport their dog when using trains or buses. Inside the stroller or carrier they can relax more if the privacy flaps are pulled down. One of their dog bed blankets will comfort them and help put them at ease. They will be more likely to sleep during the journey if you use a carrier or stroller as there will be fewer distractions for them to see to upset them.
Make sure that your dog has had some good exercise before you begin a long bus or train journey. It’s also a good idea to limit their food and water intake on the day of travel, especially if you have a long journey without any connections.
Travelling by Ferry
If you are planning a very long ferry trip, your pet may not be allowed to be placed inside your car, but may have to travel within a container.
If you are travelling by ferry with your dog avoid the hottest part of the day. Locking your dog inside your car in hot weather is not only stressful to your dog but can also be fatal. Use morning or late evening trips, that way your dog will be at their coolest.
They should also have a good amount of ventilation when locked in the car. You must leave a window partially open if travelling in warmer weather. Most ferry companies will also ask you to bring along a compulsory dog muzzle. It’s also very important that you exercise your dog and give them a good walk before getting to the ferry port. Avoid over feeding them on the day in case they have accidents in your car when unattended.
Always make sure that the ferry officials know that you have a pet inside a pet carrier inside your car. Listen to any instructions that they give you and follow them to the letter. And make sure that you have fulfilled all the legal requirements if your journey takes you out of the UK.
Travelling by Air
The hold area is well ventilated and temperature controlled during the flight but that may not be the case when on the ground. Delays may occur and sometimes the hold may not be opened even during high temperatures. You will need to consider all of this when thinking about transporting your dog or pet on an aeroplane. Again check with the airline and see what their pet policy is. By law the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations must be met in order to transport animals by plane. Check the IATA Travellers Pet Corner Page.
These will specify standards about the animal carrier or container you use and how you provide food and water for your pet. They will also let you know which animals can travel by plane and which cannot.
If you do decide to fly with your dog make sure you choose the quickest direct flight which will reduce the travel time and stress of your pet. Like all the other modes of transport avoid travelling in the hottest part of the day. Morning and late evening flights are best.
Get your dog used to their flight container or carrier well before you travel. If they are accustomed to it beforehand they will travel a great deal easier. Make sure you choose the right size carrier and that there is enough room inside for your dog and that they are comfortable.
Make sure that your dog has a non spill water container and that there is enough of it to last the journey and nay delays. Gelled water may be provided as a reserve. Make sure you have met all the legal requirements of taking your pet abroad. Again check with the Pet Travel Scheme for further information.