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Going on holiday with your dog

Going on holiday with your dog

Have you thought of taking your dog on holiday with you?

Many holiday makers leave their dog with a relative, neighbour or even with the local boarding kennels. Do you know how much stress that gives to your dog? Their ‘pack’ have just gone and left them with complete strangers and they don’t know if they are ever going to come back! If your dog is boarding at the local kennels all they can hear is the sound of other distressed dogs who have been left there too. They are in a strange place, with strange sights, smells and sounds. They will have to endure this for one to two weeks.
When taking your pet on holiday always make sure that your chosen holiday destination has all the facilities necessary for your pet’s requirements.
RSPCA
Have you ever thought of choosing a holiday that includes your dog? Many UK holiday makers are now considering taking their breaks within the British Isles. Some have even taken their pooches abroad to sunny destinations complete with a doggy passport. In recent years the cost of air fuel as risen, there have been spontaneous ash clouds that have erupted from nowhere, making flight travel come to a complete stand still so holidaying in the UK is on the up. Then there is the economic climate to consider, these days families are having to tighten their purse strings when it comes to luxuries like holidays so a short break to the British coast is a good alternative.
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

Dog friendly Guest Houses, B n B’s and Hotels
There are dog friendly establishments across the UK if you look for them. They are usually owned by dog lovers who know how important it is to bring along the family dog rather than leaving them alone at home or with strangers. The British are dog lovers after all and more hotel owners are cashing in on the ‘bring along the family dog’ niche. Good for them.
You will be surprised at the amount of hotels and B&B’s that are offering a place for your dog. Take a look at the Dog Friendly Britain Website or Dog Friendly. They are full of great suggestions for hotels, B&B’s and even eating establishments.
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.
When staying in a guest house, hotel or B&B always remember you are staying in someone else’s home, so be courteous about cleaning up after your dog. Remove any dog hair or mess that they may leave behind. Also note that you cannot leave your dog unattended at the hotel or B&B, your daily activities on holiday should always include your dog. You will need to take a dog bed, stroller or crate with you for your dog to sleep in. Some hotels may only have wooden floors and will not provide dog beds. Your dog will need a comfy bed to sleep on. Some guest house owners are strict when it comes to dog sleeping arrangements, so check to to see how relaxed they are before booking.
When holidaying with small or medium sized dogs a pet stroller or dog carrier is suggested. If you are planning long days of activities, a stroller is an ideal way to transport your dog. It’s also a place for them to rest during the day in between walking and exercising. Small dogs do tire easily and cannot keep up with the pace of an active family, so bear that in mind too. The stroller or carrier is also a perfect bed for the holiday accommodation as they will not provide any.

Walking, Camping or Cycling Holidays

cycling holidays with your dog
Some families just love being in the great outdoors. Whether it be caravans or camping there is a great opportunity to take along your family dog. Here you can go on country walks and take your dog with you. It’s always safe to keep your dog on a secure leash and only let them off if you are in a dog friendly area and away from any main roads. Look out for any livestock signs as the local farmers won’t appreciate your dog worrying their sheep.
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 your are into family cycling holidays you can now but dog trailers that fix onto your cycle so that your dog can ride along too. They are strong, sturdy, weatherproof and safe for your dog. They are fitted with a strong floor base and your dog gets attached to a secure leash attachment inside, which means you can even pull down the window mesh flaps and they won’t leap out. The design of these trailers are second to none, they are even covered with reflective strips and warning flags to inform fellow road users that you have a pooch on board.
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

dog friendly cottages
One of the best things about staying in a dog friendly cottage is that you can take your family dog with you on holiday. You will find that dog friendly cottages are advertised well as they are now becoming a growing niche. Just type in dog friendly cottages in any search engine and you should be inundated with suggestions. Holiday cottages tend to be in rather rural settings, with plenty of space to walk your dog. Some are allocated near beaches or woods which is perfect holiday setting for you, your family and your dog.
It’s always courteous to remove any dog hair and clean up any mess before leaving your rental accommodation.
Most rentals will allow your dog to come along for free but some properties may charge an extra small fee for your dog which is included in the weekly rental. This small fee can cover any cleaning costs or minor damage that a dog may cause, but it is up to to the dog owner to be responsible for the dog throughout the whole stay. Check out Dog Friendly Britain Website or Dog Friendly for some dog friendly cottage suggestions.
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

holidays with your dog
There are some stunning beaches along the UK coastline. Unfortunately in the height of summer some of the best family beaches do not allow dogs. But there are some great beaches that are dog friendly all year round. Many of the National Trust beaches are dog friendly all year round, in addition to many others. Check out a list of Dog Friendly Beaches within the UK.
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.
When visiting a dog friendly beach always be responsible for your dog. Pick up any dog mess and make sure they behave themselves and stay close by. Your dog should also have some protection from the sun. If you have a small to medium dog then a dog stroller is a perfect solution for keeping them out of the hot sun. Strollers are fitted with weatherproof canopies and are fitted with mesh windows which will keep the dog cool with lots of air flow and also keep pesky buzzy insects out.
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.
always take a dog life jacket on holiday
If your dog likes to play in the sea with the children always make sure that the dog is wearing a dog life jacket. Yes! We are being serious here! One of the biggest misconceptions is that people think that all dogs are great swimmers. They are not. Small and medium dogs may look like good swimmers when they start paddling but they do tire easily. Small to medium dogs who have shorter legs can also struggle in the water. See our article on life jackets for further advice on dog life preservers. Life jackets should always be used if you happen to book a canal or boating holiday with your dog.
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.

Travelling Abroad

Five steps on how to get an EU Pet Passport for your Dog
If you meet the rules of the UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), you can take your pet dog abroad and return to the UK without the need for quarantine. But before you travel you will need to take your dog to the vet. There they will need to microchip your dog (if it hasn’t been done already), give them the appropriate vaccinations against things like rabies and if you are travelling within the EU you will be issued with a pet passport or a third country official veterinary certificate if travelling further afield. More details can be found on the DEFRA Pet Passport page. Your dog must also be fit enough to travel and your vet will assess your pet and then let you know their findings.
Speak to your vet or contact the Pet Travel Scheme if you plan on taking your dog on holiday with you.
The vaccination for rabies must be done at least 21 days before you travel. Your vet must also treat your dog for tapeworm not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before its scheduled time of exit or entry into the UK if coming from another country. Some countries may have different rules and regulations regarding taking pets abroad. Speak to your vet if you are planning to take your pet abroad on holiday. You can also contact AHVLA’s International Trade Centre for Exports for details of the licensing requirements of the country or territory you are going to. You can also contact the Pet Travel Scheme for further details.
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

driving on holiday with your dog
Like some humans, dogs can suffer from travel sickness, especially if they are new to car travel. If you plan on doing a lot of car travel with your dog, get them used to travelling in a car, bit by bit. Start by doing short quick trips and then extending the journey. That way they should become more accustomed to the car and be less ill or even less excitable. For some dogs car sickness is related to stress rather than the motion of the vehicle. When acclimatising your dog to car travel always end the journey on a high with a play session or a long walk.
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 you plan on driving to your holiday destination there some great dog carriers designed for the car. All carriers must be designed so that a seat belt can keep them in place. These carriers can be attached to a stroller giving you the perfect multifunctional dog transportation system. There are some great 3 in 1 strollers on the market which can be used as a stroller, a car seat carrier and be the dogs sleeping quarters if you are away from home.
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

Dog stroller on the subway
Dogs can get quite stressed out when travelling on a bus or train. It will be an unfamiliar environment because they will be surrounded by strangers, noises, smells and the motion of the train or bus won’t help things either. It may be wise to take them on smaller quick train or bus trips before you plan a long holiday journey.
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

travelling with your dog by ferry
As with the bus and train companies you will need to check with the ferry company what their pet policy is. Some ferry companies will not allow pets in the passenger areas (with the exception of guide dogs). Your pet may have to placed in a carrier and placed within your car. Passengers may not be able to check up on their cars or pets throughout the trip, so check all this out carefully before you travel.
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.
Your dog must be within a secure sturdy dog carrier. These carriers must have enough room for your pet to stand, sit, and turn around in. If they are too big for a carrier, they must have enough room within the car to move around in. Leave them with a dog blanket or even an item of your clothing, to put them at ease. A few toys are a good idea as this may keep them occupied. They should have a good amount of drinking water at hand and this should be placed in a non-spill water bowl.
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

flying with your dog
The journey which includes the travelling to the airport, the check in, the flight itself and then the on going journey can be very stressful and distressing to your dog. Dogs will not be allowed to travel in the cabin of the aircraft with their owners but placed in the hold.
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.
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