With the current uncertainty surrounding foreign travel, many people are opting for holidays nearer to home this year. The great thing about staying in the UK is that your dog need not miss out on the fun!Research has shown that 85% of dog owners would rather opt for a dog-friendly holiday than leave their pet behind, and holiday companies are now wise to this. Whether you are looking for campsites, cottages or luxury hotels, you’re sure to be able to find something dog-friendly to suit your taste and budget.
Preparation is key when considering taking your dog on holiday and it’s not for everyone. If your dog is elderly, has health issues, or gets easily anxious in new surroundings, he may be happier at home with a dog sitter.
It couldn’t be easier to find holiday accommodation that welcomes dogs. Most holiday booking websites now allow you to search specifically for dog-friendly places. The animal charity Dogs Trust even has its own website in collaboration with Hoseasons and Cottages.com that only lists cottages, lodges and boats that accept pets free of charge. You can find it at dogstrustholidays.co.uk
The term ‘dog-friendly’ does not mean the same thing to everyone, so check any restrictions or conditions with the holiday provider before you make a booking. Hotels will often allow dogs in the bar area but not the dining room and sometimes cottages will not permit dogs in the bedrooms or on furniture. Make sure you’re clear on the rules and happy to abide by them before you book.
Planning for success
Once you’ve chosen your location and found your accommodation, the next step is to prepare for your holiday. It’s a good idea to scope out the local amenities in advance to see which cafes, restaurants, beaches and tourist attractions welcome dogs. The tourist information office or your accommodation provider can help, as well as the UK’s dog-friendly directory at thegooddogguide.com
Here are some other things to consider in advance:
- If your dog goes missing while you’re away and his tag has your landline telephone number listed on it, you won’t be at home to take any calls. You could have a temporary tag made up to use while you’re away with your mobile phone number on it, or the landline of the place you are staying, so that if your dog is found, you can be reunited quickly.
- Research vets in the area where you are going to be staying and keep a note of the telephone number in case of emergencies.
- Dogs like routine so try to stick to their normal meal times as much as possible. Also, ensure you have enough of their usual food ready to take with you. A sudden change in diet can cause an upset stomach.
- To help your dog settle in unfamiliar surroundings, take as much of his own stuff as possible, such as blankets, bowls and toys.
- Dirty dogs make unwelcome house guests, so make sure you take an old towel with you to clean your dog if he gets muddy or wet while out, and make sure you have plenty of poo bags with you too.
- The Highway Code dictates that dogs are suitably restrained in vehicles so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure themselves – or anyone else – if you must break suddenly. The best way to do this is with a special dog crate in the boot, but if they must sit on a car seat they should wear a dog car harness which clips into the existing seatbelt buckles.
- Plan your journey and factor in plenty of rest stops so your dog can stretch his legs, go to the toilet, and have a drink.
- Keep an eye on the temperature in the car, especially if your dog is in the boot, as it can get hot in the back without you noticing.
- Some dogs can get travel sick, especially if they are unused to long journeys. Build up the time they spend in the car gradually before your trip and don’t feed them within two hours of your departure time. If your dog is particularly bad, your vet can advise on remedies that will help.
- Dogs are usually welcome on buses and trains, but check the transport company’s pet policy before booking.
As social animals, dogs enjoying spending time with their families and a shared holiday can be a wonderful bonding experience, as well as an opportunity for dogs to discover brand new smells. Once you’ve enjoyed a dog-friendly holiday, you’re unlikely to ever want to leave your pet behind again!
Check out our travel essentials collection, whether you're heading out for a day trip or going on a staycation, make sure you have everything you need for travelling with your furry friend this summer.