Everything you need to know to have a stress free holiday with your dog........
Booking your dog friendly holiday
It might seem obvious - but don’t forget to tell the proprietor when you call (or email) to book your stay that you will be taking your dog/s with you.
Ask about what is provided for dogs. Some hotels and cottages provide dog beds, bowls and treat packages. Providing all are suitable for your pet, it could make packing a bit easier.
It’s not unusual for there to be rules and regulations so do ask about these and how they might affect your stay at the time of booking.
For example, will you be allowed to leave your dog unattended? If not, you will need to find dog friendly pubs and cafes locally if you wish to eat out. A good dog friendly premises will have a list of local dog friendly amenities to hand to share with you.
Does the property have a safe and secure garden that your family and your dog can enjoy?
Is there access to off road walks nearby? This is good to know as you may not always want to get into the car each day to find somewhere to exercise your dog.
Ask about the cleaning regime at the accommodation – check that the property is regularly treated for fleas. If it is not (or they seem a bit vague about this) take a suitable flea product along with you to spray carpets and soft furnishings.
Will there be other dogs staying in the complex that your pet may come into contact with? This may or may not be an issue, but worth asking as it could have an impact on your stay.
Be aware that if you allow your dog to run riot inside or around the property, you will be expected to pay for any damage.
Preparing for your holiday
Your dog is no doubt well trained and beautifully behaved, and it is vital that this is how he is when you’re away in an unfamiliar place. Obedience and recall skills will help make your adventures all the more enjoyable and keep your dog safe and out of trouble. Spend a bit of time in the run up to your holiday brushing up on your training.
Check your dog’s microchip registration details are up-to-date. If your dog isn’t microchipped, now is the time to do it! It’ll help ensure he is returned to you if he becomes lost – and it’s a legal requirement from April 2016!
The id disc on your dog’s collar or harness should carry your mobile phone number and surname. Make sure the number is current, and of course, still legible!
Your holiday routine shouldn’t be too different from your home routine, but new surroundings could be exciting and challenging for your dog, so think ahead about how he might react and how you could cope with this.
If your dog will be sharing your room or if the accommodation is open plan, how is your dog likely to react? It could be that you’ll have to use a crate if you don’t want him taking over the bed or are concerned about what he may get up to while you’re asleep!
Ensure that your dog is comfortable with travelling in the car and that he will be safely secured throughout the journey — for his safety and for yours.
Arrange breakdown cover for your vehicle — ensuring that the provider is dog friendly, of course!
Fit your vehicle with car seat covers if you want to keep them hair-free!
Make a list of what you need to take with you.
What to pack
A good supply of poo bags! Keep them with you wherever you go and use them even on country footpaths and especially beaches.
Your dog’s lead — your dog should be kept under control at all times
Food and water bowls
A travel food/water bowl — useful for your journey to and from your dog friendly holiday accommodation as well as for days out.
Food, treats and chews. Tip: weigh out your dog’s food so you know you have exactly what your pet needs for the entire break. You could bag up each meal individually.
A travel crate — useful in your vehicle, but also in your holiday accommodation
Your dog’s bed — his favourite (and ideally most portable and comfortable bed)
A blanket – to throw over a chair or sofa if your dog is used to sleeping on furniture at home
A supply of your pet’s ongoing medication, if appropriate
Dog toys — puzzle feeders for use in the accommodation and balls and other throwing toys to take out
A towel to wipe your dog (and his paws) down if he gets wet and/or muddy
Grooming brush and/or grooming wipes
Travel sickness remedy - if your dog doesn't travel well try and identify if the cause is anxiety or motion related. There are a number of products on the market that can help with both
An Adaptil (DAP) product (collar or diffuser) to help your dog to stay calm while you’re travelling and to relax and settle in your holiday accommodation
Puppy training pads… just in case!
Baby wipes, disposable kitchen towel and carpet spot cleaners
An air freshener spray
A small rucksack in which to carry your dog’s portable water bowl, treats, poo bags, a spare lead, etc, if you are intending on going on long walks on your holiday
A good torch (with new batteries) for nighttime walkies.
Local OS map/s — even if you follow walking routes in a guide book, it’s a good idea to have a good map to save you getting lost!
A bottle of tap water for your journey – you could also use this to take out on long walks.
For the journey
Make sure your dog is happy with the travel arrangements before you set off on your holiday. Ensure he is accustomed to his place in the vehicle, be it on a harness, in a crate or behind a dog guard.
Check the route on a road map and plan to take breaks where you know you will be able to give your dog a chance to stretch his legs, take in fresh air, have a drink and a toilet break. Motorway service stations are usually reasonably dog friendly.
Although you’re probably eager to get into your holiday cottage or hotel room on arrival, it’s a good idea, if possible, to unpack and prepare a little before you take your dog inside. If you, or a member of your family, could take the dog out for a walk and a quick look around the area, he’ll get some exercise and a chance to run off any excess energy and will be more likely to be calmer when he comes inside. Meanwhile, unpacking, positioning the dog’s bed, bowls, blankets etc, then plugging in a calming dog pheromone diffuser, will help your dog to settle quicker once he comes inside.