With the worst of the winter weather hopefully behind us, it won't be long before the warmer days are turning our minds to summer barbecues, day trips and yes, ‘holidays’.
For dogs, their holiday often means a stay at the local boarding kennels or perhaps a spell with a family member, but increasingly taking our dogs with us has become a much more viable option. Even going abroad is not the hassle it used to be, especially with the introduction of the Pet Passport. But rather than having to factor in the cost of boarding kennels to your holiday budget, why not simply add them to the guest list?
Many family resorts, cottages, campsites and even hotels have warmed to idea of dog owners bringing their pooches on holiday and more resort owners are actively promoting themselves as being ‘dog friendly’. Many of us quite rightly see our dogs as an important family member, so why shouldn't we include them in a nice break away from the usual routine.
To make the best of taking your dog on holiday, however, it is important to do a little planning and research. Here are just a few ideas to help you achieve the best possible holiday experience:
Arrange a Medical Check-up
Just as a dog kennel would insist that your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, you should be just as stringent when taking your dog away. They are more likely to come into contact with other dogs and animals where infections could be present. A routine health check just before your holiday is a good idea and will give you peace of mind. All dogs should now be Micro-chipped and this will help identify your dog should they get lost amidst all the fun and excitement.
You may already have pet insurance, but now is the time to check the small print and make sure that your dog will be covered for any vets fees while away on holiday. Most of us, including our dogs, will probably be more active whilst on holiday; especially if camping or at a farm resort. If the holiday is in the countryside, your dog may not be familiar with hazards such as barbed wire fencing or hidden burrows. Always find out where the nearest emergency vet is located, just in case. It’s also worth noting that, Just like our own holiday insurance, pet policies sometimes provide cover if the holiday is unexpectedly cancelled.
Prepare Your Dog
If you’re not in the habit of taking your dog on day trips, then now is the perfect opportunity to give them a taster of the holiday to come. Get them used to extended trips in the car, ideally in a purpose made crate. Make them feel relaxed by including their favourite toy and their usual blanket. If you go on a hot day, take lots of water with you and allow for plenty of fresh air breaks. Don’t forget that dogs overheat much quicker than us; keeping them comfortable means they are more likely to want to travel with you again.
You want your dog to behave well, especially when visiting those pubs and restaurants that allow dogs, so why not seek out the dog friendly venues and pubs in your local area? Some will even provide a welcome bowl of water. If this important training involves extra trips to the pub on nice days, then that is just a sacrifice you may have to make… visit local websites or social media to point you in the right direction of dog friendly establishments.
The Best Holiday Locations
Choosing the best holiday destination can be a fun family activity in itself. Cottages and campsites are an ideal choice for dog centred holidays, and there are some fabulous locations to choose from in the UK. The East coast of England has some great resorts where cottages openly advertise that dogs are welcome. There’s nothing more magical than watching a dog bursting with the joy of life when playing on a beach for the very first time.
Don’t forget your dog will need all the things on holiday that they have at home: including leads, medication, food and biscuits, plus their own blankets and bedding. These familiar items will make them feel relaxed and at ease much more quickly. Oh, and don’t forget to take plenty of poo bags!
So, if you’ve never taken your dog on holiday with you before, why not make this the year to give it a go and experience the ‘complete’ family holiday…