Top Tips for Holidays with Dogs

Going away without your beloved pooch can be difficult for the both of you. Your dog will naturally miss you while you’re away while it’s natural for you to worry how they’re getting on in your absence. No wonder that holidays with dogs are becoming ever more popular. And thanks to the popularity of taking your pets away with you it’s now easier than ever before.

Read on to discover our top tips for taking holidays with dogs…

Before You Travel

If you want to take your dog on holiday with you it is easier to design an itinerary with this specific goal rather than selecting your holiday first and then trying to fit your dog into the plan.

For obvious reasons taking your dog on holiday within your home country is often a lot easier than travelling abroad. You need not worry about all the paperwork required when taking pets overseas and are closer to home should anything go wrong.

Equally, international travel certainly isn’t beyond the bounds of reason. For pet owners in Europe, for example, travel from one European country to another is reasonably achievable thanks to the Pet Passport Scheme.

Equally, travelling further afield can start to present rather more problems. Each country outside the EU has its own set of requirements that you will need to adhere to. Not only can these take months to arrange but the process of arranging transport for your dog can also be more problematic. In many cases travel further afield is likely to only be practical if you heading away for longer periods of time – and have suitable notice to arrange for all the practicalities.

If in any doubt check with a pet shipping company who can advise you on the requirements of a specific country or the time required to organize all the paperwork.

Finding Dog-Friendly Accommodation

Of course not all hotels and resorts accept dogs. Fortunately there is no longer any need to spend weeks ringing or emailing different hotels in your chosen destination; instead there are a number of fantastic websites that list pet-friendly accommodation where your dog will be welcomed.

Some good sources of information include:

Let your chosen hotel know that you will be bringing along your pooch as some hotels may charge a “doggie supplement” to cover any additional cleaning required when you leave.

Transporting Your Pet

Transporting your pet safely is essential if you are both to enjoy your time away. If you are travelling domestically then this is less likely to be a problem but overseas dog travel can require considerably more preparation.

Travelling Domestically

The first question to ask when taking your dog on holiday is how well your pooch travels by car.

Is your dog perfectly comfortable being cooped up in your boot or a dog crate for extended periods of time? If not consider getting your dog progressively used to longer car journeys in the weeks leading up to your trip.

When travelling remember to take regular breaks along the way. Doing so will allow your dog an opportunity to stretch its legs, visit the toilet and have a drink. In such situations be very careful if you are stopping in a public car park or near a road as the last thing you want is your pet getting hit by another car.

It is generally best practise no matter how calm your dog might be to attach a lead in such situations before opening up the car; in this way you can still maintain control if they happen to get spooked by anything.

Additionally when taking your dog on holiday it is always advisable to ensure that your pet can be easily identified if lost. Putting your contact details on your dog’s collar will help but it is also a smart idea to microchip your pet. Doing so will ensure that vets and animal charities will easily be able to return your pet to you if the worst happens.

Travelling Within Europe

If you’re travelling within Europe then the same procedures will still apply; however in this case you will also need to consider the Pet Passport Scheme. Speak to your vet or a specialist animal travel agent in order to arrange this essential document.

Also consider how your pet will be transported across the ocean. There are a number of options you might want to consider…

For shorter journeys many ferry companies allow suitably controlled pets on board. For further information take a look at the following advisory pages:

Alternatively for longer distances it should be possible to fly with your pet, though this can require more fore-planning. More advice on flying with pets can be found here; alternatively contact a pet travel specialist who will be able to book the flight and arrange all the necessary paperwork on your behalf.

Travelling Internationally

Taking your pet outside of Europe typically requires considerably more forward planning and effort, though is by no means impossible.

We have produced extensive guides to a number of popular expat and tourist destinations which you can read below:

In general we would advise the use of a pet travel company who will know all the ins-and-outs of the location you are interested in, and will be able to arrange the whole process on your behalf. Doing so saves you time and effort – as well as ensuring you have everything necessary to enjoy your holiday with your dog.

The Doggie Travel Bag

However you travel and no matter where you go it can be a smart idea to put together a doggie travel bag. Doing so can make the journey much more pleasant for your dog and ensure that you have all the supplies necessary in one neat package. Should you need anything you therefore won’t need to dig through all your luggage looking for that one thing that “I know is here somewhere”.

Here are some ideas for what you might want to consider placing into your doggie travel bag:

  • Your dog’s favourite toy
  • Photo of your dog – incase he or she gets lost
  • Medications – any pharmaceuticals your vet has prescribed
  • Medical history – useful if you need to see a vet while away
  • Bottle of water and travel water bowl
  • Snacks or treats for your dog

Taking Care of Your Dog While on Holiday

So you’ve made it to your destination? Fantastic – the hard work is over. However before you “cut loose” and relax it’s worth considering the holiday from your dog’s perspective.

Typically dogs are creatures of habit so establishing some habits in your temporary accommodation can be beneficial. Try to create an area especially for your dog where they can go to sleep, relax or play.

Also be aware of warm weather; your dog should be able to get out of the sun at all times if they get too hot and fresh water should be available at all times.