Want to take your dog on holiday? Here’s everything you should consider
In the UK, over half of travellers (53%) take holidays with their pets, which means millions of our animal companions are getting away for a break every year. In fact, over two-thirds of Brits (67%) plan their entire holiday around their dogs suggesting our furry friends have a huge say in what we get up to when we go away.
For those considering taking their dog on holiday for the first time, Francesca Houldsworth, Head of Marketing at Verdant Leisure has teamed up with dog behaviourist, Rachael Claire, to reveal five essential tips for making sure they have as much fun as you.
Before you get started on searching for your holiday, Rachael advises that you must be prepared.
“Preparation is always the key to success when it comes to anything to do with dogs. Make sure that you are fully equipped before travelling anywhere and have some solid training foundations to make the trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible.”
Once these are in place, you can begin exploring your holiday options:
Find accommodation perfect for a pooch
Francesca said: “The first thing you want to do before booking any holiday with your pet is find accommodation that will be ideal for the both of you. It’s as much a holiday for them as it is for you, so not only should the accommodation be welcoming, but it should cater to their needs. Consider things such as the sleeping arrangements, easy access to food and health essentials, immediate outdoor space as well as toys and activities to keep them entertained.”
Choose a location with ample walking opportunities
Francesca said: “Holidaying in Britain means you have access to mountains, forests and beaches all in relatively close proximity to one another. There’s something to suit all walking types and abilities giving you and your dog a wide variety of options for an active day out.”
Rachael commented: “Take plenty of things for them to do with you so that you can enjoy some chill time to yourself. Enrichment feeding toys can by covered in their favourite food during mealtimes so that you can eat in peace. Stakes are also essential so that you can be sure that your dog can’t run off. Ensure that you attach a secure long line to a harness and never a collar to prevent choking.”
Find pet-friendly businesses in the area
Francesca said: “Many local businesses in the UK are now much more accommodating to pets such as dogs so you might get lucky just stumbling into somewhere. However, it’s best to be prepared with prior research so you know what options you have.”
“If you plan on taking your dog with you to public places such as the pub, spend some time teaching your dog to stay on a mat led down for increased durations,” adds Rachael.
“You can give them a chew or a Kong while they are on their mat to encourage longer periods of relaxing. Eventually as soon as the mat comes out your dog’s go to reaction will be to go and lie on it. This means you can then roll your mat up and take it to the beach, pub or wherever you would like your dog to relax. Remember to regularly give them a treat for being on the mat, otherwise they will just get up.”
Consider travel time
Francesca said: “When picking your dog-friendly holiday location, take into consideration the time it will take to get there. Dogs can get restless when in confined spaces for too long, such as a car”
“Some light research will show that you don’t need to drive for hours to find somewhere fit for a holiday. Look at areas closer to home and allow yourself to be surprised at what might be on your doorstep. The closer the holiday location, the less time you and your dog have to spend travelling, meaning you can start enjoying your break much sooner and help alleviate the stress of a long journey.”
Rachael added: “Crate training your dog can be beneficial to give them a safe space when travelling. Start your training in your house by adding lots of treats into the car crate, allowing your dog to explore at their own pace. Then once they are reliably running into it you can move it to the car. Initially, don’t go for a drive and just spend a few sessions getting your dog used to being in the crate in a stationary vehicle.”
This is a guest post by VerdantLeisure