For dog-owners it can be difficult thinking about leaving them behind when you go on holiday. Even though there are plenty of good kennels and dog-hotels, it is a great feeling to have your best friend on your side. Nowadays, there are plenty of options for holidays with your four-legged companion. But what are things you need to keep in mind when booking a trip with your dog?
First things first, think about your means of transportation. You can fly with dogs, but this is usually a long process and can be scary for your dog. Although small dogs can be taken as ‘carry on’ and kept close to you, larger dogs will need to in the hold. We recommend you only do this if you are sure your dog is relaxed enough. Taking a train might be a more comfortable way to travel with your pooch, and if your dog is used to your car, a road trip might be the best option.
Before taking off, make sure all your dog’s documents are in place. Just like you need a passport, your dog needs one too. Additionally, dogs need health checks and sometimes they need vaccinations too. Micro-chipping is custom nowadays, but especially on travel this is important and usually mandatory! Tip: research vets around the area you are spending your holiday and save these details somewhere handy. Also have some vet addresses ready on the route you are travelling.
Do you have the right insurance for your dog? Whether you have continual insurance or not, it might be worth having a look into this when you take your dog on holiday. Although most insurance policies cover pet travel, read the small print or contact them to confirm.
As travelling with pets is becoming increasingly popular, dog friendly hotels are to be found everywhere. On Booking.com you can search for pet-friendly hotels, which makes it very easy to find a place to stay. Of course it is dependent on your dog and what you find important, but hotels with a large (dog-friendly) garden are always a plus. Some hotels offer dog-sitting services, which is great if you want to do some sightseeing in places where dogs are not welcome. Although your dog might look like he feels at home in the hotel room, leaving him alone for a long period of time might not be a good idea.
All the basics in order? Now it is time to think about the rest. Before you set off, make sure to take your dog on a long walk or play before jumping in your car, on the train, plane or however you are travelling. This will tire your dog out and keep it relaxed (hopefully asleep!) on your travel. It makes for an easy journey for yourself, but also keeps your dog stress-free.
Do you think you have packed everything you need for you and your dog? Everyone is likely to forget at least one or two things. Here is a list to help you remember all you need for your best friend:
- Dog carrier: start practicing with this at least a week or two before you take off to ensure your dog is comfortable in this.
- Pads for the carrier: to ensure it doesn’t ruin the lining when an accident happens
- Squeegee: really? Yes – this easily removes dog hairs from carpets and is very handy for your hotel room
- Dog car seat: to keep your dog safe when in the car, this is often overlooked and is dangerous
- Chicken broth: this is a great replenishment for vitamins and minerals when your dog feels sick. As we are sure you know already, you can buy these in handy, mess-free cubes and add hot water when it is needed.
- Bowls for food and water, and of course, food and water. There are handy foldable water containers that take up little space, as well as travel bowls. Make sure you have enough food to last, as having to suddenly switch foods on holiday is not ideal for your pooch
- Treats: just like you have your chocolate or other naughty snack, your dog friend deserves them too.
- Toys: to keep your dog busy when you are having dinner, lounging, getting dressed or anything you do at home
- Blanket, or dog bed: take one that your dog uses at home, preferably an older one, as this has a recognisable scent which makes your dog feel comfortable.
- Dog poo bags: for those car stops where your dog will need to relieve himself, and throughout the holiday. It is common curtsy to clean up after your dog in all places, so please stick to this.
- First aid kit: this is essential for all holiday-makers, as well as your dog. Tweezers will come in handy to pull out any ticks your dog may get, and remember any medicine he may need for allergies like wasp or bee-stings.
- Collar and lead: although this is unlikely to be forgotten, it is worth mentioning. Think about taking an extra pair in case one gets lost.
- Dog coat: especially for the colder destinations it is important to keep your furry friend warm. Aside from keeping them comfortable, if you have a small dog a coat will prevent him from getting overly dirty and muddy.
- Sunshade for car window: on long car trips to sunny destinations, cars will get warm. You might have the air conditioning on or a window open, a sunshade is essential to keep your dog out of the sun. Remember to look over every once in a while to check if your dog is comfortable in the car. A panting dog is a sign of being too warm or nervous.
- Old sheet: this will come in handy for any furniture in your accommodation. You might have chosen a dog-friendly hotel, that does not mean the furniture can get ruined. Lay out an old sheet on the sofa if your dog is allowed on there. As with the dog bed, an older sheet will have a comforting scent.
- Torch: handy for nightly walks and bathroom breaks.
- Brush: if your dog has been out in the rain, a brush will prevent mats forming. In general, it is important to keep a long-haired dog brushed – also on travel.
- Stain remover: for any accidents that may happen on your travel. This may save you some money on your hotel room deposit!