Happy Howl-idays: Top Tips For Taking Your Hound On Holiday
Having grappled with a year of stringent lockdown and travel restrictions, it’s time to ditch those pyjamas and spread your wings - but not without your faithful furry friend following closely behind! Instead of worrying about puppy passports, flights, and booking health tests for vacations abroad, we show you how you can plan a safe and exciting UK staycation that both you and your hound will adore. Paw-some!
From snapping up a secure dog seat belt to planning a plethora of dog-friendly walks and stocking up on a wide variety of tasty dog treats, our selection of top tips is designed to take the hassle out of holidaying with your canine. Regardless of whether your heart’s set on visiting the stunning scenery of the Lake District or giving your playful pup their very first glimpse of the sea, we make taking your pooch to new places a breeze.
Travel stylishly - and safely!
Dreaming of a care-free ride to the beach with your four-legged best friend? Strap in and secure your pup to ensure safe staycations and fuss-free travel every time. More than creating a comfy space for your pooch to relax on car journeys, dog seat belts and travel crates are actually essential to keeping your hound in one place. Indeed, these car travel necessities are required by law to prevent your pet from distracting you while you drive or putting themselves in danger - especially if you need to come to a quick stop.
We recommend opting for either a dog car crate or a dog carrier and seat belt to stop them from sliding all over the place. While dog crates are best for cars and trucks with a large boot and often suit people that own large dog breeds, the dog bed/carrier and seat belt combination is best for smaller breeds and cars that have limited boot space. Simply add a blanket and a few toys to the crate to make it more comfortable for your pooch, and you’ll be ready to hit the road in no time.
When on the road, just like you, your hound will also need to stop off for several toilet breaks, so it’s vital that their dog lead is on hand to keep them safe and close to your side. Service stations and rest areas are often packed with people, pets, and kids all heading on holiday (especially during the summer months!) which can make these areas more restless than relaxing for your pooch. A dog lead is therefore recommended to prevent even the most well-trained pups from becoming over-excited or wandering off.
Don’t forget their home comforts
Travelling to any new place, while often exciting, can also be anxiety-inducing for our pets. With new people, smells, sounds, and sights to contend with, it’s important that you make these trips as relaxing as possible by taking a selection of their favourite dog treats, toys, and comfies with you. From the treasured teddy bear to their beloved dog bed, these small creature comforts can make all the difference when it comes to helping your pooch settle into new surroundings.
Want to travel light and don’t have enough room for an additional dog bed? No worries! Simply bring the entire crate (and all its snuggly contents!) into your staycation spot, and use that as a cosy sleeping space for your worn out pooch. They’ll likely be drawn to the familiar smell of their bed, blankets, and toys housed inside, which will provide a comforting, homely environment amongst the strange, new surroundings. To make the experience as enjoyable as possible for you both, we recommend leaving the crate door open at night so that they can enter and leave at their leisure.
A dog travel bag also comes in handy as it provides a dedicated piece of luggage that you can keep conveniently nearby to deal with any pet-related problems. A staycation essential for pet owners, you can store all of your pam-pawed pup’s accessories, treats, poo bags, and medicine inside, keeping everything in order and readily available at your fingertips.
Keep your hound happy and healthy
Before you can even think about booking a dog-friendly hotel in the Cotswolds, you’ll need to make sure your furry friend is fit for travel. Senior dogs in particular may require a check up at their vets to give them the go ahead, but there are a few things you can do to make holidaying with any hound easy. First and foremost, make sure your pooch is up to date with their vaccinations as well as their flea and tick treatments that are typically applied monthly or administered using a dog flea collar.
Ticks especially are commonly found in wooded, grassy, and coastal areas (all of which are popular UK staycation environments for pet owners!), so it’s vital that you pack a tick removal tool to safely extract any pesky parasites that have latched onto your best mate. Simply slide the tool underneath the tick and gently twist (without pulling) until it pops off intact.
Taking your dog to a whole new part of the country can be confusing for your pooch who’s used to visiting your local park every day - even dogs that are routinely allowed off the lead can sometimes get lost while on holiday! As such, we suggest that, at least initially, you introduce your four-legged friend to their new and exciting environment on a lead. Want to give them the feeling of freedom without the risks? Check out our Flexi brand page. Renowned and reliable, they offer a vast array of retractable leads that are perfect for safe exploration.
To cover all bases and keep your pooch safe in the worrying event that they do get lost, it’s a good idea to double-check your contact details before heading off on holiday. Both dog ID tags and microchips are a legal requirement for your hound, and while microchip details are often effortless to update online, you’ll need to correct the contact details engraved into their tag if they’re illegible or out of date. You don’t need to include your pooch’s name (although this is a popular choice), but you are legally required to include both your name and current address to ensure the safe and speedy return of your pet.
Don’t muck up their meal times!
What's the best way to get your puppy's attention? With food, of course! Dogs are creatures of habit, so ensuring you stick to their set meal times from home will help them to remain calm while they acclimatise to their new (temporary) pad. It’ll also give them a sense of routine that will have been altered due to travelling and having their best friend (you!) around more during the day.
If you’re heading somewhere rural, then make sure you take plenty of their favourite grub with you or scan the surrounding area online for shops that sell a range of delicious dog food. This is especially important if your pooch has particular food requirements, allergies, or preferences. Not to mention, to prevent accidental spills and rotten food, it’s best to pack either dry or canned dog food if you plan on making your staycation last a while.
Just like travelling with kids, you’ll need to make sure you keep your dog’s tummy topped up while en route to your holiday destination. Instead of bringing along hefty ceramic bowls, we recommend using foldable alternatives. Compact and lightweight, they’re the perfect travel companion for meals on the go. Once you’ve snapped up a convenient travel dog bowl, you should also fill up several water bottles to ensure your pooch is hydrated on the journey.
It’s all in the preparation and planning
Regardless of whether you’re a natural explorer that loves discovering new areas or you use Google Maps almost every day, planning your staycation route, stops, and activities is a sure-fire way to impress your pooch. Like many dog-lovers, you’ll probably want your furry friend to join you on your adventures, so it’s important to make sure there’s a wide variety of dog-friendly activities that you can take advantage of in the vicinity of your holiday location. By planning daily entertainment for both you and your pooch, you can make the most of your staycation and distract your hound from feeling unsettled in a new area.
Taking the time to check out and book dog-friendly beaches, restaurants, and parks is the best way to make your holiday go without a hitch and to fill your time with things both you and your dog will enjoy. If they typically become bored or overwhelmed, make sure you take some of the favourite toys to keep them happy throughout the day. Alternatively, why not consider a bike trailer? Easily tired-out pooches and young pups can still join you for a considerable bike ride - just with minimal effort on their part!
Another important aspect of planning a successful staycation with your pooch is your choice of route as your pup will also need a toilet trip or two - depending on how far you’re travelling! Many service stations will typically have a grassy area where dogs can stretch their legs, go to the toilet, and even enjoy a snack or a tussle with a toy before getting back on the road again, so it’s good practice to highlight suitable stops along the way and to plan your route accordingly.
Ready to get on the road?
While it’s important to make sure you remember all your pooch’s essential travel items, you should also be cautious when it comes to over-packing. After all, if you begin to pack non-essentials (like their cologne and grooming clippers), their luggage will quickly outweigh yours - especially if you’re only going away for a long weekend. So, stick to the necessities and you’ll make planning a staycation the relaxing and fuss-free affair it should be!
If you need a helping hand finding some delicious dog treats that can tempt your bundle of energy to behave, check out our flavoursome dog treat buying guide. Packed with an array of moreish morsels, you’re sure to find something to delight even the fussiest of pups! Oh, and while we’re on the subject of treating your pam-pawed pets, why not plan a full day of animal antics, activities, and amusements? From doggy and moggy massages to thrilling toys, there’s a whole host of ways you can show your precious pet just how much you love them!
So, why not gather some inspo, snap up a few products that they won’t be able to keep their paws off, and delight your furry best friend with a staycation that neither of you will ever forget?