Here at Canine Cottages, we take care of everything you need for your holiday, helping you to find the perfect place to stay in the UK with your four-legged friend. But there are a number of things you need to remember to ensure your canine companion enjoys his stay just as much as you do. We’ve created a handy checklist so all bases are covered, and you can all enjoy having an absolute ball at one of our fantastic dog-friendly properties.
There may be a few items on this list that you hadn’t yet considered, so take a peek at our recommendations as a final check to ensure you are ready to go travelling together, safe in the knowledge that you and your furry friend have the freedom to go mutts and let all your potential worries and stresses disappear.
Before you read on, here's a travel tip from our 2018 Canine Critic, Poppy The Cockapoo (@cockapops):
Always research where you’re going beforehand - that way you can pack so much more in as you’re not trying to decide what to do once you’re there!
We've also included three of Poppy's travel essentials in our canine travel checklist below.
Why not take ten minutes to read through our canine checklist, compiled with both you and your pup in mind, and begin ticking off your doggy travel essentials so you can make some fantastic holiday memories?
1. Collar and name tag
A collar and name tag are essential in the event of your dog going missing while on your travels. Cheap and useful, they help your pet to be reunited with you easily should he go wandering when away. Before your holiday, get an extra name tag engraved which includes the address of your holiday accommodation as well as your mobile phone number – that way your beloved companion can be traced back to you even more quickly. If the collar is easy for your dog to escape from while out on a walk, it may also be worth considering a harness for added security. And don’t forget it is now a legal requirement for all dogs in England and Wales to be microchipped.
The Tractive GPS tracker – GPS trackers are becoming more and more popular among cautious dog owners. Tractive monitors activity patterns and, more importantly, you’ll know where your dog is at all times whilst you are away.
If you and your dog are always on the look out for the latest gadgets, take a look at our finds in must-have gadgets for your dog.
2. Lead (long and short)
While a long lead is great for letting your furry friend explore and roam through the wide, open spaces of the Peaks or the Norfolk Broads, make sure you also pack a shorter lead so your dog can be kept closer to you when necessary. Many dog-friendly attractions require that your pet is kept on a shorter lead in order to better keep them under control especially in areas where there are children or lots of other dogs.
TaoTronics Retractable Leash – if you haven’t invested in a retractable leash yet, then we highly recommend you give this one a try. It switches easily between long and short leads depending on the environment you are walking in with both a retractable and extendable leash.
Let your dog ‘lead’ the way on these scenic walks throughout the South West, these beautiful Scotland walks, or these delightful walks across the North of England. Or let your dog off the lead on a trip to one of these top country parks for canines.
One of the guidelines for bringing your canine companion with you into one of our holiday cottages is that their bed or basket must be brought along for them to sleep in. It also helps to give your dog a sense of familiarity and reminds them of home, which can often help them to settle down to a good night’s sleep even in a different place.
Best Friends by Sheri – this dog bed is a giant furry donut so your dog can curl up in the middle for a cosy night’s sleep. Just make sure they get used to using it before you travel so that it becomes a familiar, comforting place for your dog to rest while on holiday.
4. Dog food and food bowl
Though many of our dog-friendly cottages are within easy reach of a shop where you can stock up with supplies, they may not sell your dog’s favourite food. Make sure you take enough food for the entire stay, as well as a few treats of course! You’ll also need to bring the food bowl to serve the food in, as well as a plastic mat if they are a messy eater...
Lily’s Kitchen Dry Dogfood – there are a lot of great dog food brands out there, but we’ve chosen Lily’s Kitchen as top dog because it is hypoallergenic, uses only natural ingredients and is grain free. Dry dog food is an easy choice for travel as it’s less far messy. But a word of warning if you are a new dog owner - don’t change their doggy diet right before a long journey or your seat covers won’t thank you and neither will the person who has to clean them…
5. Bottled water and travelling water bowl
Travelling water bowls are ideal both for car journeys and for long walks, helping to keep your dog hydrated while they explore their exciting new surroundings. As they are collapsible, they are easy to store and use on the go. Make sure you also have some bottled water handy as they could get ill from drinking water out of puddles or streams.
⭐️ Poppy doesn't go anywhere without her collapsible water bowl:
'Essential when we’re on long walks and don’t know how long to go until the next stream/pub!'
IDEGG Collapsible Silicone Bowl – taking up hardly any space, this durable silicone bowl collapses easily, is brightly coloured so easy to find amongst all of the luggage and suitable for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
The coldest months of the year can be some of the best for a dog-friendly holiday, as many dog-friendly beaches, which do not allow dogs in the summer, become free to roam. If you’re planning your travels for this time of year, make sure you bring your dog’s jacket to keep them nice and warm whilst you’re out and about (especially if they have fine and short hair). It will also keep them lovely and dry should a sudden downpour of rain occur.
Ruffwear Powder Hound Winter Jacket – this is one of the warmest coats on the market and has performance fit so your dog still has a wide range of movement. It also comes with reflective trim for low-light visibility and a light loop for attaching a dog safety light, adding extra safety while you are out and about.
7. Dog treats
Whatever your canine companion loves to snack on, bring a pack of those tasty treats to make this trip even more special for the pup. Plus, they may come in handy if you’re out and about and you need to get the dog’s attention quickly.
⭐️ One of Poppy's favourite treats is a long-lasting chew:
'It's the perfect way to keep her occupied when we’re whiling away evenings in the pub.'
Beautiful Joe’s Ethical Dog Treats – all made from British, pasture-fed ox liver, these treats contain quality ingredients and the company has a good moral stance for every bag sold, it donates a pack to a dog in a need at an animal shelter. All dogs like different snacks but we bet most canines enjoy a tasty liver treat.
You can also try making your own dog treats with our homemade dog treat recipes.
8. Dog toy or tennis ball
You can’t take the dog on holiday and leave all their favourite toys behind. For those lazy evenings after walkies for the day are done, a chew toy will give your dog some entertainment while the rest of the family are chatting about the day and planning tomorrow’s adventure. A tennis ball is no doubt an essential item for dogs who love a game of fetch; imagine a game out on the Cornish beaches or during walkies in the Yorkshire Dales.
KONG Rubber Chew Toy - A long-time big player in the dog toy market, KONG’s rubber chew toy has been a bestseller since its introduction. Throw it in the garden and it will bounce all over the place, great for a game of fetch, or just let your dog chew on it while you all relax in the evenings.
Getting wet and muddy is one of a dog’s favourite things to do (often much to our dismay!) so make sure you pack plenty of old towels to wipe off those dirty paws before they return inside.
⭐️ Spare towels are a travel essential for Poppy and her owners:
'Poppy can be quite the mud monster and often needs a dry off before going into cottage/pub etc!'
SnuggleSafe Microfibre Pet Towel – super thin and lightweight, super absorbent, this dog towel is perfect for canines on their travels! They have a larger size for big dogs too.
10. Poo bags
There’s no avoiding it: at some point during your holiday you’re going to have some dog mess to clean up. Any fouling on the grounds of our holiday cottages must be cleaned up without delay, so pack plenty of poo bags to make sure nothing is missed; fragranced nappy sacks work well. Dog mess should also be cleaned up while you’re out and about so that our beautiful outdoor spaces remain just as pleasant for everyone else to visit as it was for you. Always take your bags away with you and dispose of them properly.
Scot-Petshop Dog Poop Bags – they are thick, strong and hide the sight and smell of its contents making the whole process much more manageable. They are easy to tie up and are biodegradable, breaking down in as little as 18 months.
Want to know more about your dog’s health? Find out what secrets you can uncover with help from our blog post on the secret language of dog poop.
Unfortunately, your dog can’t take a break from taking the medicines they have been prescribed, so make sure they are one of the first things you tick off your checklist. Ticks may also be a problem in certain areas, so pack some tick-removing products just in case for your dog to remain happy and healthy.
It may be a good idea to take your dog for a check-up before any long journeys. Take him or her to the local vet before you go away and then take a look on this RCVS site to find your nearest vet should the worst happen when you’re away.
12. Stain remover
Even if your dog is normally toilet-trained and well-behaved, little accidents can still happen if your dog is unsure about their new surroundings. Stain remover should clear up any problems in a jiffy.
BISSELL Pet Stain & Odour Remover – with a handy spray nozzle, this stain remover is recommended by Good Housekeeping as it deals with stains, odours and discourages your pet from reoffending. It also isn’t just for carpets; it can be used on upholstery, mattresses, or in your car – the perfect back-up for those long car journeys.
13. Pet hair roller or lint brush
If your furry friend can’t help but shed a ton of fur everywhere, a pet hair roller is ideal for removing any stray strands from where they shouldn’t be in no time.
Chom Chom Roller - this fine-bristled roller stores pet hair in a chamber until you can empty it, so this handy device is great for when you’re on the move.
Your dog will love a little bit of pampering during their time away! It’s also a good idea to pack a brush for after a rainy-day walk, as brushing can stop your pet’s fur from becoming matted.
FURminator for Dogs Deshedding Tool – engineered to reach the loose undercoat hair and with a quick and easy FURejector button that removes loose hair from the tool once your done, it’s a useful piece of travel equipment for ensuring your dog’s coat keep in top dog condition while you’re away.
15. An old sheet
Perfect both for in the car and in the holiday cottage, laying down an old sheet means that floors will no longer get covered with dog hair. We do not allow dogs to lie on beds or chairs in our properties, and any hair must also be cleaned up before you leave the cottage.
These are super handy for keeping everything you need for your waggy-tailed buddy close to hand, while still having your hands free to fully enjoy everything around you.
Osprey Ariel AG 65 Backpack Women – Osprey appears to consistently top best backpack lists so when buying a new rucksack to carry all your necessities and goodies for the dog, check out their selection.
17. Pet insurance
In the case of anything unforeseen happening, be it accidents, illness or property damage, having pet insurance can give you peace of mind. For a week-long break, the cost of pet insurance should be relatively low, although you should have your pet insured year-round as vets’ bills can be costly – remember to check your insurance before travelling.
Tesco Bank – Pet Insurance Review currently recommends Tesco Bank but always check money saving sites like Money Saving Expert or Money Supermarket to find the best deals and most thorough coverage when planning for your holiday.
18. Contacts app or address book
Be prepared for the worst and keep some useful contacts close to hand that you may need on your holiday. Two useful ones would be your accommodation so that you can easily locate it and tell others where you are staying, and the nearest vet, in case of a medical emergency.
Smart Contact Manager – this app makes it easy to transfer contacts from one phone to another and offers users the opportunity to create backups of the contact details, so you’ll never be without that all-important number for the vet.
19. A dog-friendly place to stay
Last but not least, if you’ve booked one of our properties, then you are guaranteed a great dog-friendly place to stay which is certain to have the bow-wow factor. If not, (are you mutts!?) then make sure the place you're planning to stay in welcomes dogs, or risk getting turned away at the last minute. With our selection of dog-friendly accommodation across the UK, you and your best pal will be guaranteed a warm welcome.
A few of our favourites!
The Dog House in Shrewsbury, sleeps 2 humans and 2 dogs
Grain Cottage in Ilfracombe, sleeps 6 humans and 5 dogs
Ardle Lodge in Bridge of Cally, sleeps 10 humans and 4 dogs
Take a look at the rest of our fantastic dog-friendly accommodation and pick out a holiday home that both you and the doggo will love. Some even have surprising doggy extras such as welcome hampers just for man’s best friend.
Want more recommendations? Take a look at these 13 essential holiday products.
If you are still deciding on your perfect pup-friendly destination, read through our choice of top dog holidays.
What do you always pack when taking the dog on holiday? Let us know!