Travelling with your canine companion can be a fantastic bonding experience, but it also takes a little more planning than just throwing a few bits in a suitcase like us humans do. From preparations prior to heading off, to the car journey, to arrival at the cottage and then the actual holiday itself, there’s so much that goes into it when it comes to taking your four-legged friend along for the adventure, so we’ve compiled a list of our top tips when it comes to travelling with your pawfect pooch.
Have a cage/crate when driving
Although many dogs may roam freely in the back of the car, having a crate large enough for them to sit comfortably, padded with their own bedding, will make the journey safer for both you and them, whilst making sure they feel at ease.
Take plenty of water
During the journey, having fresh water is as essential to your dog as it is to you in keeping hydrated. Take a collapsible bowl for the trip, having bottled water to hand once you arrive at your cottage; the difference in tap water varies dramatically across the country, and your pooch may not like water from a different location, so take bottled water in case.
Have treats to hand
Your pet is bound to feel slightly uneasy being somewhere totally new, and may not be keen on a long car journey, so have a few treats to hand to reward them for being good. You could even try making our homemade dog treats before you go!
Never leave the dog alone in the car
One of, if not the most, important rule when it comes to car journeys with dogs. Never, under any circumstance, leave a dog in the car alone. Cars can become very hot very quickly, and in the warmer months it can only take 15 minutes for a dog to suffer from heatstroke.
Don’t leave dogs alone in a new, strange place
On that same note, don’t leave dogs alone in your holiday home. Whilst many cottages may have this rule in place anyway, it’s advisable to not leave your dog alone, as the new environment and strange surroundings may make them feel anxious and uneasy about where exactly they are.
Long car journeys take their toll on dogs just as they do on humans, and just like you, they need to stop for a wee too! Frequent stops for them to stretch their legs and relieve themselves can make a huge difference, making sure your canine is content.
Get pet insurance
If anything should happen while you’re away, you need to be covered. Having pet insurance is the best way to make sure you’re safe if anything goes wrong.
Net a vet
In that same vein, it’s good to check where the nearest vets is to your cottage. If anything should go wrong and your beloved hound need seeing to or emergency treatment, you’re going to need to know there’s somewhere nearby where he or she will be in good hands.
Microchipping is a must
It’s now a legal requirement, but make sure that your dog is microchipped. If the worst should happen and they go missing, the chances of being reunited are massively increased.
Be aware of letting your dog off the lead
They may be obedient at home, but in a new environment, walking near cliffs or lakes, and around livestock they could be unpredictable. Also, be aware that some places may have regulations stating dogs must be kept on their lead.
Do your research
Look for dog-friendly attractions, pubs and events ahead of your trip. Knowing where you can go with or without your dog could be a deal breaker for certain locations and you may need to rethink where you go, so it’s best to know ahead of time and not be put on the spot.
Our blog and guides are full of ideas on dog-friendly beaches, days out and places to eat!
Keep a routine
Your pooch is used to a pattern, including the times they’re fed and when they go for walks. It’s best to maintain this routine to make them feel as comfortable as possible on their little holiday, and keeping up their walks makes for a happy, healthy hound.
Make a list
List everything you need to take prior to leaving so you don’t forget anything. From toys to blankets, to food and any medication your pooch may need, if it’s important on a day-to-day basis to your pet, it’ll be important to take with you too. Don’t forget to add your own things to that list!
If you're not sure where to start, head to our canine travel checklist for ideas on what you might need to take.
Help them to relax
Keeping a routine and bringing their favourite things can help your pet settle into an unfamiliar place. If they are still unsettled, there are other ways to help your pooch relax, including giving them a massage or playing them Relax My Dog's soothing music.
For even more ways to keep your dog relaxed, take a look at our ways to calm your dog down.
Having your four-legged best friend on your holiday shouldn’t be a chore, so whichever canine cottage you end up in, make sure your adventure is memorable and packed with nice long w-a-l-k-i-e-s you’ll both enjoy. Find your perfect dog-friendly holiday cottage in our collection and get ready to have a pawsome time!