Travelling with your dog

Fact - we all love a holiday! Whether it’s going abroad or staying closer to home, some time to relax and rejuvenate is always a welcome pleasure.

But what about your furry friend? Do you take them with you or send them on their own holiday, either with a pet sitter, family member or boarding kennel.

Still not sure what to do? We’ve got all the details you need to decide on where your dog’s suitcases will land this holiday.

Taking your pet abroad

Depending on which country you are planning to visit, there will be different rules for travelling with your pet. For more information on taking your pet abroad, follow this Government guide. Something to consider is that you may need to get a vet certification and get your pet’s vaccinations and parasite treatment up to date. So, make sure to leave enough time to get all this in order as your vet might not be able to accommodate you at short notice.

Pet friendly staycations

If you’re planning a staycation, the UK has a lot to offer. Some great places to consider for this year’s holiday are…

  • New Forest
  • Lake District
  • Dorset
  • Suffolk
  • Norfolk
  • Devon
  • Cornwall
  • Yorkshire
  • Somerset
  • Scotland
Planes, trains, and automobiles
  • Planes – Confirm ahead of time if your pet needs to travel in the cabin or in the cargo. You also need to consider your pet's comfort when travelling by plane, whether that’s picking specific times to travel, purchasing fewer connections or getting your pet used to the carrier they will be kept in during the flight ahead of time.

  • Trains – Make sure the train line you’re using allows dogs, you may also want to check if they have specific rules like keep them on a lead and if they’re allowed on the seats.

  • Ships – While ferries usually allow dogs, cruise ships do not. While they may allow a dog to stay in your cabin, they may also require you to keep them in the on-board kennel. However, it’s worth checking if they have specific policies around dogs.

  • Cars – Make sure your dog is secure when travelling, this could be a harness, seat belt adaptor or crate. You’ll also want to plan in plenty of stops for your pooch to stretch their legs, go to the toilet, or have a water or snack break. On warmer days, cars can become very hot so consider leaving in the evening or morning when temperatures are cooler.
Picking dog friendly accommodation

Hotel, campsite or a pretty little holiday cottage? Make sure your dog is welcome whatever you choose. You may also want to find out if there are any extra charges for bringing your four-legged friend along.

  • Hotels – Check there is an easy access bathroom spot for your dog and that they’re allowed in all areas of the accommodation. You don’t want them to be only allowed access to your room.

  • Campsite – Make sure you know the rules for having a dog at the site. Do they need to be always kept on leads, where can you dispose of their waste and finally is there any areas they can’t go?

  • Holiday lets – Check the rules on your self-catering holiday let. Can pets not get on the furniture? Check if the let has a garden or safe toilet space for your pet and any rules they may have on disposing of the waste.
Picking dog friendly day trips

If you take your doggy pal on holiday with you. You need to make sure the itinerary is inclusive for them.

  • Restaurants - When it comes to selecting a restaurant make sure they accommodate dogs. This might be with a dog-friendly pub or sitting in the outside seating area.

  • Beaches – Make sure your four-legged friend is allowed on the beach before you visit. In the summer months you may find your pal isn’t welcome. If you do find yourself going to soak up the sun at a beach, make sure that it’s not too hot for your dog.

  • Go walking – There are some beautiful walking trails wherever your holiday destination is, which we’re sure you’ll find some good sniff spots along the way!

  • Events – There may be a summer fair, music festival or another event you may want to attend while on holiday. Make sure they allow four-legged attendees before rocking up.

If you do find you want to do something that doesn’t allow your dog to attend (but why would you want to), we’d recommend checking that your accommodation is happy for your dog to be left for a short period.

What to pack in your dog’s luggage
  • Lead or harness
  • Food and food bowls
  • Water and water bowls
  • Treats (we have a delicious selection if you need to stock up!)
  • Toys
  • Bed or blanket
  • Poo bags
  • Towels
  • Medication (if your dog requires it)
  • Doggy first aid kit
  • Cool mat
  • Sun cream (pet friendly only!)
  • Crate
Other holiday tips
  • Dogs love routine so try and keep feeding time, poo breaks and walkies at the same times as you would at home. Even though let’s be clear… a lie in won’t hurt!

  • Make sure their diet stays the same while you’re away. A change in food can make it a ‘ruff’ trip.

  • If you're travelling abroad, think ahead, as it is now not legal to take pet food outside of the UK unless it is a veterinary diet/one authorised by the vet in writing to help with a specific health issue.
Asking a friend to pet sit

If you chose to leave your pet behind, you may be more comfortable asking a friend to dog sit. Now those puppy eyes should be enough to convince them to care for your beloved pooch. However, some friends might need more of a push. This could either be through a stocked fridge or other privileges.

Once you’ve got them to agree remember to make sure they know…

  • Your dog’s feeding routine.

  • You dog’s daily walk routine.

  • How to give any medication they may require.

  • Explain anything they need to be aware of, for example, your dog’s triggers (if they have any).  

If you can’t get a friend to look after your pet, you may want to consider a professional pet sitter. If this is the case, make sure they meet your pooch and they’re comfortable together before going on holiday.

Boarding kennels

If you’re planning to kennel your dog while you’re away. Make sure to ask the following questions…

  • Do they have their own private kennel and can access a private area, which is kept in good repair, away from other dogs at all times?

  • Do they have access to outside space with at least one walk a day?

  • Are they given toys and other enrichment to keep them occupied?

  • Is the kennel equipped to handle any special requirements such as grooming or any medical needs your dog may have?

  • Do they require dog’s vaccinations and parasite treatment to be up to date?

  • If you have more than one dog, can they be kept together?

  • Do they have a vet on call if an emergency arises?

  • Are the staff friendly and experienced?

  • Most importantly do you feel comfortable leaving your beloved pet with them?

Now you’ve got your itinerary planned, it seems like you and your pooch are now ready for the jet-set lifestyle…

Bone voyage!