Dogs are part of the family, so it’s only natural that you want them by your side when you’re away from home to enjoy the fun and frolics with you. It’s not easy to pack with paws, so here’s our guide to making sure that you have everything they need when taking your dog on holiday.
Dogs don’t ask for much – food, water, shelter and company is enough to keep them happy most of the time – oh, not forgetting dog treats and playtime! So you might be surprised at how much stuff they need when you’re away from home for a while…
Whether you’re going for a dog-friendly weekend in a holiday home, visiting family or camping ‘off-grid’ for a couple of weeks, we’ve got you covered with our handy dog holiday checklist! If something doesn’t apply to you, simply just enjoy crossing it off of the list – without having to cram it into your suitcase!
Food and water
If you forget your pet’s din dins you really will end up in the dog house! But you’ll be surprised just how often people forget to bring bowls for their pup’s food and drinko when travelling, too. A dedicated water bottle – perhaps even one of those fancy ones with a fold-down bowl to drink from – is crucial if you’ll be out of the house or in the car for long periods of time.
Almost as important are your doggies treats. It can be hard to keep your dog’s attention in new environments – especially with all the exciting things to see and do, so some tasty tidbits are a must-have. If your four-legged friend is a bit of a nervous nelly, try some high-value treats to encourage them to focus on you and tackle new challenges, like playing on the beach.
Safe chews and toys are a good way to keep your pet occupied while you wind down in the evenings, too. The last thing you want is your dog bouncing on you while you doze off, spilling that glass of something you were enjoying, so why not try a toy with added interest, or a food puzzle, too?
? Good Boy Top Tip: remember any medication your dog takes regularly, or may need while you are away – such as antihistamines if your pooch is sensitive to allergens – this is sure to save yourself a costly trip to a local vet. Make sure their flea and tick treatments are up to date as well!
Cleanliness and comfort
First things first – poo bags! And lots of them.
Beds, blankets, towels – these bits can take up a lot of space in your luggage, so make sure you include them in your planning. If you’re going somewhere where there will be water to play in or a chance of rain, you’ll need more than one towel. A big blanket can be useful if you let your dog sleep on the bed, as this is usually frowned upon (bah, humbug!) at holiday homes. To save room in your luggage, add your blankets and dog bed to the base of the crate in your car boot so your pooch can get cosy in the car.
If it’s going to be chilly, pack your dog’s overcoat in with your own. Naturally, they will need their usual collar/harness and lead (with spares if they are likely to get mucky). Remember that your dog must wear a name tag with your contact details whenever you are outside of the home, too.
Talking of muck, doggy shampoo and a brush for longer haired breeds may also be a wise move – especially if your holiday is set to include lots of hiking and beach walks.
Don’t forget any safety equipment required for your holiday. Your dog must be restrained either in a crate or with a suitable seat belt when travelling by car, to keep them safe – and save you from a hefty fine.
If you want to keep your dog in or out of certain areas (and you have room in your already creaking luggage) then take a stair gate with you. If your pet is crate trained, he or she should be over the moon to see their crate (or a travel crate) at the holiday home, too! It gives them somewhere familiar and safe to retreat to – avoiding unnecessarily stressful situations, which can be especially important for older dogs, or if there are a lot of new faces and children around.
If your dog gets a bit anxious, try to bring familiar items (unwashed blankets, favourite toys) to help them settle in, and stick to their usual routine as closely as possible. If you use calming supplements, soothing sprays or diffusers, take those along too.
For adventurous doggos, you might want to pick up a doggy first-aid kit to deal with any little bumps and scrapes that happen along the way. If you’re going for an all-out water adventure, you can pick up a doggy life-jacket, too.
? Good Boy Top Tip: before you head off be sure to look up the nearest local vet and pet hospital and take a note of their phone number and address (and your insurance details) – just in case.
Check the house rules
Depending on where you’re staying, you might find that your canine companion has a long list of rules to adhere to. Many holiday homes don’t allow dogs on the furniture, and most don’t let you leave your dog alone in the home at all. Make sure you’ve scoured any details you’re given so that you’re well prepared with everything you need for you and your pooch to play by the rules.
The All-Important Checklist
? The dog!
? Food and water bowls
? Portable water bowl
? Treats and chews
? Food puzzles
? First aid kit
? Poo bags
? Crate/travel crate
? Collar and name tag
? Seat belt
? Stair gate
? Calming supplements/sprays/diffusers
? Vet details
? Insurance details/claim form
Going further afield?
If you’re travelling the world with your pooch, you’ll need to do a little more planning than just chucking some bits and bobs in a suitcase. Make sure you’ve considered their passport and vaccines, and checked all of the rules about transport and accommodation that you may find in other countries. For example, in Switzerland, you have to take your dog to the vet to be registered within ten days of arriving.
It may seem like a lot of work – and a lot of luggage – but there’s nothing as rewarding as a wholesome holiday with your dog. Most importantly, enjoy your break – and we’re sure your fur-pal will have a whale of a time!