Our dogs are part of the family so it’s only fair that they join us on our holidays too!
There’s so many dog and pet friendly cottages and hotels now that it’s easy to take our furry friends away.
Dogs love to see different places and sniff new smells - Daisy loved exploring and we took her on a staycation every few months at least.
For first time travellers, taking your dog along can be stressful so we’ve rounded up ten tips to make you trip run smoothly.
1. Make sure the venue really is pet friendly
This may seem obvious, but from my experience there is a difference between pet friendly and pet tolerant.
We’ve stayed in places where they have literally rolled out the red carpet for Daisy.
Last year at Letheringham Water Mill in Suffolk which was voted Visit England’s Dog Friendly Business of the Year, we were greeted by resident Labradoodles Teddy and Amber.
Daisy had her own bed, poo bags, bowls and treats and even when she jumped in the lake and went running around our cottage covered in slime, the owners didn’t bat an eyelid.
We’ve been to places with lists about what dogs can’t do and threats of fines if they do so much as sit on a sofa. So check just how pet friendly they are.
Daisy at Letheringham Water Mill, voted the most Dog Friendly destination in the UK
2. Be prepared
You want to be able to relax so think ahead and make sure you know where the nearest vet is in case of emergency and carry the address and phone number at all times.
A first aid kit is handy too. This one from Animed Direct contains the essentials including cleaning wipes, plasters, dressings, a bandage and a tick remover.
First Aid Kit £9.99 Animed Direct.
3. Pack a doggy suitcase
Whenever we went away with Daisy we had so much stuff it was easier just to pack her own case even though she was a tiny terrier!
I’d advise taking a spare collar and lead, towels (the hotel/cottage may not want theirs on a muddy dog!), a coat, shampoo, poo bags, food, treats, toys, medication and a portable water bowl.
Pale dogs with pink pigments and white coats can get sunburnt too, so take a sunblock. Filtabac is an animal antibacterial skin protection that can be used for dogs, horses and cats as a sunblock, for sunburn, wounds and damaged or irritated skin conditions.
Oh, and some carpet cleaner, just in case.
Filtabac Sunblock 50g £4.95 Animed Direct
Sunbathing is fun for pups too, but make sure they have shade and water and keep cool and use a suncream for fair dogs
4. Help them relax before the journey
Daisy was always very good in the car, but many dogs suffer with motion sickness or become anxious.
There are natural remedies that can help. Dorwest herbal pet care have Digestive tablets which contain calming herbs ginger and valerian, rhubarb and peppermint to settle tummies and slippery elm to soothe and comfort.
For anxious travellers, Skullcap and Valerian tablets help them to relax without feeling drowsy. These are good for Bonfire Night too.
Give them to your dog the night before and two hours before setting off.
Dorwest Digestive x 100 £9.55 Animed Direct
Dorwest Skullcap and Valerian x 100 £17.99 Animed Direct
5. Protect your dog in the car
The Highway Code states your dog must be ‘suitably restrained’ when driving so they can’t distract you or injure you or themselves so use a crate, pet carrier or seat belt harness.
Always take lots of water so everyone in the car has plenty to drink in case you’re stuck in a traffic jam.
Walk your dog just before setting off so they’ve had a chance to go to the loo and are ready for a sleep in the car.
Depending on how far you’re travelling, you might want to plan stops. We tend to have a break every two hours for a leg stretch, fresh air and water.
6. Create a home from home
Being in a new place is exciting but can be unsettling too. So take their bed and a blanket which will have familiar smells for your dog.
You can use an Adaptil Calm plug in diffuser which releases dog appeasing pheromones which are the same ones that the dog’s mum would have released to her pups in the litter.
Whether your dog is a puppy or a senior, this is a pheromone that they instantly recognise and that will put them at ease through their entire life.
Or you can use a collar, where the dog’s body heat releases the pheromones bringing comfort and reassurance whether indoors or outdoors.
Adaptil Calm Diffuser and Refill £17.82 Animed Direct
Adaptil Collar (small) £17.73 Animed Direct
Daisy making herself at home by sneaking on to the bed for a snooze
7. Keep them safe
Check around your house or cottage to make sure it’s secure in case your dog decides to wander off.
It’s been a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped since April 2016 and for them to wear tags on their collar with your name, address, postcode and phone number on.
Check your contact details are up to date on the microchip database too, just in case.
8. Check out the best places for dogs!
Our trips revolved entirely around Daisy. So first, we’d find some walks and plan a route, pack what we’d need, then Tommy would hit Trip Advisor for Dog Friendly pubs.
Ask your host or hotel for recommendations too. We found some amazing fish skins for Daisy at The White Horse pub in Suffolk which she loved.
If you’re planning a trip to the beach, make sure dogs are allowed. Annoyingly, quite a lot of places ban them between May and October!
Remember they get hot and bothered too, so keep them cool and don't have them chasing balls for miles - we think a few small throws is ok though.
Daisy tucking into some fish skins on her holiday!
9. Be wary near water
On a serious note, the RNLI launched a campaign this month to raise awareness of the dangers of walking near the coast.
More than 200 walkers have died since 2011, many while trying to save a pet who has then survived, and they urge owners not to jump in the water after their dogs.
Chris Cousens, safety partner at the RNLI is keen to stress they will attend a pet in distress. “We would not encourage people to enter water to save pets,” he said.
“Instead, people should call the Coastguard on 112 or 999 when at coastal locations or 112 or 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue service when at any inland waterside location.”
A beach and a ball to play with - the perfect holiday for a pooch but make sure you and your dog are wary of the water
10. Have fun!
Dogs are part of the family and holidays are a great opportunity to relax and enjoy time together.
Make sure you take lots of photos of your pup and create memories to treasure forever.
This post is sponsored by Animed Direct, an online retailer providing discounted medication, food, treats and accessories. To find out more about the products mentioned, visit www.animeddirect.co.uk