Holidaying with your dog is a wonderful experience - after all, we all miss our faithful friend when we have to leave him or her at home. If you've decided to take the plunge, then there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure the trip is equally enjoyable for you and your pooch.
If you're still undecided about travelling with your four-legged friend, or need a few tips on organising your break, take a look at our guide on accommodation and planning for a pet-friendly trip.
What do with your dog on holiday
The main joy of going on holiday is the chance to indulge yourself - to do exactly what you want, free from the pressures of everyday life. But remember, this is a holiday for your dog too, so make sure you plan some fun things you can enjoy together.
Perhaps the most obvious way to do that is to visit a few local beauty spots or plan some long, leisurely walks - that way, you both get to enjoy sightseeing, and your dog gets the exercise he needs too. If the weather is good, punctuate longer walks with picnics - this is a great way to relax and treat yourself. Remember to pack some dog treats so your pooch can join in the fun too!
You can also make outings all the more exciting for your dog by trying out some new games. For instance, if you're out in a wooded area, or a park with plenty of trees and bushes, why not play a game of hide and seek? Conceal yourself while your pet is busy investigating something and let him come and find you - just remember to make sure you can see him at all times so you can guide him with your voice if you notice him struggling.
If you're about to take some treats with you, why not lay out a trail for him to follow? Let him watch you do it so he understands the game - but occasionally be a bit sneaky and only pretend to put a treat down, to make it a little more challenging for him. Place them further and further apart, and then put his nose to the test!
Out and about - etiquette for pooches
Fortunately, plenty of pubs and tourist attractions are dog-friendly, so you and your pooch should find plenty of places to go together. But no matter how welcoming your destination is, you still need to take a little care to make sure your dog behaves well - and that it's appropriate for him to be there in the first place.
Regarding the latter, you should consider the following points:
- If you're visiting a pub or restaurant, is it particularly busy? A packed venue might be troubling for your dog.
- Are there other dogs present that might upset yours - or vice versa?
- Is he wet from a walk in the rain or a swim? If so, it's best to hold off and visit when he's dry.
In terms of your pet's behaviour, no doubt you will have plenty of tricks up your sleeve to help ensure you he doesn't run off or bother other visitors, but it's worth bearing in mind the following:
- Take your dog for a walk before your visit - that way, he is less likely to become overly boisterous.
- Take a water bottle, dog bowl and treats with you. While premises will often offer these, it's best not to assume, just in case!
- Keep him on a lead.
- If you're in a pub, restaurant or cafe, don't let him block walkways (if possible, let him curl up under your table).
- Don't let him sit on any furniture.
A note on routine
While many of us relish the change in routine a holiday brings, for your dog, disruptions might not be so welcome. So, while enjoying a change of scenery and a spot of relaxation, you should also make sure that your dog's normal day is altered as little as possible - this means feeding him at the usual times, taking him for the same number or length of walks, and bringing along his bedding and favourite toys so he feels at home.
Written by: Hannah