Taking your dog away with you is the only antidote to the pangs of separation that holidays usually bring. At first glance, doing so can seem difficult to organise, but don't worry - in this, the second installment of our three-part series on holidaying with your dog, we will give you some useful tips on selecting your holiday accommodation and other aspects of planning.
If you missed our first part, which covered the ins and outs of international travel, and journeys themselves, you can read it here.
Selecting your accommodation
Aside from negotiating flights and other public transport, finding the right accommodation is arguably the trickiest aspect of your holiday planning. Fortunately, dog lovers now have a fantastic range of pet-friendly options to choose from, including holiday cottages, B&Bs and hotels. So, taking your dog with you doesn't restrict your options as much as you might think.
Of course, the first step in your hunt for accommodation should be searching for dog-friendly places in your chosen destination - something that's usually quickest and easiest online. Once you have a list of places you like the look of, it's time for the real research to begin. The ideal scenario is to find a place to stay that allows your dog to stick to his usual routine as much as possible.
This means you need to look at the finer details of each establishment's dog-friendly policies - are they actually allowed to stay inside, for example? How secure is the general property for dogs - is there somewhere safe for them to relax outside? Do they have any restrictions on the size or number of pets that visit? These are all important points to consider before making your booking.
Day-to-day dog care while you're away
We'll talk more about ways to ensure your dog enjoys your break as much as you do in the next installment, but in the planning stages, it's important to have a realistic look at the logistics of day-to-day holiday life with your dog.
Crucially, you need to ascertain whether you are able to spend enough time with your pooch while you're away - or if restrictions at the tourist attractions you're hoping to visit require you to spend significant amounts of time apart. If the latter is the case, you need to assess whether you're either to happy to tweak your plans to make sure you can be there for your faithful friend, or look into dogsitting services. Some kinds of pet-friendly accommodation offer this as an extra, so if your think you are likely to need it, this is worth checking in the booking stages.
No one likes to think about the prospect of losing their dog - it's just too horrible to imagine. However, it can happen to even the most dedicated, conscientious of owners. On holiday, when you're far away from home, the experience can be even more stressful and difficult to resolve.
Microchipping is an effective way of tracking your dog should he get lost. Its usefulness, combined with the fact that implanting it is quick, simple and not very painful (it is very similar to a normal injection, such as a vaccination), means it is becoming very common. Indeed, your dog may already be microchipped - in which case, it is worth making a quick trip to the vet before you leave to check it is still working.
If your dog isn't microchipped and you would like him to be, arranging this prior to your holiday gives you extra peace of mind ahead of your trip.
Packing for your dog is another important aspect of planning, particularly as it will require you to get ample supplies of things like specialist food and any medication your dog is taking in plenty of time for your break. Indeed, these two items are particularly important.
The latter can be arranged by a quick trip to your vet, which can double up as an appointment to discuss anything else your dog may need while away. Remembering to pack enough of your dog's food is, of course, crucial to avoid upsetting his stomach with sudden changes in diet and ensuring he feels comfortable in his new accommodation. After all, foods such as BARF diet options need to be purchased online, so don't rely on picking your pet's food up after you arrive.
Pet bedding is another item you may need to pack - check whether your chosen accommodation offers it, but you may decide to pack your own in any case so your four-legged friend has a few comforts from home. Having a few dog treats on hand to pamper your pooch with is another good way to helping to make sure they feel at home.
Written by: Hannah