No matter what your holiday plans are, there’s no doubt for most people, a day out – or even a weekend away – just isn’t complete without your dog. Not sure where to start to take your dog with you when you go hiking, camping or to the beach? I’m here to help.
Whatever your choice – luxury hotel stay, camping or beach visit – it’s important your dog is the perfect guest and not the visitor from hell!
Where to start
Start right back at the planning stage when you’re thinking about what kind of break will suit you and your dog. There are things to consider to make sure your chosen venue is as suitable for a doggie break as you’re hoping.
Part of your choice might come down to your dog too. If they’re a bit of a barker or will shout at the top of their voice if so much as a mouse tiptoes past, a hotel or campsite is not going to be ideal. But a rural holiday let might be perfect.
Dog-friendly beach trips
Some beaches don’t allow dogs at all, while others are only dog-friendly off season and won’t allow dogs in the summer months. This isn’t something you only want to discover when you arrive!
Others might have a small section where dogs are welcome with the rest off-limits. While some beaches are totally dog-friendly all year, so your dog is free to enjoy all of the sand, sea and rockpools. Choose wisely.
Check out this handy map of dog-friendly beaches .
Camping with your dog
Check what the dog rules are. Are you limited to how many dogs you can take, or how many dogs can be on the campsite? Are there specific canine toilet places/poo disposal? Do they have a dog washing place? And what are the on-lead rules?
Some of the most luxurious hotels are dog-friendly, but you will often find you pay for the privilege – and you will certainly pay if your dog makes a mess. Some are truly dog-friendly and will go out of their way to cater to canine guests, while others are more ‘dog tolerant’ and have stricter rules on mess and only being able to eat outside with your pup in tow.
Look at reviews from dog owners and choose well as if it’s luxury you’re after. You want both you and your dog want to feel welcome and pampered.
Once again, look for the truly dog-friendly. Some of these will cater more to their canine guests than the human ones – with securely fenced gardens, covers on furniture and beds, outdoor dog washing area, information on local walks, and all the things a pup could want!
Where others might have rules about dogs only being allowed in certain rooms, or not being on furniture.
Research the local area
Check for any regulations in the area you’re going to be traveling to. Contacting the local dog warden is a good starting point, as they can usually tell you about any restrictions or Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) there might be in their area.
This could include things like dogs needing to be on-lead in certain places, or seasonal restrictions.
If you’re in the countryside, keep an eye out for livestock. Your dog MUST always be on a lead anywhere near sheep and they need to be ‘under close control’ around any other animals – which for the safety of your dog and livestock, really also means on a lead!
Training and what to pack
Take a long line with you – as even if your dog is safe off-lead and has a great recall, in a new place, it might just slip their mind! And of course, if they do run off, they’re in a strange place and might not be able to find their way back.
Take more poo bags than you think you’ll ever need – and also a bowl and some water (especially if you’re on the beach). Collapsible water bowls that you can put in your pocket are perfect for traveling and days out.
Hiking with your dog
If your idea of a perfect break is hiking across the countryside, make sure your dog is fit enough for the challenge. This isn’t a break suitable for young dogs until they’re fully mature – and also not for older dogs who might be starting to get a bit still and achy. But if your dog is fit and healthy and has been accompanying you on your training walks, they should take it all in their stride. Make sure you don’t set off without the phone number of a local vet in your phone – and have a canine first aid kit with you just in case.
Pack a backpack full of supplies for both you and your dog throughout the day – especially if you’re a longer one. Water, a bowl, and some food or treats are essentials.
Get a temporary ID tag with the address of where you’re staying and your mobile phone number on it. You still need to keep your legal ID on your dog, but a temporary one means you are more likely to get your dog back quickly if they get lost.
And do some practise runs. Make sure your dog is happy going to a pub, or a café in your home area – or staying in a tent in your garden. Don’t just take off to a totally new place and expect everything to go to plan. It might – but your dog hasn’t read the plan!