The holiday season is back, and so is the debate over whether or not you should take your pet on holiday. Some people always take their furry friends on holiday, whereas others go for pet sitters and boarding kennels.
What should you do? Is it a good idea to take your dog on holiday? Can you take your dog on holiday? If so, how can you prepare?
Let’s find out.
Can I Take My Dog On Holiday?
The answer is yes, you absolutely can take your dog on holiday.
However, you’ll have to make extra preparations before you leave. For example, you’ll need to check that any cottages, hotels, or other rented accommodations accept dogs - not all places do.
If you’re travelling abroad, things can get extra tricky. You’ll need paperwork, a carrier for your pet, as well as special permissions. Some airlines won’t allow you to fly with pets, and international flights are even more difficult.
However, if you’re travelling by car, taking your dog on holiday is much easier.
How To Prepare For Taking Your Dog On Holiday
So, now that you’ve decided to take your dog on holiday with you, what do you need to do to prepare? Let’s go through a checklist that every pet owner should consult before making plans to take their dog on holiday.
Prepare the relevant paperwork
If you’re travelling abroad, you’ll need the relevant paperwork before your dog can board the plane, ferry, or train. What paperwork you need will vary depending on the country you’re travelling to, but you can expect to have to produce an animal health certificate or similar proofs of your dog’s health and vaccinations. If your dog doesn’t have their vaccinations or you don’t complete the requirements and paperwork in time, you won’t be allowed to travel with your dog.
Pay attention to the deadlines. For example, you may need to get a written confirmation that your dog has had a vet checkup, but you may have to get this checkup shortly before you leave - getting the checkup a month early won’t count.
Find pet-friendly accommodation
Not all hotels and other rented accommodation will allow dogs. If they do, you may have to pay an extra premium to have your dog stay there. There may also be certain rules - for example, no leaving your dog alone in the hotel room and paying for any damage or extra cleaning costs.
Never assume that a hotel will accommodate dogs. Each hotel varies, and you might find yourself and your dog turned away.
Be sure that your dog can handle travelling
Be sure that your dog is happy and comfortable with travelling. If you plan to use public transport, you should make sure that your dog is comfortable and well-behaved on public transport. Anxious or badly behaved dogs can get into trouble and cause problems. Far too many hotels and other rented accommodations refuse to admit dogs due to badly behaved pooches in the past.
Elderly, ill, or extremely nervous dogs shouldn’t be taken on holiday. We might want to share our holiday with our pet, but think of your dog’s comfort and enjoyment - will they enjoy the holiday, or will travel and a new place stress them out too much?
Plan dog-friendly activities
Check out the area you plan to stay in and see what dog-friendly activities there are. Just because a hotel allows dogs doesn’t mean that the surrounding restaurants, pubs, and museums will allow dogs.
For example, you may find yourself in an area where the only place you can take your dog is the local park. If your hotel stipulates that you can’t leave your dog alone in the room, that leaves you with nothing to do.
Walking holidays, country locales, and notable dog-friendly areas are best for a holiday with your pooch - towns and cities, not so much.
Keep your dog comfortable and safe
Make sure your dog is comfortable during the journey. If you’re travelling by public transport, make sure your dog isn’t overheating or going without water. Make sure they have plenty of opportunities to go to the toilet.
Do your best to keep your dog relaxed and stress-free. Try and keep their routine the same (for example, if you wake up at eight and take them out to the toilet, try and do that on holiday, too). It’s also a good idea to bring familiar toys, blankets, and bowls so your dog has something familiar to smell and have around them.
Give your dog time to rest when you get to your location, feed them the same food, and stay with them - your dog will get stressed if you leave them alone in a strange place.
Make practical preparations
Double-check everything before you leave - the accommodation’s dog-friendly policy, emergency vet numbers, etc. Make sure your dog is microchipped (it’s illegal not to have your dog microchipped), and they should wear a collar with your information on it. It’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash at all times.
Lastly but certainly not least, keep a close eye on your pet’s behaviour, watching out for signs of distress, anxiety, or heatstroke.
Should You Take Your Pet On Holiday?
Whether or not you should take your pet on holiday depends largely on where you’re going and on your dog’s behaviour. You should not take your dog on holiday if:
Your dog is old or ill.
Your dog gets stressed out around lots of people or in new places.
You’re going abroad (it is possible to take your pet abroad, but very difficult).
The area you’re going to stay in doesn’t have many pet-friendly areas.
Your dog hasn’t had all of its vaccinations or has a contagious illness.
The area you’re going to is very hot. Dogs get heatstroke very easily.
Your dog hates travelling or has had bad experiences on holidays or while travelling before.
So, if you think your dog can handle the stress and excitement of a holiday, then go ahead! Enjoy this quality time with your pooch.