Follow our great tips on what to take for your dog on holiday...
When it comes to packing your bag for your trip, don't forget that you'll need to sort out all your dogs items too. Have a checklist to ensure that nothing vital is left behind, either at home or at your holiday destination. Place your list in a clear plastic bag or laminate it. As you pack, you can then tick off the stuff you have and then wipe the list clean and re-use it. Use a separate holdall so you'll know where all the doggy gear is.
Collar and ID
This is one item that you won't need to pack, but a very important one. Get an extra ID disc made up with your holiday address and contact telephone number just in case your dog becomes separated from you. An engraved disc is best, since the barrel types can become unscrewed, loosing the message inside. Check that the collar is a good fit and if your dog's the sort whose build makes it easy for him to slip out of it when on walks, invest in a harness from which he can't escape. If he isn't already microchipped, get this more permanent form of ID dome before your holiday. It will be compulsory for all dogs in England and Wales to be microchipped from April 2016.
Check that the stitching is sound and take a spare one in case you mislay or lose it. If you use an extending lead, pack a short lead, as many dog-friendly attractions will only welcome canine visitors on short leads.
The familiarity of his own bed will help you dog settle in a strange place – and remember that most hotels prefer that he doesn't share yours! If he has a rigid style bed and you have the room to take it, fine; otherwise a beanbag, duvet-style or one of the squashy basket/nest-type beds are less awkward to transport.
If the weather is rainy, having a lightweight jacket which you can pop on your pet will mean you don't have quite such a sodden mess of smelly, wet dog to dry out on returning to your room, Incidentally, if you opt for a camping holiday, it can sometimes be very cold at night and a jacket will help to keep your central-heating acclimatised dog warm.
Pack plenty, so you can dry off any wet, muddy coats and paws before taking you dog indoors; just because it's not your carpet he'll be trampling on doesn't mean you shouldn't bother!
Take enough for the whole of your stay, as you may not be able to buy any further supplies of your dog's usual food, and sudden changes can cause tummy upsets. If you use canned food which doesn't have a pull top, take a can opener too, plus a fork to mix the ingredients.
If you dog is a messy eater, also take a plastic pet place mat.
Travelling water bowl
Handy for keeping in the car, this avoids mishaps if it gets tipped over; it can also double up as a water bowl in your room, especially if your dog's a sloppy drinker.
Pack a plastic bottle which you can refill each day with fresh drinking water to ensure your dog has a drink while he is out exploring. Don't let him drink from puddles, ponds, or streams as they could be contaminated. Take a collapsible water bowl too, so you have something to pour his drinking water into; these are light and easy to carry.
Take plenty; from the point of view of space saving and ease of carrying around with you during the day, nappy bags are easier than recyled supermarket carrier bags.
It's always sensible to have at least a basic kit with you. If you are going to be in an area where ticks are going to be a problem, remember to take tick-removing products: don't forget to also include any ongoing medication to cover the holiday period.
Sunshade for cars
The interiors of cars can become unbearably hot when parked in sunny weather. Shades will help to keep the temperature down and make the car more bearable for you to return to; park in a shady area as well when possible. Shades or no shade, never leave your dog in the car on warm days, even for a short period. Cars heat up fast, which can cause severe distress or even prove fatal.
‘Little accidents' can occasionally happen, even if your dog is normally perfectly house-trained.
Handy not just for cleaning up any of the aforementioned accidents, but also for wiping food bowls and utensils.
Lint brush or pet hair roller
For removing any doggy fuzz that gets left behind on places where it shouldn't be!
If your dog does get lost, a good photo could be invaluable in helping you trace him again.
If you are taking your dog abroad, make sure you have all the correct documentation with you: keep it all together in a wallet or folder so you can access it easily when necessary. Have it with you at all times as some countries can be very strict about insisting that you produce it instantly when asked.
These can be a godsend during picnics or when eating out in a pub beer gardens, allowing you to tether your dog securely rather than having to keep hold of his lead the whole time.
An old sheet
If you cannot guarentee that your dog won't climb on to furniture or the bed in your room, then at least take a couple of old sheets to spread over them to keep them clean.
Take a bumbag or rucksack in which you can pop everything you will need for the day-it will be easy to carry and leaves your hands free.
This may come in handy for late-night walks.
If it rains and your dogs coat gets wet, you may need to brush it to prevent mats forming.
Other top holiday tips
- Make sure your pet is insured, not just for accidents and illness, but also for third party liability. Look through your policy to check that cover for damage to property is included. Dogs can sometimes be out of character in new and unfamiliar surroundings.
- Your dog may feel a bit anxious or home sick at first because of the change in routine and environment. Rescue Remedy and other flower remedies or Adaptil spray may help settle nervous dogs.
- Jot down addresses and telephone numbers of all the useful contacts you may need while on holiday, such as vets, pubs, your accommodation, and tourist information offices. Carry them with you in a small notebook which you can put in your pocket.
- Find out where the nearest veterinary practice is, and print out a map or directions so you know how to get there should an emergency arise.
- Research whether there are kennels or a pet-sitting service nearby should you wish to go sightseeing at a place where dogs are not welcomed.
Just because you are on holiday it does not mean all your dog's manners should go out of the window.
- Do not allow your dog to annoy other guests if staying at a hotel or B&B — not all people are dog lovers. Find out from your host where dogs are allowed to go within the accommodation and outside.
- Always pick up your dog's poo in the grounds and gardens, and ask where waste bags should be disposed.
- Exercise caution when approaching strange dogs; although your pet may be well socialised and friendly, other people's dogs may not be.
- Do not ignore signs which ask for dogs to be on a lead, as this could be for his safety as well as others.
- Check whether attractions and sights are dog friendly before travelling there.