A recent survey revealed 90% of dog owners take at least one holiday a year with their furry friend; this is hardly surprising as most owners can’t bear to be parted from a very important part of the family. Many of our dogs do spend quite a lot of their time waiting for us to come home so some quality holiday time together is a perfect remedy for everyone. By taking your dog it eliminates all the stress for you and for them being left behind in kennels. At many cottages dogs stay free, but if a property owner does charge it would normally be £25 per stay, much cheaper than putting them in boarding kennels which will add a significant cost to your holiday.
Microchipping became law on the 6th April 2016. If taking your dog away from your home environment it is so important your dog’s microchip is up to date with your current details. Even the best trained dog can go wandering or get lost particularly when in unfamiliar surroundings on holiday so we can’t emphasise how important a microchip is for your own peace of mind. For any help or advice visit the Dogs Trust website, and sometimes they have events where your dog can be chipped for free, or try Indentichip which has a dedicated team working 24 hours a day right through the year reuniting lost dogs with their owners. As well as the microchip your dog should be wearing a collar with an identification tag with your name, address and contact details. When arriving at your cottage it is always a good idea to keep your dog on its lead until you're all familiar with the cottage and location.
Most responsible dog owners will have insurance in place, but if you haven’t taken your dog on holiday before and haven’t got insurance this is a good time to start. The most obvious reason for having insurance is to cover veterinary bills but another very important aspect is third party cover. The Dogs Trust recommends Petplan with a very comprehensive website detailing all the different policies on offer. When you have chosen your cottage and destination check out local vets in the area by using the RCVS website listing all accredited practices, particularly if your dog has any special requirements.
A self-catering holiday with your dog should be happy and fun filled and with a little preparation you can make sure this is the case. When travelling your dog should be secured by a harness or in a secure dog carrier or crate, to avoid eye injuries don’t let your dog put its head out of the window or sun roof. They should always be on a lead and ideally get in and out of the car on the safer pavement side, or the back of the car. Take lots of water and stop frequently on the journey so they can stretch their legs and go to the toilet as necessary. Some dogs get travel sickness (try not to feed them just before a long journey), or get very stressed and anxious. There are many ways to manage your dog’s fear of travelling naturally, try Preventivevet , with lots of help and advice to make the journey as pleasant as possible for everyone.
Make sure you take all their ‘stuff’ plus their favourite toys and tugs so they feel as comfortable as possible in the new surroundings, plus an adequate supply of their normal dog food and treats. You will often find they head straight for their dog bed once it is put in place to feel safe and secure whilst you unpack and set up home. Have a quick look round the property for any hazards and check the security of the outside space, even if you choose a cottage with an enclosed garden this is no guarantee your dog can’t escape. The PDSA website has a great guide listing 50 hidden-at-home hazards that could be harmful to dogs.
If flying with your dog you will need to check with the appropriate airline on their requirements but they will all insist on a purpose made travel container. It is essential to purchase one that is large enough to accommodate the animal comfortably, they should be able to stand up and turn around, and give them time to familiarise themselves with it before the journey. A blanket or cool mat should be provided for extra comfort. Allow plenty of time so your dog can exercise and relieve him/herself before the journey. Check with the travel company about available exercise areas.
Everyone loves a trip to the seaside, a run on the beach or splash in the sea, what could be better! Not all beaches allow dogs all year round and to check up on accessibility visit the UK Dog Friendly Beach Guide website. Generally speaking you are in for a great day out on the coast but take care if walking along cliff paths, keep your dog on its lead and don’t go too near the edge. If you let your dog go swimming watch out for rough seas and strong currents even if your dog is a strong swimmer. Look out for broken glass or rubbish and use a Frisbee rather than a stick when playing with your dog on the beach, sticks can cause serious injuries. If hiking or mountaineering take lots of water and food plus a coat for your dog as some can tire very quickly and get hypothermia if the weather suddenly becomes very cold and wet.
By taking everything into consideration you will be in for a wonderful break and a self-catering holiday cottage is definitely the best way to enjoy time away with your four legged friend. We have a wonderful choice all over the UK, well over half of our cottages are very happy to take dogs, so don’t leave them behind. Visit cottages.com to find your perfect dog friendly property in your perfect location.
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