If you are one of the 24% of British households that shares their home with a dog (PFMA Pet Population 2016), you will understand how difficult it can be to plan a holiday abroad that your furry friend can be part of. With so much stress involved, it's easy to see why many people prefer to remain in the UK when taking a trip with a dog.
This could be one of the reasons that the Great British staycation is on the rise. VisitEngland reported a 10% year-on-year increase on domestic holidays in the first three months of 2016, and there are tonnes of options available for those wanting to bring their pooch along too. So, why not join the millions of people enjoying a dog-friendly getaway the next time you get some free time?
To help you out, we've put together five great tips for planning a dog-friendly staycation that are sure to enhance both you and your dog's time together. Read on to find out more.
Book somewhere that is pet-friendly
While we’ve mentioned that a British staycation is often the best choice for a dog-friendly holiday, you still need to put some thought into finding a place where your furry friend will be welcome. Though many campsites and hire cottages welcome dogs, there are some that don't for one reason or another. As a starting point, you should take a look at our own pet-friendly recommendations, where you can find some inspiration. If you still need some help, there are websites like Canine Cottages and Cool Camping that have great listings for a doggy-stayover.
Research some great walks in advance
To save the trouble of having to research routes for a dog walk when you get there, take the time to find some great areas in advance. The National Trust has a fantastic resource for dog-friendly trails on some of their estates that is well worth a look. It contains recommendations for coastal and woodland walks, as well as tips for finding dog-friendly cafés, cottages, and more. There is also a site called Walkiees, which allows you to search user recommended routes from around the UK — it's a great tool for discovering some hidden gems.
Make sure they are secure for the journey
Should you plan on driving to your holiday destination, it's vital that you ensure your dog will be secure and comfortable for the journey. The last thing you want is for your furry friend to suffer an injury if you have to brake sharply or you're involved in an accident, so it's worth taking the necessary precautions. By rooting them safely in one spot, you will also prevent them from moving around the car, reducing the chances of them distracting you on the road.
If you have a smaller pooch, your best option will be to invest in a pet carrier, which can be secured in a foot well or against the back of a seat. Millbry Hill has a good range of pet carriers for a variety of dog sizes, from toy to larger breeds. Many of their products also have ventilation, cushioning, and a water bowl, which are essential features for long journeys.There are other options worth considering too, such as pet harnesses for smaller dogs, which clip onto seatbelts. Should you have the right type of car, there is also the possibility of fitting a dog grill at the back which can be handy for bigger breeds.
Bring some of their favourite things along
During the journey and when you've reached your destination, it's worth remembering that some dogs can be disorientated by the change of scenery. However, you can soften the impact by bringing along some of their favourite things to provide a little bit of familiarity for them.
Items like their much-loved bed, blanket, or chew toy can go a long way to giving their confidence a boost and helping them to adjust to their new surroundings. Be sure to take some of their favourite food and snacks so that they don't have to deal with a change in diet too This will also mean that you can reward them with treats just like you would at home.
Update their tracking information
This is more of a precautionary measure, but it's definitely worth checking that your dog's tracking information is up to date with your current home address and your latest contact details. The last thing you would want is for your furry friend to wander off and get lost, especially in a strange area, so updating their microchip details is absolutely essential before you set off.
The Dog's Trust has a list of pet databases in the UK who are responsible for compiling pet data. You will need to check and update your dog's details through the one that they are registered with. It's fine if you aren't completely sure which one to go through, however, as you can contact any of them and they will be able to point you in the right direction. If you can't remember your dog's microchip number, you will need to visit a vet and get them scanned to find out.
So, there you have it: five top tips for planning a dog-friendly getaway in the UK. Follow these pointers and you will be able to enjoy your staycation knowing you're well-equipped to have a great time together.