Pets Travel

Preparing to Holiday with Your Dog

It’s summer and there’s nothing we look forward to more than jetting off on our holidays however there is a family member that gets a bit of a raw deal. Our dogs. While we are travelling they often get left behind, either with a trusted caretaker or booked into a doggy day-care. Sometimes it’s the easier option, particularly if you’ve got a dog that doesn’t travel well, an older dog or you’re not travelling for very long.  

However, for some, the option to take their dog away with them would be the perfect addition to their holiday. In fact, 82% of pet owners have cancelled holidays to stay with their pet, when they’ve been unable to find suitable accommodation. It comes as no surprise then that with 45% of UK households owning a pet, the “staycation” is fast becoming the most popular holiday type.  

However, you don’t need to remain in the UK to holiday with your pet. While many short-haul airlines may not offer the option for dogs (with the exception of guide-dogs) there are some alternative, fun ways to travel.  

Preparing Your Pet to Go Away 

Like any good plans, decent preparation should take place months in advance of going away. Check your pet is in good health and has all necessary vaccinations required for the country of travel. Make sure your pet ID tags and microchip information is fully up to date, your vet can also help you with this. You’ll also need a pet passport (available from your vet) this is required for travel across all EU countries and keeps a record of the vaccinations your dog has received to date.  

When it comes to packing, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got all the necessities to keep your dog happy day today. Their favourite food, toy and/or comfort blanket will help them settle down quicker. You’ll also need their lead and harness, food and water bowls – there are some great travel-friendly collapsible versions available. A travel crate is recommended, especially in the car, as it prevents your pup from being a distraction and helps them feel safer. 

Make sure your dog is properly manner trained, you don’t want to have to deal with a dog on holiday that won’t listen to commands or jumps up at every passer-by. Sit, stay, lay-down, return and focus should be the very basics your dog knows and if you need to, seek out a professional dog-trainer well before you travel.  

Why not treat your pet to a new summer wardrobe before you travel? There’s a whole range of clothes for dogs, including bathing suits! Or to keep it a simple, visit this site for a nice new collar to go with their updated pet ID tag. 

Choosing Your Travel Method 

There are various ways to travel, from planes, trains to the ferry – while there are some restrictions, there are plenty of firms that allow pets to travel and, in some cases, free of charge. We’ve put these suggestions together as a guide only – you should always check with your travel provider before you book. 

  • Planes 

Travelling by air is considered the most difficult, purely due to the limited options for short haul journeys. Cheaper carriers typically only allow guide dogs on however British Airways, Thomson and Monarch allow dogs to be transported in the hold. A recent innovation in air flights includes the use of charter planes. Typically, these planes are hired for travel one-way, therefore the cabin is empty on one-half of the flight. While you will need to pay for the whole flight, if you are travelling with a large family or group, prices become a lot more reasonable. Your furry friend can even fly in the cabin with you – much better than being in the hold alone! 

  • Trains 

Travelling by train can be considerably easier with your pet. You can get off midway through longer journeys, so you can both stretch your legs and most countries allow dogs to travel on trains for a small percentage of a standard ticket price. Eurostar sadly doesn’t allow dogs as foot passengers, but they can stay in the car if you are using the Channel Tunnel car shuttle train.  

  • Ferry 

Travelling by car, most ferries services will allow your dog to stay in the car, within the carport of the ferry. However, if you are a foot passenger, sadly most popular ferries won’t allow your dog to board. Foot passengers and their faithful friends can travel by ferry to Dieppe in France or Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands, where your dog will travel via onboard pet kennel.  

Once all preparations have been made, it’s time to count down until you head off on your holidays! After you’ve arrived at your destination, make sure you reward your pet with a long walk to stretch their legs and get used to the area. It’s important you follow any local leash laws and ensure your dog is watched at all times. Just because you’re on holiday, does not mean you should be lax about your pet’s safety and wellbeing!  

As long as you are sufficiently prepared as a pet owner, you and your dog should have a wonderful holiday and you can look forward to your future journeys together.  

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