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Dog Days of Summer II: Taking Your Dog on Holiday
So… The kids are off school, the sun is out (albeit intermittently!), and it’s time for the annual summer holiday…
What fills you with most dread?
Sorting out the children or the dog?!
If you’re thinking about taking your dog on holiday with you this summer, here are the Upward Dog’s tips for a worry free break…
Can your dog really handle a long car journey? Will he settle nicely in a pub beer garden, while you enjoy your well-deserved ‘R and R’? Are you able to keep him off holiday cottage beds and furniture?
Don’t see a holiday as a time for training your dog: it’s a whole new environment for him, and even dogs that are impeccably behaved at home can behave badly, when their regular routine is taken from them.
Plan your journey with pooch in mind!
If your dog is particularly lively, be thoughtful about rest stops during any long car journeys. Make sure that you pick places with plenty of room for your dog to stretch his legs, and have a drink of water.
Don’t forget that heavy traffic may throw your timings out, so have a few extra rest stops planned, just in case.
Stock up on food and treats!
Remember that lots of people take their dogs on holiday, so sometimes supermarkets and pet shops can run low on certain foods, if everyone stocks up at the same time. Buy any food, chews and treats that your dog can’t live without well in advance, so that you know they’re ready for when you leave.
New toy time!
Just as ‘Super Nanny’ suggests for the children in the family, buy a new toy for your dog for the journey. This will keep him occupied, and give him some fun, while you curse the holiday traffic! Also, make sure that you take plenty of his usual toys with him to help him feel at home, when you arrive at your destination.
Keep your family and your dog safe by making sure that he is secure, wherever you choose to put him. The best way is usually to use a metal crate: this prevents your dog from jumping around, keeps him in one place, and stops him getting out too over-exuberantly at the motorway services, when you stop for a rest break!
Loo break on arrival!
As soon as you arrive at your destination, the first thing you’ll want to do is sit down and relax. However, with a dog in tow, make sure that your first stop is always somewhere for him to have a run (off lead, if he’s reliable), let off steam, and have an extended toilet break.
Welcome to your home-from-home!
Place your dog’s bed and toys in your hotel room or wherever you’re staying, preferably whilst he is out with another member of family on his walk. That way he will walk into a home-from-home environment. If you’re staying in a holiday cottage, it’s especially important to show him around the house: keep him on a lead, and walk around the house with him, letting him see and sniff each room. This will allow him to settle, and get used to the smells of other dogs, and so on, that have been there before him.
Make the holiday doggy-friendly!
Plan days out and trips in advance of leaving, so that you can play what to do with the dog each day. If there are activities that he can’t attend, consider one member of the family staying behind to look after him, or enlisting the help of a local dog sitter or daycare centre.
Phone ahead to restaurants and pubs to ensure that they are doggy-friendly: don’t trust the internet, and only turn up with your dog, if you’ve personally confirmed that it’s okay to bring them.
Emergency – when it all goes wrong!
It happens, we don’t want to think about it, but it happens: taking your dog on holiday can result in things that go wrong. Make sure that you have a couple of local vets’ numbers, just in case, and keep it close to hand. If the emergency is non-medical, e.g. dog barking so loudly the whole hotel is being woken up, Kongs are a useful addition for your management toolbox: fill with his regular food or some treats.