How to Prepare for a Holiday with Your Dog

Labrador running on the beach

Should I take my dog on holiday?

Leaving your best friend behind while you go on a holiday away can be a heartbreaking thought, so taking them with you may seem like the only right thing to do! However, there are certain things to think about and prepare before you go adventuring together, so here are a few tips to help you get on that getaway with your furry friend.

Taking your dog on holiday: Is your dog ready for the adventure?

Essentially, you need to know if your dog is ready to go somewhere new, and of course, ready to have the best time ever with you! It can be scary going away to a new environment, so it might be worth going on day trips with your dog beforehand. Let them explore new surroundings, get used to the different smells, and see how they deal with the journey there.

Just as important as being mentally prepared, is being physically ready. If you’re unsure of your dog’s health conditions, it is a good idea to take them to the vet to check for anything. If you have any doubts about your dog’s happiness, consider leaving them with family or friends, or in a reputable, safe kennel.

Taking your dog on holiday: Will they behave?

Do not underestimate the importance of your dog’s behaviour! If you find it exhausting to take them on a walk around your local area, imagine what it will be like in a brand new setting.

Obedience training your dog is an essential part of yours and your pup’s life. Read our essential tips for training here! Making sure they’re trained before embarking on any trip away from the home will ensure both of you enjoy a stress-free holiday together.

Man and small dog running on the beach

Taking your dog on holiday: Are you going to a dog-friendly destination?

The next thing to know is, will the local area love your dog as much as you do? Inevitably the answer is no, because nobody loves your dog as much as you do, but you need to make sure that your dog will be welcomed.

Check the hotels or your rental to see if you can bring your dog, and if you’re planning on eating out, do some research on restaurants to see if your dog can come with you. Remember, you don’t want to go on holiday and then leave your dog alone in your accommodation for too long – this can induce anxiety.

Are you going somewhere hot? Is your dog comfortable in the heat? Make sure they won’t suffer in the climate you plan on going to.

Read our blog on helping your dog avoid heat stroke here.

Petlab Co. Pro Tip: For their own well-being and for your peace of mind, you should also find out where the local vet is and store their contact details just in case of an emergency.

Taking your dog on holiday: How do you plan on getting there?

The most comfortable way for dogs to travel is by car (and it’s also the best way to take in views for you!), so avoid flying if you can. If you have to fly, check with airlines, because they might have certain restrictions and extra costs.

Smaller dogs may be able to come on board with you on some domestic flights, but have to stay in a travel crate. However, more often than not, UK airlines typically require animals to go in the hold. This can be incredibly traumatic for some pets, so really consider if this is the route for you both carefully!

If you make the decision to drive, there are also many things to think about. You should plan out your route carefully, but don’t forget to be flexible, so plan for excursions and stops that are not on route. Having said that, do not stop too much, otherwise your pooch won’t be able to relax and get comfortable! Bring plenty of supplies for the journey, like fresh water and snacks.

Before you set off, do not feed your dog too much before or during the trip, as dogs are prone to travel sickness. That would not be fun to clean up! And, we suggest you take them for a long walk or run before setting off, so that they are tuckered out whilst you’re traveling.

If you’re worried about them settling for the journey you could try using a non-drowsy natural doggy calming aid that may help support a relaxed disposition and maintain calmness. Look for a blend of ingredients like chamomile and valerian root which can all help manage stress supporting balanced behaviour – ideal for when your pooch is a nervous traveler! Remember, always source supplements from a reputable and ethical pet brand!

Taking your dog on holiday: Pack the essentials

Now that you’ve got the logistics all panned out, it’s time to pack! Bring any medication they need, and the everyday necessities. Sometimes we humans can cope without home comforts, but our dog friends can feel a bit stressed without theirs, which is why it is important to pack their favourite toys.

If you are going by car, think about bringing their bed or blanket that smells and feels like home. You want to make your dog feel at ease, and as they are creatures of habit, bringing their valuables and sticking as close as possible to their routine can make the holiday a home away from home for them!

Dog laying in the sand on the beach

Our final thoughts on how to prepare for a holiday with your dog...

It’s hard knowing what your dog is thinking, but you know them best. If you think you’re both ready to go away together and have a great time while staying safe, then get ready to go!

The most important thing to be sure of is your dog’s happiness – are they going to be comfortable? Are they healthy? Are you prepared to be flexible in your plans? If you can answer yes to all these, great! Go and make wonderful memories with your beloved best friend!

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