We love to go on mini adventures with our five little monkeys and so do our pals at pet lifestyle blog Barkarama. With that in mind and, continuing our Best Dog Day Out Holiday Competition theme, we have enlisted their pet-expertise to share their tips for travel and holidays with your dog in the UK. Over to you Alex and Basil the Boston…
Alex & Basil the Boston of Barkarama fame
Thanks Charley Chau! Dogs are here for a good time and sadly not a long time, so I love to spend as much time with Basil as possible be it a fun day trip, a UK getaway or a few days staying with friends and family.
I believe that dogs make great companions for time away; they’re ready at a moment's notice, will go with the flow, they encourage you to explore and are a great conversation starter, which is particularly good if you are travelling solo. Plus taking them ‘with’ saves on sitter costs, and it won't deplete the bank of goodwill from friends and family.
With more and more businesses and properties embracing dog-friendliness there’s little reason to leave them behind nor compromise on standards or your own idea of a good time.
Travelling with your dog needn’t be a hassle but if you’ve not done it before, a bit of planning and prep won't go amiss. I share some my tips for travelling and holidaying with your dog.
Before You Set Off
Whether we are going out for the day or off for the week, here’s my checklist:
- How’s the hound's hygiene? If your dog is a bit stinky, dirty or their coat is shedding, a bath and brush the night before will make them a worthy house guest. If you’re stuck for time, give them a brush and spruce up with some pet fragrance or dry shampoo
Bath time for Basil!
- Ensure a sufficient gap between meal and travel. Dogs tend to have a one in, one out system when it comes to their constitution so avoid giving them a meal right before you leave
- Make time for a quick walk. Always a good idea before you leave so they're not restless for travel and they’ve done their business
- The dog-ssentials! For days out, my absolute essentials are poop bags, collapsible water bowl, tissues/wipes and a blanket - Charley Chau’s Double Fleece Blankets are a personal fave for train or car seats, sofas and the end of the bed!
A few dog-ssentials!
- If we are away overnight or longer we pack a bowl, toys, treats and dog food. Basil is raw fed but as this is not practical for travel we switch to Lily’s Kitchen tinned food. If your dog adores their creature comforts and you will be travelling by car, throw in their bed to help them settle into their new surroundings - Charley Chau Day Beds are great for fitting in the car. If it's expected to be hot, pack a cooling coat or mat for use on the go and indoors
- What am I taking? I have in the past been known to travel with a large suitcase, laptop bag, a dog ‘stuff’ bag, handbag and dog on the train and this is no fun. Where possible, I try to contain everything to no more than one or two bags, as it not only helps on train travel, but it means less back and forth trips when unloading the car and trying to manage the dog at the same time
On The Move
Whatever way you decide to travel, there’s a few things to consider for the safety and well-being of your dog:
- Promote calm. Whatever mode of transport you take, some dogs may get a little anxious about being on the move or the first few hours of being somewhere new. If you have any concerns, it might be idea to get a calming product such as Adaptil, which releases a dog appeasing pheromone that will help them feel safe and secure. The Adaptil Transport Spray is great for spraying on their blanket, bedding, toys or leads. They also make an Adaptil Calm On-The-Go Collar, which they can wear in addition to their normal collar that is designed to bring reassurance to your dog all day long for maximum holiday chill
- In the car – we sit Basil on the back seat on his favourite Charley Chau blanket and strap him in with his RAC dog seat-belt harness, but you can also get special car seats for dogs
Basil getting strapped in for a road trip
- Alternatively, if you have a large open boot space, a dog crate is also a good way for safe travel and Charley Chau has wonderful crate bumpers for comfort.
- Stop for regular toilet and water breaks. If the temperature is expected to be high, travel early to avoid the midday sun, keep the car well-ventilated or air conditioned and offer your dog some shade – the car shades you get for kids are great. Remember hot cars can be fatal dogs so travel responsibly and never leave your dog unattended
- On the train or bus – avoid rush hour, make sure they've done their business, get them comfy be it sat or lay on the floor or next to you on a spare seat sat on a blanket.
UK trains are dog-friendly and it can be a great way to travel with your dog!
- Consider your fellow passengers. Some will be super excited about travelling with a dog, others won't be so don't let your dog infringe on their space. I also find making a pal with a passenger helps in case you need to leave your seat and need someone to watch your dog. For more train travel tips, see Barkarama’s post on dog-friendly train travel with Virgin Trains
- By taxi – the key factor here is to check that the driver will accept dogs as they don't have to. I pop Basil on my knee if we are travelling by taxi, so he doesn't mess up their seats but if your dog is too big for that, pop down a blanket or your coat for them to sit on and keep hold
On Arrival & In Situ
If you are enjoying a dog-friendly holiday be a good house guest:
- Show them their new surroundings, from where they will sleep to the outdoor space that is to be their new adventure playground
- Create their space or spaces with their bed, blanket, toys, bowls etc. so they feel at home
- Be considerate. Clean up your dog’s mess and dispose appropriately; contain any barking if you have neighbours; lay down a blanket for sofa hounds; ensure your dog is clean when entering the house after walks and so on…
- Keep your dog on the lead when out and about! Until you are used to the area and walks, it's a good idea to keep your dog on the lead to ensure their safety
And lastly… relax and have the time of your life, as time out with your dog is all about making lasting memories and is a great way for you to bond.
A huge thank you to Alex & Basil! You can follow their adventures at Barkarama: www.barkarama.co.uk
And thank you also to the very talented Rachel Oates of Rachel Oates Pet Photography for giving us permission to publish these fab photos of Alex & Basil!