Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy on Holiday

Happy dog on holiday

Did you know it’s the UN International Day of Happiness on 20th March? As well as thinking about human happiness (world peace, and a dog-friendly holiday, please), it’s a time to consider our furry friends’ happiness, too. When you take your dog on holiday, it’s not only important to fill your days with fun for you and your family, but to make plans that ensure your dog is happy and fulfilled while away from home.

Keep tails wagging with our top tips for a happy dog on holiday.

Plan travel time around your pet

Is your dog happy travelling in the car – or by train? Some dogs – mine included – are content to be driven from Cornwall to Scotland in anticipation of a dog-friendly adventure. While other dogs get anxious the moment they are in a moving vehicle. So it’s vital to plan your destination according to your dog’s willingness to be on the road.

Staycation with your dog, UK, car travel with dog

There are plenty of places to visit close to home, and there’s no need to hit the road for hours and hours to enjoy a change of scenery. Why not check out our Top Dog-friendly Destinations Less Than Two Hours From Home, or use the Max Driving Time filter on our search page to narrow down properties within a given distance from your home – you might just come up trumps with somewhere you’ve never even thought of for your next holiday.

Also, if you intend to use a pet crate or harness for the journey, familiarise your pet with short journeys using them before you go. If your dog is uncomfortable or anxious on the journey, it won’t make for a very relaxing start to your trip.

Plan dog-friendly outings

Days out with your loved ones are the best part of the holiday experience. So make sure you plan activities that will make the whole family – including Fido – happy. Before you set off, do some research into dog-friendly attractions in your destination and pre-plan outings that have something to offer your furry friends.

Check out our blog for inspiration on dog-friendly days out in lots of top destinations including Cornwall, Wales, Norfolk, the Lake District, Yorkshire and Dorset.

Dog at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland
Dog at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland

When you’re planning your dog-friendly outings, tailor your choices to suit your dog. For example, if it doesn’t like being on a lead, don’t expect it to behave for hours being trailed around a museum or tropical gardens. Why not opt for a castle near the beach instead, where your dog can bound along the sand and let off steam, before a steady stroll around a historical site where they will be less interested in what’s on offer?

Many boat trips welcome your four-legged friends, which might well tempt you to add a sea safari or ferry trip to your agenda. But have you ever taken your dog out on the water before? If not, start with a short trip on a large, stable vessel, instead of booking for a two-hour speedboat ride on open seas.

If you want to try paddleboarding or kayaking with your dog, make sure you use a doggie lifejacket and plan a route with plenty of hopping-off spots. However you choose to cast away with your canine companion, it won’t be much fun if your dog is unhappy and howling to get off or is seasick out on the water.

Routine and regular walks keep Rover unruffled

Whatever else you have planned on holiday with your dog, make sure you stick to their routine of regular walkies and feeding times. After all, for most dogs, a happy life is all about food, chasing balls, and scampering across wide-open countryside. See our post on the UK’s best dog walks or the top destinations for holidays with a dog.

Couple enjoying a woodland walk with a dog

Familiarise your pet with its new surroundings by stepping out into the landscapes on the doorstep of your accommodation—whether that’s making pawprints on the beach, meandering through meadows, or seeing the early morning sun dapple through forest canopies. When you set off on day trips, plan breaks in locations where you can stretch your legs on scenic footpaths, and if you’re planning a longer walk, pin-point stop-offs in dog-friendly pubs and cafés.

Dine out at dog-friendly foodie spots

We all love to eat out on holiday – and that includes the dog, too. Wherever you choose to holiday with your dog, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, pubs and cafés where your four-legged friends will be offered treats, water bowls and even a bed to snooze at your feet while you eat.

Woman and her dog in a Lake District restaurant

Check out our recommended dog-friendly pubs in Dorset, restaurants in the Lake District and places to eat in Norfolk. Even better, if you’re out with your hound on a hot summer’s day, there are even places where you can get a cooling ice cream for you and your dog.

Select your pet-friendly properties to suit your dog type

There are all sorts of pet-friendly pads to choose from across the UK, so make sure you choose one that suits your type of dog. If you have an energetic hound that loves being outside, opt for accommodation with a large garden, not a bijou apartment with no outdoor space where your dog will be cooped up and go barking mad.

Man shaking paws with a dog in a garden

If your dog is known to roam, use our filters to choose a property with an enclosed garden. If your dog loves the beach, choose one right beside the sea. Whatever your pet needs, choose accordingly, and you’ll find a paw-friendly property where your dog and you will be happy.

Keep your dog clean, healthy and happy on holiday

Just like humans, dogs are happy when they’re well fed, exercised, healthy and made a fuss of. This is their holiday too, so include them in activities, praise them, play with them and reward them with treats.

Woman brushing a dog in a holiday home

It’s vital that your dog feels unruffled and loved when away from home, so make sure they are clean and comfortable by grooming them after muddy and sandy excursions, and ensuring they have a cosy corner to flop out in your holiday cottage. Tick off our Dog Grooming Holiday Checklist before you go, so that your furry friend is prepped and ready for a relaxing holiday.

Look up local dog sitters

Before heading off on your dog-friendly holiday, check with your property owner whether or not your dog can be left unattended in the property. While most of your holiday plans should include your hound, you might want to slip in an activity or special meal out without your four-legged friend. In which case, if your dog will be anxious being left unattended, or you are not permitted to leave it alone within property, get the details of a local dog sitter.

Dog sitter looking after a dog

Ready to go on holiday with a happy dog?

Use our search tools and filters to find the perfect pet-friendly holiday cottage to suit you and your four-legged friend.

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