Lots of dogs have had a pretty nice pandemic.
Their owners have been home, not even leaving the house to go to work, and the only activity allowed for a large portion of the year was going on a walk – ideal.
Another bonus for dogs has been the lack of international travel. Which means they get the chance to come on a jolly staycation with their family, rather than spending a week at the kennels.
So, if you’ve decided not to risk a trip overseas (and the dreaded amber list risk), and are planning a UK break this summer, why not think about going to a dog-friendly location to keep your furriest family member happy.
Taking your dog on holiday with you can have so many benefits – from reducing the cost of having to pay for kennels to the worry of leaving them behind. However, it’s important to remember the needs of your pooch when planning your trip to ensure you can all enjoy the break – stress-free.
‘Although it’s nice to take your beloved family pet on holiday with you, changes in routine and their environment can lead to stress,’ says Korina Stephens, a registered veterinary nurse at nutravet.
‘It’s important to plan ahead to ensure the journey to your destination and the holiday itself goes smoothly and is stress free for you and your dog.
‘To make sure they’re comfortable, remember to pack essentials, such as their favourite bedding, food bowl and any medication to help them settle on holiday.
Here are Korina’s other top tips for holidaying with your dog in the UK:
Research where to stay
Look into destinations and accommodation before you book to make sure they are dog-friendly.
Any holiday home sites will state when booking if they allow pets and the facilities they offer, such as water bowls. You don’t want to arrive to find extra charges added on for pets, or that they don’t allow dogs at all.
Plan an itinerary
Be sure that there are plenty of dog-friendly things to do whilst you are away.
There would be nothing worse than bringing your pup on vacay only to leave them at the accommodation alone, so be sure to do some research on local attractions and restaurants that allow animals. If your dog spends most of the holiday stuck in a room on their own, they would have been better in kennels where they get plenty of care and exercise.
If you are going on a beach holiday, be sure to check the beach is dog-friendly before taking them on a walk in the sand.
Visit the vet beforehand
Take your dog for a health check up before your holiday. This will enable you to ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations, as well as worm and flea treatment.
Depending on your dog’s age, it’s also important to check they are healthy and safe to travel.
Check your pet’s microchip details
Make sure that your dog is microchipped before you depart and your contact details are correct. This will help to return them quickly should they get lost, while you are away.
Also, take your pet’s insurance documents and make sure they are up to date, should anything happen during your holiday.
Plan your travel
When travelling to your holiday destination, make sure that your dog is safe and secure. If it’s a long journey in the car, take pit stops to let your dog stretch their legs and go to the toilet.
Make sure they also have plenty of fresh water during the journey.
Pack the essentials
Ensure you take everything with you that your dog will need. If your accommodation is dog-friendly, they may have the basics such as water and food bowls but be sure to check before you go.
Pack your dog’s favourite toys and blanket to make them feel less anxious in an unfamiliar location.
While you are on holiday be sure to keep the same routine as you would at home. For example, with walking and feeding, as this will help your dog to settle and reduce any stress they may have.
Walk your dog when you arrive
When you reach your destination take your pup for a walk to help familiarise them with their new surroundings, as well as releasing any excess energy if the car journey was long.
Keep them on the lead though, in case they get nervous and run off.
Consider their safety
It’s important that while you are on holiday you keep an eye on your dog and ensure they remain safe at all times. Be aware of all doors and windows that they could escape from and when out and about walk them on the lead around in new and unfamiliar areas.
Don’t leave your dog alone in your holiday accommodation or in the car while on days out. And be sure to supervise your dog at the beach near water.
Plan for an emergency
Be sure you know where the nearest vet practice is in case of an emergency and you know how to get there.
Print off a route plan before you go, just in case.
The best dog-friendly staycation locations
Now you know how to have a safe and happy holiday for both you and your pup, it’s time to actually decide where to go.
This may well depend on where you live, how far you’re willing to travel with your dog – and how you’re planning on getting there.
But here are some suggestions for places to visit that have dog-friendly accommodation, beaches, walks and activities that your pup will adore.
Stay: The Garden Shed
Rustic living space and breathtaking scenery (Picture: The Garden Shed)
This stylish barn conversion that feels like a boutique hotel, and is entirely dog-friendly.
The Garden Shed has been beautifully transformed into a boutique romantic retreat. With an open plan living, kitchen and dining space. Guests also have access to 1.5 acres of mature gardens. Explore secret paths, soothe your senses or enjoy a picnic just for two.
The historical city of York is only eight miles away, with many easy travel options to get there. A popular romantic destination, there is plenty to enjoy. Take a walk around the city walls, or treat your loved one to a dinner cruise on the river.
For outdoor lovers, the beaches of Bridlington and Fraisethorpe are under an hour’s drive. Or venture into the Yorkshire Dales or The Moors for some rambling and breath taking scenery.
Stay: Chapel House PZ
Modern luxury in an historic setting (Picture: Chapel House)
Located just a stone’s throw from the harbour of Penzance, Chapel House PZ is a beautiful Georgian townhouse which has been transformed into an elegant boutique hotel.
Doggie guests get a bed, a bowl of treats and a water bowl.
Eat at The Tolcarne Inn – where chef Ben Tunnicliffe has held a Michelin star and has opened up this great restaurant in a whitewashed pub overlooking Newyln Harbour.
For a dog-friendly day out, visit St Michaels Mount. This stunning castle in the middle of Mounts Bay is a must visit, with romance, adventure and magic all rolled into one.
Stay: Cofton Holidays, dog-friendly cottages
There’s a Blue Flag beach just round the corner (Picture: Cofton Holidays)
Located near the pretty coastline of Dawlish Warren, family run holiday park Cofton Holidays is set in an ideal location for guests to explore all that Devon has to offer.
The dog-friendly cottages can accommodate up to two dogs and include complimentary dog food and water bowls, a dog mat, towel and handmade local treats.
Hard wooden flooring throughout make it easy to clean up muddy paws after a day of exploring and secure yard areas allow your dog to wander in and out freely.
There are plenty of dog-friendly facilities across the site including doggy ice cream at The Swan Inn, Cofton’s on-site pub, a dedicated dog exercise field, plenty of woodland walks and dog poo bins across the site.
Dawlish Warren is a Blue Flag beach and is just a short walk away from the park through woodland trails.
Guests can also discover the Dawlish Warren nature reserve, 500 acres of grassland, sand dunes and mudflats which is an important place for wildfowl and wading birds.
Cofton is also based near Devon’s top attractions and sites including Pennywell Farm, Powderham Castle and Dartmoor National Park, so there are plenty of adventures to be had.
Stay: The Carrick Lodge Pod
All pets are welcome at the lodge pod (Picture: The Carrick Lodge)
The first selling point has to be the hot tub. The adorable lodge pod is nestled amongst the Carrick Hills in South Ayrshire, South West Scotland. And all pets are welcome.
Airbnb has launched a new campaign to champion the tourism offerings and opportunities of the Lowlands region of Scotland – and there is plenty on offer.
From independent distilleries and unique bookshops to a Dark Sky Reserve and captivating coastlines, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself and your four-legged friend entertained for a mini-break.
Stay: The Beech House at the Olive Branch
There are plenty of dog-friendly walks, parks and activities in Rutland (Picture: The Olive Branch)
The Olive Branch at Clipsham was voted ‘UK’s best pub 2021’ by The Good Pub Guide and as of two weeks ago, Best Pub at the GQ awards. It is also completely dog-friendly.
Rutland, situated in the heart of the English midlands, is the country’s smallest and arguably prettiest county.
Rutland offers lots of dog walking opportunities, and many local businesses welcome (and actively encourage) you to visit with your furry travelling companion.
It is the norm for the village pubs to have water bowls to greet the dogs that visit. The Lord Nelson in Oakham has treat tins too.
For more information visit the Discover Rutland website.