Sam Ledge publishes free, highly researched content that enables dog owners to make informed decisions at SamLedge.com. Check out his top five tips to keep in mind when planning for your next dog-friendly holiday.
Nothing recharges the batteries quite like an escape from the claws of day-to-day monotony. Dogs love holidays too, and the UK has fantastic destinations to suit the needs of you and your canine companion.
Whether you're headed to the beaches of Cornwall or the hills of the Peak District, you'll want to make sure you have these essentials packed in your suitcase.
1. Good Quality Lead, Collar and Harness
If you're taking your dog on holiday with you, then it's safe to assume you are going to get a good amount of walking done. The UK is filled with dog friendly paths, beaches and treks, but with the unfamiliar comes an additional layer of risk.
Your dog will be accustomed to the scents and smells of their everyday walking circuit, but a new environment will make it feel like a whole new world to them.
Dogs are naturally inquisitive and will want to ensure surroundings are safe for their pack. Uncharted terrain and fresh eco-systems means they are more likely to be inclined to go exploring on their own.
If as an owner you are not familiar with the place you are in, then it is vital you have your lead and collar to hand.
When it comes to mountain treks or coastal paths, it's also crucial to have a good quality dog harness, given the steep drops and uneven terrain. Harnesses mean your dog is far less likely to slip out than if they just wear a collar. They also give better control, reduce the risk of injury and stop them getting the lead caught under their legs.
2. Their Food!
While we may find ourselves indulging in local delicacies when we go away, dogs don't typically get to enjoy the same level of variation. Sure, you can treat them to the odd dog ice cream on a sunny day, but in terms of food it's important they have a best in class, nutritionally complete dog food. Our range of foods cover dogs at different life stages and with different nutritional needs, aid digestive health and have no artificial colours or flavours.
Dry food is much more conducive to travelling. It’s easier to take a serving in a container on a long walk with you, than it is to transport wet food which can be temperamental to changes in heat.
3. Bottled water and travel bowls
On a long dog walk it's crucial to make sure your dog stays hydrated, especially in warmer conditions. Regardless of whether they are a ball chaser or playing with other dogs, it’s safe to say that they will probably expend more energy than you on the walk.
Being well equipped with accessories for your dog is part of being a responsible owner. You can buy water bottles that have detachable plastic trays your dog can drink out of and there are also fold up water bowls that slip conveniently into your backpack.
4. Blankets, bed and stain remover
When you're excitedly packing for your trip, it’s unlikely that the first thing to come to mind will be stain remover. However, changes of scenery can cause uncertainty, their toilet training routine can be thrown off, and accidents do happen. It’s best not to get caught short, especially if you are staying in someone else's cottage or home.
The same concept applies to bringing blankets with you. At home, it might be the norm that your dog sits on the sofa or gets up on the bed with you. As a guest, it's always best to be conscious of this– especially if your dog is the type to indulge in a muddy river or lake swimming!
Bringing their bed, or if not feasible, a travel bed that they are familiar with, is also a good idea. Dogs thrive on routine, so adding elements of consistency like this will make them more comfortable.
Dog treats really are the cornerstone of training. To ensure the correct behaviours are sinking in, positive reinforcement through treat giving is absolutely essential. This is no more true than when you are on holiday with your dog.
The same concept applies to treats as it does to leads and harnesses when you are in a new environment. Recall is crucial if you are unsure about what is around you.
With treat giving, the reward has to outweigh whatever it is you asking them to forsake. For example, if you use the same dog biscuits daily and they come across discarded human food on a walk or they are in the bushes following a really strong scent, it is unlikely they will revert for dog treats they know they get regularly anyway.
However, if your dog knows you have a chopped up t-bone of medium rare steak in your bag then they are likely to drop whatever they are doing and come running back to you.
While this is a slightly silly (and unrealistic) example, it does demonstrate the importance of moving the needle and exciting your dog with treat giving, especially in unfamiliar places.
Our range of dog treats come in an array of mouth-watering flavours like pork & apple, peanut butter & banana and duck & cranberry. Make sure you step up your treat game in time for your next holiday!