In over a decade of providing information for dog owners on places to take their best friends on holidays and days out through its website – www.dogpeople.co.uk – DogPeople Limited has amassed a wealth of knowledge on the dog friendliness of holidays and travel. Much comes from the directors’ personal experience of including their Airedale Terriers in most things they do (and certainly in all their holidays) but they have also gleaned much useful feedback from visitors to their site and, of course, their advertising customers. Some feedback was generated when DogPeople researched their now well established dog friendly rating system. Whilst much of this knowledge concerns what one might hope to find when staying in various types of holiday accommodation, or visiting a pub, or attraction, DogPeople can also offer some owner focussed tips about planning holidays and travel:
- Ensure your dogs travels safely in their own space with a dog guard or, if travelling on the back seat, properly secured in a car harness. Dogs are as much at risk in an accident as people; and shouldn’t be able to be thrown around if the car stops suddenly. A harness probably provides the best restraint but on long journeys your best pal will need to change positions so sitting in the tailgate behind a mesh guard might suit them better.
- If the weather is hot, try to travel at a cooler time of day and stop regularly for dog comfort breaks and drinks. Remember the air conditioning won’t be as effective in the back in many cars so even if you are comfortable in the front they may be getting hot in the back (especially if the Sun is on the back windows). Opening a window for a bit can help move some of the cooler air back but you might also need to stop more often than the people need.
- Sun shades for cars come in a variety of styles and costs. These are probably designed mainly with children in mind but do help reduce heating of the back seat area and tailgate. DogPeople have a basic set for the car our Airedale Terriers travel in but a more effective job can be achieved with model specific shades. This cheap addition really does help keep the temperature down on journeys and prevents it building up too quickly when the car is parked.
- If the car has been standing in the Sun for a long time air it before closing the dogs in. Even a couple of minutes with all the doors open can make a difference. Obviously, if you can park in shade whilst you go for a walk or visit an attraction that will help. DogPeople find a dog blanket draped over the car on the sunny side and trapped in the car doors provides internal shade and helps a great deal.
- Remember to take water and drinking bowl for long journeys, walks and days out; especially in hot weather.
- Never leave the dogs in a car on a sunny day even with windows partially open. Never leave them for more than a few minutes even when the Sun isn’t bright.
- Research dog friendly places to visit and places to eat before you travel. Dorset Cottage Holiday provide information on dog friendly beaches, places to eat and walks. DogPeople recommend choosing a dog friendly pub or cafe on your route where you know the dogs can stretch their legs and do what a dog has to do. Even DogPeople have to use motorway service stations on some journeys. If you have time why not make the best of a stop and visit a dog friendly heritage site; many of them have a cafe or shop too.
- When staying away try to stick to a similar daily regime for your dog as far as you can. Give them their meals and walks at roughly their usual time. DogPeople often take their pals on day-long walks on holiday but still try and start the day in the normal routine. Just like the people, this means they can use a lot more energy than they would at home, so they have extra treats carried for them for lunch. They are always ready for their evening meal whether it’s a little late or a little early!
- Take your dog’s own bed or blanket for sleeping, a favourite toy or two, food and drinking bowls, towels for wiping dirty paws and a good supply of scoop bags. Some of the best accommodation providers will supply at least some of these but you don’t want to be without, and your canine companion will appreciate the familiarity of things he knows. DogPeople’s dogs eat a particular kibble so we always take more than enough for the holiday.
- Book suitable accommodation in advance. Ask the provider for suggestions to make your stay more enjoyable if you think you need them. For example, many hotels and B&Bs don’t allow dogs in the restaurant or breakfast room but might be happy to serve breakfast in a bar area or lounge so your dog can accompany you at meal times. Don’t leave pets alone in rooms unless the accommodation provider is happy with this and you know your pet will not get stressed by being alone.
If you’re looking for a dog friendly cottage holiday in Dorset you have probably already found what you need (and we are delighted Dorset Cottage Holidays are among our advertisers) but if you’re looking for somewhere to visit whilst you’re there, or on the way, or a place to eat, or another holiday check out DogPeople’s directories at www.dogpeople.co.uk .