how-to-have-an-enjoyable-family-holiday-with-your-dogOne of the top reasons we take holidays is to spend time with our family. And, as our dogs are very much part of our families, it definitely makes sense that they come with us too!

However, there are a number of additional things to consider when going on holiday with your furry best friend. This includes where you go exactly, what type of accommodation you choose, and of course, how you get there!

The destination

Firstly, choosing a destination is always the most exciting part of planning your holiday.

However, you may not be able to travel abroad with your pooch for various reasons – quarantine being one. Many countries require dogs and other pets to be placed into mandatory quarantine for a set amount of time (usually a few months) to ensure they aren’t carrying any dangerous illness that could pose a risk to the people, animals and flora of that country.

Obviously there is no point travelling to a certain country with your dog if he/she has to stay in quarantine longer than the amount of time you will actually be holidaying.

Take a look at the remaining options, bearing in mind whether or not you can get there with your pooch (see below for method of travel considerations.)   The location will need to be accessible with your dog and also have suitable accommodation for your whole family (more on that below too.)

With the practicalities out of the way, you can start to decide on your location according to the interests of your entire family, including your dog.  Many families and dogs love the beach – there are a multitude of ways to enjoy yourselves there, such as relaxing sunset walks and chasing each other into the waves!

However, not all beaches allow dogs (on or off a leash) so make sure you go somewhere that is dog-friendly. If a city is your preferred destination, it’s always a good idea to find out whether there is a park nearby for your dog to let off some steam.

Also, there are specific towns and areas that are considered dog friendly in general – dogs are welcomed at the cafes and restaurants in the outdoor eating areas, bowls of water are provided on the pavements and outside shops, and dogs are welcomed outdoors in most places in that location.

These towns are great options for your holiday, as it can be stressful if your dog isn’t permitted into most of the areas you want and need to go.

Getting there

 Road trips are usually easier and less expensive than air travel.

They are also more preferable for your furry friend, who may not enjoy being separated from you and placed in the cargo section of the aeroplane.

Some dogs are better in the car than others. If you plan to be driving a fair distance to your location, you will want to make sure your dog is used to being in the car for extended periods of time. So plan a few practise runs before you leave!

Remember that your dog will require food and water on the journey, so make sure you have plenty of supplies handy, as well as a convenient bowl to eat/drink out of.

It’s always handy to stop every so often, and use this as an opportunity for a toilet break (for you and the dog) as well as to fill his/her bowl with water for a nice drink, as it can be difficult to get this right whilst in motion.

You also need to be sure that your dog is secured safely in the vehicle. You should avoid a situation where the dog is trying to climb onto the driver’s lap or on the floor amongst the peddles.

Obviously, it’s not the best thing for the dog’s health and comfort if it is being thrown around the car whenever you hit the brakes!

The back seat is preferable to restrain your dog with a special “dog seat belt” that can be purchased from pet stores. Obviously the non-drivers can entertain, comfort and help prevent the dog from getting itself into an unsafe position.

The accommodation

Hotels and many resorts won’t allow their guests to visit with pets, but there are many campsites and bed & breakfast-type accommodation that do.

You will need to do a big more investigating. Of those that welcome pets, do they allow any size and amount of dogs per family? Or can you only bring one small dog?

Then, when you arrive, are there rules about what areas of the accommodation venue the dog can access, and what it can do whilst there?  There may be restrictions around dogs on the bed, in the dining area/campsite bathrooms, or various parts of the campsite or accommodation.

How many other dogs will be there and how close in proximity will they be to your dog and family? Obviously, this is more of a concern if your dog does not get along so well with other dogs.

Properly planned, a family holiday with your furry friend can be an incredibly memorable and enjoyable time for everyone. Then the next question will be: where are we all going next time?