Getting Away From It All Together – Dog Friendly Holidays


It may now be the end of August, but there’s still time to enjoy some late summer sun and get away for a few days with your dog. For those without children, waiting until the school year starts in early September ensures even more peace and quiet – and fewer queues.

exercising labradorWhilst it is easy to farm small pets such as goldfish and hamsters out to friends and family whilst on holiday, or convince a neighbour to pop in to feed the cat, dogs carry much more responsibility. Kennels can be expensive, though finding a good one will be worth its weight in gold, and many dog owners miss their canine pals whilst they’re away on holiday. Far better then, to go on a dog friendly holiday or hunt down dog friendly accommodation, so that you can all enjoy your holiday together. Your dog won’t be pining for you and you won’t be worried about your dog; everyone is happy.

What Makes For A Dog Friendly Holiday?

Essentially a dog friendly holiday is one where your dog is treated as just as much of a holiday maker as you are. You don’t want to spend all holiday leaving your dog chained up outside visitor attractions or, worse still, left in a ventilated car. It’s not much fun for either of you. Your dog should not be a hindrance to be tolerated, rather they should be involved and enjoy themselves into the bargain. Depending on whether you’re looking for a coastal holiday or somewhere inland, carrying out a little research before you go can make a holiday much more enjoyable for all concerned. Some things to look out for in the local area of your chosen destination include:

  • Dog friendly beaches
  • Botanic gardens and parks where dogs are welcomed
  • Castles, stately homes or abbeys that allow dogs
  • Events, such as steam fairs, dog rallies or county and agricultural shows, that provide outdoors interest

Finding Dog Friendly Accommodation

Having chosen a destination, it’s time to find somewhere to stay. Most importantly somewhere that will welcome the canine member of your family as much as the rest of you. The most likely option for holidaying with your dog is self-catering accommodation, be that houses, cottages, castles or cabins. Most self-catering sites, like the popular Cottages4You or Toad Hall Cottages, have the option to search for accommodation where pets are welcome. Scotts Castles specialise in larger accommodation for big family groups or parties. Sykes Cottages list pet friendly cottages at the top of their holiday cottage options and it seems to be something of a speciality for them.

getting away with your dogAn excellent option for dog friendly accommodation are holiday parks or forest holidays. Often set in huge wooded areas with plenty of space for running off steam, a log cabin in a forest makes an ideal base for a holiday with your dog. Many camp sites and touring pitches are also dog friendly if you fancy giving camping or caravanning a go, though if the camp site is based on a working farm, they will expect your dog to be fairly well controlled on the site.

For a more personal touch, there are many hotels and guesthouses that are dog friendly and go out of their way to make you and your dog feel at home. With a home-from-home atmosphere your dog is sure to feel relaxed and therefore so will you. Often in rural areas, your dog can roam free straight from the front door, and, should you require a little dog-free time, the owners often provide dog-sitting services to boot.

Why not combine holiday and accommodation together and hire a canal boat for your holiday? Kate Boats are based in Warwickshire and hire out canal boats for exploring the waterways of central England, and they’re happy for your dog to go too. Land Cruise motor home hire have a popular Roverhome option, hiring out specially adapted motorhomes for touring through the UK and Europe with your dog.

At any accommodation rules will vary and it is best to check carefully before booking exactly how dog friendly your chosen accommodation is. Finding a place that welcomes your dog with open arms can be like hitting the jackpot and they could become a regular destination for years to come.

Responsibilities As A Dog Owner

There are many responsibilities as a dog owner,  that must be taken into account when out and about on holiday.

  • In new places, with a lot of stimulation, your dog may be more excitable than they are at home. Be prepared to curtail any boisterous behaviour such as jumping up, which may annoy or even scare others.
  • Don’t forget to take plenty of bags for picking up your dog’s mess.
  • In hot weather, your dog will require plenty of water.
  • For humans a change is usually as good as a rest, but when staying somewhere new, your dog may feel unsettled. Remember to take a few familiar items as well as any blankets and beds, so that they feel relaxed and at home in their new environment.
  • Changes in diet can be very disagreeable for dogs, so don’t forget to take enough food to last the length of your holiday, plus a few extra portions in case of delays in returning home.

Happy holidays….. and don’t forget to take your dog’s favourite Gilbertson & Page dog food!

The website www.dogfriendlybritain, was a useful resource in writing this post and contains huge amounts of information on events, days out, accommodation, eating out, dog services and much much more.