The perfect time for doggy holidays

PUBLISHED: 14:40 20 December 2013 | UPDATED: 14:43 20 December 2013

Labradors playing in water

Labradors playing in water

Archant

Summer is a difficult season for holidays with pets, with many beaches closed and cars getting hot and stuffy. But late autumn and winter offer great fun

It’s wonderful to take your pet for a change of air and scenery. Dogs appreciate new scents and new experiences. A break from routine can really perk them up. With their lovely natural coats, dogs don’t mind the cold or rain; and with empty beaches and uncrowded countryside walks, this can be the perfect time to go away with your dog.

Sharon Parker, owner of Cornwall’s dog friendly Boscundle Manor, says there are some key tips to look for when considering a holiday with a pet.

Travel

Dogs generally travel well in a car and at this time of year motorways and roads to tourist destinations are a lot less crowded. It is better for a dog to have his own area in the back of the car where he can lie down in comfort; a special pet carrier or harness is ideal. Plan plenty of stops for your dog to go to the loo, include some water and short exercise to freshen it up.

Location

Not all country walks are suitable for dogs because of livestock, stiles and a host of other reasons. While a lot of beaches are open to dogs in the winter, some restrictions still apply. Most county tourist boards can offer advice on where dogs can run freely.

Control

Dogs can get very enthusiastic when suddenly released in wide open spaces. Be sure it responds to your commands to come back, or keep track of your pet as it races away enjoying its new unrestricted freedom. Miles and miles of sandy beaches or acres of rugged moorland can seem like heaven for a dog until it stops and realises it is totally lost!

Temporary tag

While all dogs have to wear a collar with details of the name and address of the owner, when on holiday it is a good idea to add a temporary tag with your holiday address. If the dog does disappear, hopefully it will be brought back quickly and you can continue with the holiday.

Food and water

Keep the dog to the same eating routine with the same food. Most accommodation that accepts dogs offers fridge and cooking facilities. Water is always essential, but every so often remind the dog where his drinking bowl is. Dogs adapt quickly but need to be kept an eye on to ensure they are drinking enough.

Extra reassurance

It can be exciting and sometimes a little bewildering for a dog to have a total change of routine. So in between the extra fun of exploring new places, add some reassuring calm time into the day to ensure the dog fully enjoys its break without any anxiety.

Muddy paws

Dogs on holiday may well cover themselves with more wet sand or mud than they do normally at home! While dog friendly accommodation should offer washing facilities, make sure you take with you enough doggy towels to help wash and dry the dog before it comes back inside.

Accommodation

Double check facilities offered by the accommodation you have chosen. You need more than just a ‘pets welcome’ sign to ensure you all enjoy your trip. Sharon says that at Boscundle Manor they charge £10 a night for dogs but this includes ensuring everything is done so that both the pets and the owners can have a fabulous break. Accommodation for people with pets is in one of the Manor’s lovely cottage rooms which have ground floor access directly into the gardens and woods; direct outside access is key for a relaxed holiday with dogs.

Sharon says a final tip is to check whether the owners of the accommodation have their own dogs: “Dog owners will know where the best local walks are; will know the local pubs and cafes where dogs are welcome; they may even be willing to dog sit on occasions so the owners can enjoy some holiday time by themselves,” she said. “With a bit of careful planning, an autumn or winter holiday with a dog can be the happiest break possible.”

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