How to book a dog friendly holiday
Planning your summer holiday when you have a dog can be a tricky business. Do you leave them with a pet sitter? Does your preferred kennel have space to take them for a week at its busiest time of year?
If it’s hard for you to leave them or you just want to stay together, planning a dog friendly holiday can solve a whole host of problems and means they get to enjoy a holiday too!
By bringing them along you can feel comforted that they’re being looked after and they are sure to love the adventure with their family. Dogs like exploring new places just as much as we do and taking them on holiday gives them lots of new things to see, smell, and experience.
Here are some of my top choices for planning a dog friendly holiday both in the UK and abroad.
Dog Friendly UK Holidays
The UK has a lot to give and there is something to be said for chucking everything in the car and setting off for the countryside or seaside without having to worry about getting on a plane. And luckily, finding dog friendly places to stay around the UK couldn’t be easier with the following websites, all of which specialise in dog friendly accommodation to suit all budgets, holiday styles and families.
Pets Pyjamas is one of the best places to start your search for a dog friendly holiday. It’s a travel site that offers hundreds of dog-friendly stays across the UK. You can search by country, timeframe, or best of all, by holiday type. With categories like ‘ultimate luxury’, ‘summer hotel stays’, ‘cottage escapes’ and ‘spa collection’ you can find your perfect holiday without compromising in order to accommodate your four-legged friend.
Canine Cottages is another great place to look. This site specialises in, you guessed it, cottages. It’s perfect for families looking to spread out in a cosy home away from home and the website has a really helpful collection of articles rating the best dog friendly beaches and sharing popular UK holiday destinations for you to visit with your dog.
And finally, Dog Friendly Cottages is another website worth looking at. It’s a marketplace that lists thousands of house rentals all over the UK, all of which are dog friendly. From quaint cabins to luxurious lodges, there’s a huge variety of properties to choose from, all of which welcome you and your four-legged friend.
Dog Friendly Europe Holidays
But if going abroad is how you want to spend your holiday, fear not, it’s completely possible to do with your dog. By using either the Eurotunnel or a Ferry, you can get to France, Spain and beyond. For both the Eurotunnel and Ferry, your dog will need to travel in a car and there are a few hoops to jump through in order to make sure you’re prepared for the pet checks that happen both going into Europe and coming back into the UK, but if you plan ahead of time, they’re not too difficult to comply with. Here is a brief guide to what you need to do in order to take your pet to the EU and back again:
Taking your dog to the EU
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. Your dog must have a microchip and be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before your journey.
- Get an animal health certificate. Your vet will also need to issue an ‘animal health certificate’, which is a requirement for traveling with your pet from the UK to the EU. The certificate must be issued by an ‘official veterinarian’ (OV), a status not all vets have so speak to your local vet with plenty of time in case they need to organise a certain vet to issue it or in case you need to ring around some other vets to find an ‘OV’.
- Check your dog’s microchip. When you arrive at the ‘dog check in’ at either the Eurotunnel or ferry terminal, you’ll be given a scanner and asked to scan your dog’s microchip so make sure you can locate it ahead of time and make sure it has the correct contacts details associated with it. You can ask to check it at your vet visit ahead of travelling.
- Prepare your dog for travel. If taking the Eurotunnel, you dog will stay in the car with you for the journey so making sure it is comfortable with water is important. But if taking the ferry, it should be noted that when walking around with your dog outside the kennel or outside of your dog-friendly cabin (if you book one), you dog must be on a lead and be wearing a muzzle. If your dog is not used to being muzzled, it’s a good idea to buy a soft, comfortable one and put it on once or twice before the journey to get it used to wearing it, even though it will only be for a short time
Coming back into the UK
When coming back into the UK, your dog will need to have had a tapeworm treatment, issued by a vet between 1 and 5 days before entry into the UK. That just requires a little planning before journeying home to visit a vet that can issue the treatment and sign it off on your animal health certificate, allowing you to come back into the UK hassle-free.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
If planning to take the Eurotunnel, their website has some excellent pages detailing all you need to do to travel with your dog. On the day, they even have a dedicated pet check-in area where you can show your dog’s documents and allow them to have a stretch before the journey.
Find out more about travelling on the Eurotunnel with your dog.
Brittany Ferries and P&O Ferries are both pet-friendly ferry operators, and you can take your dog with you on most of their routes. However, there are some restrictions and guidelines that you should be aware of before booking your journey.
Firstly, with both ferry operators, dogs are not allowed in the normal cabins, except for registered guide dogs. Instead, dogs must be kept in the designated kennel areas on the ship. These kennels are generally located on the car decks and are secure and well-ventilated.
When booking your journey, you will need to say that you are traveling with a pet. Some of the ships have designated pet exercise areas, where you can take your dog for a walk during the journey however you should check in advance to find out whether the ship you are traveling on has these facilities. If not, they will often allow you to take your dog to the top deck to do their business.
Pet friendly cabins:
On some ships, there are pet-friendly cabins. Brittany Ferries has four of them and their ships with pet friendly cabins are – Galicia, Salamanca, Pont-Aven and Normandie. Be aware though, that these often book up very quickly. There are also some routes with P&O Ferries that have pet friendly cabins and you can check their website to see if your route has that option.
Find out more about travelling with your dog on Brittany Ferries.
Find out more about travelling with your dog on P&O Ferries.
Dog friendly accommodation in Europe
Once you get to Europe, the options are endless! Most campsites will be dog friendly, but if camping isn’t your thing, Booking.com and Airbnb both allow you to search for dog-friendly accommodation options at your destination. Bringfido is also a great website to help you find dog friendly accommodation, restaurants and activities across many destinations.
Book your pet portrait session today
I hope this has given you some ideas and the confidence to plan a holiday the whole family can enjoy, dog included!
But if taking your dog on holiday with you this year just isn’t an option, and you’re looking for another way to make some memories with them, consider booking a pet portrait session with me.
It’s a lovely occasion for you and your dog and leaves you with photographs and memories you can cherish forever.