If you're planning to pack a suitcase for your pooch this summer, make sure you follow this useful guide.
As all dog owners know, it can be heartbreaking leaving pets at home or in a kennel for an extended period of time. But with a quarter of the UK population owning a dog, an increasing number of places are willing to accommodate them.
According to research by Camping in the Forest, who manage 10 dog-friendly campsites in the New Forest, more than 40% of us feel anxious about leaving our dogs behind when we go away on holiday. As a result, more people are opting for trips where dogs are welcome too.
Make sure you get the most from your adventure away with your pups, by following these tips.
1. Have a test run
Sleeping in an unfamiliar place can be a nerve-racking experience for your dog if they've never done it before, but getting pets used to sleeping in different places from a young age will stand you in good stead. Try taking them to a friend or family member's house. If you are planning on camping, it's a good idea to get your dog familiarised with a tent by pitching it in the back garden.
2. Things to remember before you go
Before you head off, make sure your dog is up to date with any treatments, vaccinations and general health checks. Ensure they are microchipped and that pet insurance is valid. If you're heading abroad, check to see if there are any local diseases to be aware of and chat to your vet first. And if you're going somewhere in the UK, don't forget to pack your doggy essentials - including a bed so they can get their rest somewhere familiar and comfortable.
3. Pack a doggy survival kit
Having a successful trip is all about being prepared and having everything to hand. So what should you include? Basics like food, water and toys should be top of the list. While it's tempting to feed your pooch scraps from the BBQ, it's not good idea to interfere with their eating habits. Some destinations, such as camping sites, request dogs are on a lead when near to wild animals or endangered plants. Having both a short and extendable lead is a good option - ensuring your dog is always under control.
4. Stick to a schedule
Dogs love a routine and they know when it's time to eat and when to go out for a walk. Sticking as close to your dog's regular routine as possible adds a sense of normality in an unfamiliar situation, which will help to reduce their stress.
5. Be a responsible dog owner
If you're out and about exploring, make sure your dog doesn't chase livestock, birds, foxes or even wild ponies. "It's important to be a responsible owner to ensure the local wildlife isn't disturbed and that the local environment is preserved for future generations to come," says Bob Hill, sites manager at Camping in the Forest.