Dog ownership requires a huge amount of consideration. Aside from the day to day financial implication and time allowances you also have to consider how you will manage when the dog can’t be with you. Its lovely to have some down time away with family but always tricky to fine suitable care for your favourite companion. This search can be stressful, and dogs are such a huge part of our lives that we want them to have a holiday of their own whether they are with or without us.
This short article explores the considerations for finding the right dog care for when you’re away and also focuses on the fun you can have if you plan a holiday to include your dog.
Kennels and Dog Care Establishments
Here is a list of points to consider when finding a good dog care set up…
The business should be insured and licensed
There should be previsions for checking the dogs over a 24-hour period – avoid establishments who leave the premises at 5pm and don’t return until the morning!
Kennel environments should be safe, secure and have heating as required
There should be notes about each dog on the outside of the kennel
You should be able to visit whenever you like
All should have a vaccination and parasite control policy and attending vet
Good establishments will provide you with updates while you are away
You should be privy to routines, staff changes and persons to contact for information
There should be an evident exercise policy in place – go an observe how this works
Understand what happens if your dog falls ill
Staff should have some degree of kennel management qualification and / or dog handling knowledge
The establishment should be professional and above all the staff should be passionate and caring
Home from home boarding
All of the above apply, but there should be also be agreements between the individual and the dog owner as to the guidelines for the dog’s care
Most will require a trial run prior to any booking and this is recommended
The carer should not have other work commitments that compromise the time the dog is left alone
The dog should have their own area away from the main entrance/exit of the home
The garden should be safe and secure
Contact between the carer and the owner during their absence is arranged
A contract of terms and conditions should be expected
The carer should hold a council licence for home boarding
If children are present at the accommodation, then check how the dogs are managed around their care. Sometimes this isn’t always a good idea, so you need to be confident the carer is experienced enough to manage and has an appropriate area for the dog to be away from the children.
Taking them with you…
You can happily travel abroad with your pet thanks to the pet’s passport system. To ensure you don’t have any last minute concerns it is advisable to start the pet’s passport process at least 6 months before you need it.
The government website provides all the detail for this. https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/pet-passport
Your dog should be used to the car before embarking on a long journey so plan ahead for this too and make sure if you’re driving then you factor in lots of short breaks for them to stretch their legs and for you to take care of their basic needs.
If you are using a 3rd party for air or sea travel, ideally follow a recommendation and check reviews. You should be provided with a full itinerary of your dog’s whereabouts and necessary allowances for provisions during travel. Consider whether the process is viable too, putting your dog under the unavoidable stress that this type of travel would create is not worth it for a holiday lasting just a few weeks.
An easier option and one that is just as much fun is to holiday with them in the UK. Many places are happy to accept a well behaved dog. There are also specific dog focused websites that list accommodation where dogs are made very welcome. They will also generally give you guidance on where dogs are accepted in the local area.
Make sure you take the dogs bed with you and find out if the owners are happy for you to leave the dog in the property on its own or if you have to have them with you all of the time. It is also advisable for them to have a 2-3 day settling period before leaving them anyway, even if they are well behaved.
Top tip – don’t book a caravan in warmer months. Although the UK isn’t known for its hot summers, caravans heat up quickly and are just as dangerous as the car if you leave your dog shut in, so you won’t even be able to pop to the shop and leave you dog for a few minutes.
Research your area well before you go – some beaches have summer restrictions and so it may be wise to look for an inland holiday with lots of scenery and lovely walks.
Tried and tested places are:
Cornwall and Devon– beautiful dog friendly beaches, welcoming café’s and lots to do outdoors
Yorkshire – lovely walks over moorland, welcoming pubs, lovely dog walking community – you could walk your dog on your own here and find lots of friends!
Lake District – beautiful scenery, lovely places for dogs to swim and lots of interesting walks.
Get planning for next year and enjoy!
Jo Croft MSc