We know that travelling with pets can be a mystery to some and as wonderful as it sounds we know it can be tricky to accomplish. Travelling with a pet can be an incredible experience for those keen to Travel far and away. but that don't want to be completely on their own. Your devoted dog, or maybe even your loyal cat, could be a perfect travel companion and we are going to share with you how possible this is and what you’ll need for travelling with pets!
What Do I Need For Travelling With Pets?
- Choose a pet friendly destination
- Create a pet travel checklist
- Choose your mode of pet transport
- Choose your pet food for travel
- Ensure you can clean up their pet poop
- Stretch their legs and exercise
- Keep their pet grooming schedule
- See your vet before you go
- Plan pet holiday activities
- Find pet friendly restaurants
Step 1 Choose a Pet Friendly Destination
You can make some really fun plans once you decide on your destination. First, you need to decide if you want to stay in the UK or go abroad. EU travel is more complex, and we will cover that later. The UK is full of fun destinations from city breaks to seaside trips and some adventures deeper into the heart of the countryside. The range of options available in destinations, facilities, and experiences will depend on how you choose to live. Are you planning on
a) staying at a pet-friendly campsite
b) backpacking with your pet in the country with basic arrangements
c) checking into a pet-friendly hotel for more of a luxury experience or
d) living out of a camper van?
There are pros and cons to each. Living out of a camper van is great as this gives you a home away from home where you can both be comfortable and more adaptable regarding where you travel.
Campsites are very popular with dog owners that need the freedom to live with their pet without the restrictions of a hotel. But, a hotel can offer amenities and lavish treats for a more high-end experience. The downside of a hotel is that there may still be a lot of restrictions and rules to follow, you might be short on choice, and it could be a lot more expensive. Campsites have that freedom, but there are the stress and expense of bringing everything you need with you.
It is no surprise that the Peak District was named one of the top places in the UK for dog-friendly holidays by Global Grasshopper. The combination of dog-friendly establishments and the vast countryside and walking trails make it the ideal getaway.
Dogs with a taste for the seaside are also more than welcome in many of the brilliant self-catering cottages of the Welsh coast.
If you are looking for a city break, Edinburgh is well-recommended for a more gentle pace and there are lots of businesses more than happy to cater to canine customers.
To help you choose a pet friendly destination try our Tips For Travelling With Pets Guides
Step 2 Create a Pet Travel Checklist
Wherever you end up staying, you must create a pet checklist as early as possible. A clear checklist details everything from medication and grooming products to toys, clothing, food bowls, and more. The sooner you get thinking about what you take the better. You don't want to have a flash of inspiration or a great piece of information from a friend with days to spare and no way of getting that item in time.
Also, early preparations allow your pet time to get used to things. If you bombard them with new items in a strange location, they could become confused and distressed. Give them time to use these new products in their own home. This could be a new bed, leash, dog coat, or anything else that they need to use with ease on the trip.
To help you create a pet travel checklist start with some of these 15 items
Step 3 Choose Your Mode of Pet Transport
Driving to your holiday destination is the best idea if you are travelling with a pet. You have more control over the journey than if you were travelling via public transport. A long journey by train with a dog isn't always that fun as your dog may feel confined and confused. There are also no opportunities for breaks and walks unless you break up the journey. Driving also makes more sense if you plan to head into Europe. It could be a long road trip, but you can still stop regularly for toilet breaks, snacks, exercise and to detour to interesting sites.
Securing a Pet in a Vehicle
Camper vans and caravans are great for dogs because they are literally in a mobile home. They can enjoy the space and the creature comforts that they would not get if they were in a car. Car travel is more complex. Dogs can't be left to wander around, as this a safety issue on the motorway.
Thankfully, there are some great dog car seats and harnesses available for their security. Get them used to the device before you travel. Also, plan plenty of breaks and make a fuss of them for being so good every time you stop. If you want more guidance on keeping pets safe in the car, check out this RSPCA advice.
Here are a number of items that will help with the road trip with pets.
Step 4 Choose Your Pet Food For Travel?
You both need to eat on holiday, and there is no excuse for cheating on your pet's diet. A change in feeding routine and too much rich food could be very bad for their health. That is why it is often better to bring your own food supplies of brands they like and to take a self-catering approach to accommodation. A pet-friendly hotel could have an extraordinary menu and facilities, but this won't work for fussy eaters. In addition to bringing your dog's favourite food, consider some collapsible bowls. They are really easy to transport and clean out.
Step 5 Ensure You Can Clean Up Their Pet Poop
What goes in has to come back out sooner or later. You still have the fun of cleaning up after your dog and providing regular toilet breaks on your travels in those welcome relief areas. The best pet-friendly hotels could have somewhere on their property where pets can go and you can dispose of the waste with ease. On campsite and out in the countryside, it is down to you. You still need to be a responsible pet owner with plenty of poo bags and you need to dispose of the bag correctly.
Don't be one of those people that hangs the bag on a branch. You can get clips for your leash to attach the bag until you come across a bin. Also, make sure to do all this well-away from your closest neighbours on the campsite. They don't need the drama of dealing with the smell or anything you missed. It is a little easier for cats as long as you bring a biodegradable cat litter tray and plenty of litter for your accommodation.
Step 6 Stretch Their Legs and Exercise
Toilet breaks while camping are also a great time for dogs to get their daily walk or to get some more exercise in. some pet parents are guilty of letting exercise slide on holiday. But, there are plenty of opportunities for hikes and playtime. You can go swimming at the seaside or in lakes. You can play games on the campsite with other families.
If you are staying in a city and a cat or dog hotel, make sure to make the most of local parks or explore the city streets while sightseeing. Just be careful not to overdo things if you have a smaller dog with lower exercise needs. A secure dog carrier is a great idea when backpacking and hiking to give little legs a rest and to give your dog a better view of the world.
Step 7 Keep Your Pet Grooming Schedule
Holidays are a great opportunity to relax and get a little pampering. A little manicure or spa treatment to help you escape the real world for a little while.
During your stay, you can look out for groomers and pet salons in the area that will provide a great service for your pet too. This is fine for those on city breaks. But, those roughing it on the campsite need to handle bathing and grooming in a different way. You still need to make sure that your pet has everything they need to stay clean and healthy and you need to find a way to make that happen.
If your dog goes rolling around in the mud, you still need to bathe them, even if it is via a dodgy shower or an outdoor water tap. Take a little bottle of natural shampoo. Also, make sure to take all their necessary medication, flea and tick treatments, and a small first aid kit in case of cuts or bites.
Step 8 See a Vet Before You Go
On the subject of medication, it pays to take your pet to the vet before you travel. They can go through any important health checks and receive any shots so they aren't at risk. There may not be much you need to do for a week at the coast, but you do need to up to date with rabies shots and certification if travelling over to the EU. Your vet can also make sure that you have enough of any prescribed medications to last the duration of the trip.
Here is a full list of your vet and document checks before you travel.
Step 9 Plan Pet Holiday Activities
Much of your holiday will take place outside where your pet is free to be themselves. This is a perfect chance to explore somewhere new and see the sights. Plan a route through the city where you can take in lots of interesting places each day.
You can enjoy finding landmarks and taking photos of the city and your pet can enjoy the sensory experience of the streets and local parks. If you are heading to the seaside or out into the countryside, think about some sporty activities based on your pet's abilities. You could go for a bike ride with a pet trailer on the back - either bringing your own in your camper van or hiring one at a local rental. You could do the same with a kayak if you have a dog that loves to be in the water. Think about what your dog loves best and cater to those interests.
Step 10 Find Pet Friendly Restaurants
You will both need plenty of hydration and a good rest after all that physical activity. Look out for cafes that are proudly pet-friendly. They will happily provide water for your pet and may even have treats for sale alongside their baked goods. You can stop with a coffee and watch the world go by while your pet has a little snooze at your feet. You could also get your drink to go and do this in the park, curling up together in a shaded spot where you can continue to build your bond.
How to Travel With a Pet in the EU?
Things get a bit more complicated when it comes to travelling outside of the UK. Not only do you have more miles to manage, and the potential for some language barriers if you ever need help with your pet, but there are some legal requirements too. However, those of you that love travelling across the channel can still plan a great holiday with your pet if you both jump through a few hoops first.
What Pet Documentation Do I Need for a Pet Holiday?
The most important thing is to get all your documentation in order with your health pet certificates. This means proof of a valid and up to date rabies vaccination and a more formal animal health pet certificate. This replaces the previous pet passport issued in Great Britain, which is no longer valid. Also, be aware that some countries also require proof of tapeworm treatments. Ireland and Northern Ireland are on this list. So, if you thought about hopping over on the ferry for a quick break in Dublin or Belfast, there are important checks at the other side.
Here is a blog on what you need documentation and vet visits you need. Brexit and requirements.
What Is a Pet Microchip and Why Does My Pet Need One?
Your pet also cannot travel in the EU or Northern Ireland without a microchip. Getting your pet microchipped is basic common sense for security anyway, but the last thing that you want is your pet running off in a foreign place with no form of identification on them.
You can also increase security for your pet by adding a tag to their collar or harness with more details about who you are and where you are staying. Some pet parents also like to fit GPS trackers to their pets when away from home. This makes it so much easier to track an adventurous pet down if they wander too far. To learn more about the current rules and regulations, check out the UK Government guidance on taking your pet abroad.
What Are the Best Places in the EU When Travelling With a Pet?
Fancy taking your dog to France or or taking a dog to Spain? If you do decide to head into the EU with your pet, there are lots of options. This Wanderlust guide has some brilliant tips on dog-friendly cities in the EU. You can
a) create an interesting road trip in the countryside of France or Spain - or maybe both - and detour into some major cities.
b) find a pet-friendly hotel and local cafe in the heart of Paris and explore at your leisure.
c) head over to Berlin to see why people rave about their dog-friendly dining options.
d) See what is so special about the new dog Beach at Levant in Barcelona.
While there is a lot to consider when travelling with pets, this preparation and planning is all part of the fun. Enjoy the process of finding all the best products and tools to make your trip so much easier. This could be a new leash, carrier, GPS collar or a whole lot more. Enjoy connecting with other pet parents and seasoned travellers to hear their advice and recommendations. Enjoy browsing your options in destination, accommodation, and activities to plan the very best trip possible for your both.
Don't forget your pet friendly Spotify Playlist! Yes, there is such a thing and you can find out more about it at my dog is a queen!
To conclude: There are legal requirements and aspects of travelling that are a little more stressful, such as the vet checks, pet passports, and making sure that a chosen establishment meets your standards. However, it will all be worthwhile when you are in the middle of the perfect trip making wonderful memories with a very happy pet.