There’s never been a better time than now to explore the British Isles with your pets. Whether it be a holiday taking in coastal paths, pretty villages with wooded valleys, lakes and fells, heath and moorland, beautiful forests or pretty riverside and canal walks, it’s all waiting for you all.
We’ve put together some helpful advice and tips travelling to you your destination with your pet, by sea, by air, by road, and with a little extra planning, you’ll enjoy a wonderful holiday together.
With so many stunning views around Britain hiring a luxury holiday retreat is perfect. Even better when dogs and other pets are allowed to stay.
Rural Retreats have hundreds of beautiful dog-friendly cottages for rental breaks throughout the UK including Devon, Norfolk, Lake District and Wales.
Homes catering for 2 to 28 guests, and some cottages allowing more than one pet.
Luxury retreats get booked up quickly so don’t leave it too late to book your preferred location and stay.
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9 TIPS Enjoying Dog-Friendly Holidays
- 1. Coastlines and beaches lift restrictions so a long walk on beach or clifftop is possible in cooler months. Dogs can get cold and wet so jackets can help to keep them dry particularly colder months.
- 2. Pet insurance details are good to have to hand, as are microchipped details. Make checks on local vet practices before leaving just in case of any emergency.
- 3. Don’t forget to pack any necessary dog medication. Taking some flea and tick treatment is handy if the location may require it. Country and coastal wide life can differ enormously to that of your local home.
- 4. Poo bags must be used around and outside properties at all times, as in all public places.
- 5. A dog collar and ID tags are a legal requirement for any dog when in a public place. A good idea to bring both long and short dogs leads depending on where you’re walking.
- 6. Dog toys are essential. Balls for when out walking and throwing or on the beach, tug of wars toys when back at the property providing one-to-one companion time.
- 7. Towels are a must for wiping muddy paws after being on beaches, long muddy walks and before entering your rental property and dog shampoo if they are needing a bath.
- 8. Don’t forget the dog food and treats, enough to last your pet staycation.
- 9. Travel bottles full of water for during the day and bowl and for the long journey to and from the holiday property.
7 TIPS Holiday Dog Walking Reminders
Being in a new environment always provide new challenges –
- 1. Dog walks around cliff edges can be dangerous and dogs can run over the top and fall. Cliff edges can be prone to crumble and give way at any time. Likewise walking right under cliff tops can also be precarious due to rock falls.
- 2. Take note of all warning signs, including those on beaches where there may be quicksand or fast tides.
- 3. Selected designated coastlines and beaches lift restrictions 1st October to 30th April each year so dogs can be taken on them under local councils PSPO’s orders. Check local authority websites before booking retreat breaks and stays.
- 4. Watch dogs if they enter water and seas to ensure they don’t drift or get caught in tides.
- 5. Keep your dog on a short lead whenever near farm animals.
- 6. Try to avoid walking near to fields when lambing in spring. Mothers get very protective of their lambs if they feel threatened. Large areas of land can be protected under PSPO.
- 7. Stick to designated walkways and follow all warning signs including bird sanctuary areas requiring dogs to be kept on leads during ground nesting times.
Holiday Dog Checklist – Remember to take with you –
- Dog collar with an ID tag
- Dog long and short lead
- Dog harness
- Poop bags
- Dog Jacket
- Drying off towels
- Dog bowls
- Dog food and treats
- Dog crate (collapsable) or bed
- Pet insurance and microchip details
- Medicine and pills
- Dogs toys
- Travel water bottle
- Dog shampoo
- Optional muzzle
- Car Training Tip. If your pet hasn’t been on a long journey before, then it’s best to try and train them beforehand by slowly building up the time spent in the car before you take a break, 2 or 3 weeks before you travel.
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With 54 million pets residing in the UK, pet sitting is big business. International Trusted Housesitters launched in 2010 creating an innovative approach to facilitating high-quality pet care and ethical, authentic travel experiences at a minimal cost. Just one yearly charge for owners and no other money exchanges during the year. Sitters get to stay in some wonderful global destinations with no hotel costs.
Nomador is a french company and you’ll find lots of opportunities to pet house sit in french speaking countries on their website.
Housecarers.com were a business set up in 2000, and has built up a steady reputation with global locations.
UK Animal Aunts established since 1987 organise pet sitters for an extraordinary range of pets, from horses to snakes, parakeets to tortoises, in the UK.
Housesitters UK has been in the business for many years providing professional house and pet sitters with access to clients through their easy to use website with many satisfied Feefo reviewers.
Pet sitting is an alternative for owners and their pets to using kennels and catteries for those clients on short or long term absences, who also want their homes to be looked after providing not just extra security but companionship for their animals.
Many people don’t own pets but would love to spend time with one when they have time.
BorrowMyDoggy a unique concept launched a few years ago, connects dog owners with trusted local people who would love to look after their dog. Easy to arrange walks, playtimes, overnight stays and holidays. The aim of helping dog owners when they need it and provide people without dogs to enjoy quality time with one.
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Before you book-in your beloved pets for the first time to any kennels or cattery, view the laws required by the Government. Animal Boarding Establishment Licence (England, Scotland, Wales).
This provides you with a clear insight into the expected welfare that your pet deserves whilst you are absent and your pet being cared for by someone else. The RSPCA explain this in detail.
Pet ‘sitters’ who look after a smaller number of animals in their own home may also require a licence.
Kennels and sitters should have their up-to-date details always available for inspection, including valid business insurance, proof of business ownership and be DBS Disclosure and Barring Service, checked.
Before booking any kennel or cattery follow our 5 TIPS
- 1. If it’s the first time you’ve considered putting your animals into kennels or a cattery take the time to visit the kennels or cattery in person and observe the welfare standards offered. The excellent kennels and catteries get booked up very quickly in advance by satisfied owners, booking back-to-back yearly slots.
- 2. All cats and dogs must be up-to-date with their vaccinations and boarders will require proof of this before they accept pets. They will also need to know of any special dietary and medical needs your pet requires.
- 3. The owners will not only need to know your emergency contact details and telephone number but require details of your pet’s regular veterinary practice details.
- 4. Boarders allow homely comforts such as a blanket to pop in the pet’s kennel.
- 5. Preferably dogs but particularly cats being territorial should have a kennel with solid walls between them and other cats
Pet Holiday Insurance
Pet Travel Insurance Policies
During the past ten years, there has been a growing trend to take your pet with you on holiday and to prevent anxiety issues both for your pet and yourself.
More than two hundred travel companies are offering you travel insurance cover for eventualities such as cancelling a holiday or you become ill on holiday, or experience lost or stolen property.
The huge increase in pets travelling abroad with their owners on holidays has been noticed by the travel industry and insurers likewise, particularly where pets in unknown and new environments especially can behave out of character causing claims.
So it comes as no surprise that there’s just a handful of providers that offer travel insurance for you and your pet outright. Churchill Insurance, Direct Line, World Wide Travel Services and Crystalsure.
Pets covered are normally cats and dogs.
Many insurance companies will cover you on your travel insurance if your pet goes missing whilst you are away and need to cut your holiday short, or suddenly requires life-saving treatment for a new condition.
If you are away on a family holiday, your insurance plan may only allow one adult to return home to attend to the pet.
Some policies allow you to cancel travel arrangements if your pet’s ill-health has damaged yours or has suddenly developed a new condition before you are due to travel.
One must read the small print to find what a policy will or will not cover and there are more companies that will provide limited pet cover as add-ons to policies.
BUT, it’s important to check your travel insurance policy and assess if you need to arrange add-ons and in tandem, check your existing annual pet insurance cover to be able to arrange the best and most comprehensive cover you can.
If in doubt, it is best to contact your insurance provider who may be able to offer some pet add-ons at no extra charge.
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10 TIPS Keeping Dogs Cool
- Keep plenty of freshwaters available in pet bowls around the home 24/7.
- Avoid taking dog walks at midday and early afternoon when the temperatures are at their hottest.
- Make sure your pet’s dog bed isn’t in direct sunlight and that your pet has areas around the home to access all day where there’s the shade.
- Keep walks to grassy cooler surfaces rather than hot tarmac pavements and surfaces that can burn pet paws.
- Feed your dog an hour after exercising or at least an hour before.
- Trim your dog’s coat if they are particularly furry, long-haired breeds to help cope with the warmer temperatures.
- Cooling coats are also an option. Jackets that can be refrigerated and worn by your dog to keep them cool is known to reduce their temperature.
- Always carry water and a travel bowl for your thirsty dog when out on journeys.
- Use sunshades on vehicle windows to help lower the interior temperature.
- Try and park your vehicle in a shady position to keep the temperature lower in warmer months if travelling with pets.
It is not illegal to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle in the UK but if the animal becomes ill or dies as a result, one can be charged with animal cruelty. If convicted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, drivers can be jailed for six months and slapped with an unlimited fine.
Signs of dogs with heatstroke are panting heavily, drooling excessively, drowsy, uncoordinated, lethargic, vomiting, even collapse. For more information, you can contact the RSPCA’s specialist helpline on 0300 1234 999.
Remember never to keep dogs locked in cars for long periods during hot weather. Never lock your dog or cat in a conservatory as these get unbearably hot and don’t annoy your pets – they too can get irritable in hot weather
Other signs that dogs are struggling in the heat are –
- Dogs losing their appetite. This is not necessarily a problem unless they consume significantly less food or vomit after eating.
- Dogs with dark coats absorb more sunlight and overheat more quickly.
- Dogs with lighter coats are more likely to get sunburnt.
- Pugs, bulldogs and greyhound pets are more susceptible to suffer in high temperatures and any dog with a thick coat.
Cats on Holiday
*If you decide to take your cat with you then there are various considerations to make as cats are feral and can easily feel threatened in a new environment and may try to escape. Recommendations are always to try and keep them in the environment they know best.
Cat sitters are an ideal alternative to catteries if you do not mind someone living in your home whilst you are away, Ideally, a member of the family or friend is best.
It leaves your pet content to stay in their own home without distribution to their routine.
It’s essential to leave supplies of preferred cat litter, food, and any medicines to last the time you may be away. and all the information about your cat habits likes and dislikes.
Sitters need to have your contact details and telephone numbers and preferably all written down for them to refer back.
Paid Cat Sitters
Cat sitters can be found by contacting your registered vet or through friends who may have paid sitters in the past.
The paid cat sitter will be able to provide you with their insurance details, previous references from other cat sitting duties and if they are DBS checked.
Additionally, they should be providing you with details of how they will groom your pet and how often they will play with them.
Cat Holiday Checklist
If you’re going on holiday then a cat carrier is essential that allows a cat to see out when travelling, is comfortable, allows the cat room to get up and turn around and above all else, is secure. Your cat should wear a collar and ID tag and perhaps considerations made to microchip your cat before travelling if not already. A collar with a GPS tracking system attached is also a consideration.
The checklist includes travel food and water replenishments, food and water bowls, litter tray, litter and scoop for arrival destination, comfortable blanket, scratchpad, brush and comb, and toys. Any medications being administered should be taken on holiday and a small first aid handy packet of essentials.
Providing well loved items will make your pet feel at home and preferably kept in the confines of it’s new home as letting it have outside access immediately may encourage your pet to run off feeling threatened and frightened. You may find our feature about finding missing pets and repatriation when travelling useful to read including international travel and pet passport requirements
Professional Cat Sitting Companies
There are now several reputable cat sitting services across the UK and globally in this fast-growing area of the pet industry. These businesses offer a register of vetted and checked sitters who will come to your home and look after your pet free of charge for days and weeks.
Sitters benefit from staying in a lovely new location free of charge and you have the peace of mind that your cat is being looked after as well as your home. It is important to read the reviews left by owners. Registration is necessary and a modest fee paid yearly. Dog sitting companies generally offer cat sitting services and suggest contacting those mention in our dog kennels and sitting feature, above.
Cats and Hot Weather 6 TIPS
When its hot most cats will try and find shade in and out of the home and that can include sandy litter trays.
- Keep the home as cool as possible providing shady spaces.
- Cats must have plenty of freshwater throughout the day and night.
- Their coats should be brushed regularly and trimmed.
- Have access to shade in the house and outside the house in the garden.
- Be fed little and often. Food can smell, dry quickly and gain bacteria if left out for long periods.
- Like dogs, try and prevent cats from going out during the hottest times.
Cats like dogs may lose their appetite in hot weather. They can vomit or eat very little which should be cause for concern. Cats should never be locked in a car or conservatory.
Cats and Heatstroke
- If your cat is –
- Panting heavily
- Appearing to be upset or distressed (and can pace around trying to stay cool)
- Dribbling more than usual
- Foaming at the mouth
They are likely to be affected by warm weather being the early signs of heatstroke.
8 IMPORTANT TIPS TO KEEP CATS COOL
- 1. Move the cat immediately into a cooler area of the house.
- 2. Shut the curtains or blinds to avoid direct sunlight entering the room.
- 3. Use air conditioning if you have it.
- 4. Put a fan on in the room to keep the temperature as cool as possible.
- 5. Get a fresh bowl of cool water NOT ICED WATER. This can shock your cat.
- 6. Soak a towel in cold water and wrap gently over the cat over the fur for no more than 5 minutes.
- 7. Watch over them until they return to normal but if in any doubt ring your vet or the PDSA emergency number for further advice. Helpline call 0300 1234 999.
- 8. Move their litter tray into this room and bring in some kibble that they can snack on when they feel like it.
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