Are you planning a day out, trip or holiday? Home or abroad? Camping or hotel? Car or plane? Taking your dog? The questions are, of course, endless and this is one you will have asked yourself if your dog is a much loved part of the family. Travelling, taking a trip or holiday with your dog can be lots of fun providing you take the time to make the right arrangements for you, your family and your pet as poor planning can ruin a holiday for all concerned.
If it is not possible, or you do not want, to take your dog with you, then do you have the number of a good and reliable pet sitter or boarding kennel who you trust? If possible, find a local one by word of mouth as other people experiences are invaluable to provide a service which is right for you and your pet. Are your animals vaccinations up to date to go into a boarding kennel including kennel cough? And have you let the kennel owners or the pet sitter aware of any food allergies, medicines or peculiar habits fido has?
On the other hand, if your four legged best friend is joining you then read on. Forward planning is the name of the game to make sure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible and does not cause you any unnecessary headaches when it comes to travel, accommodation and activities.
But before you take any trip with your dog, whether it is to the local park or a little more far flung, it is worth bearing in mind some basics. Make sure your dog has a securely fitted collar with an up to date address, telephone number and maybe your vets' telephone number. For holidays and trips further from home some vets recommend having a disc inscribed 'I am on holiday' with a mobile telephone number and maybe the number of a responsible friend or family member who is willing to be a contact in case of an emergency. It is also worth investing in a microchip for your dog for extra piece of mind it gives for a relatively low cost. So with the basics covered, and maybe your dogs training is as tip top as it can be to ensure the best possible behaviour during the trip, will mean that you are now ready for the next part, the fun part - planning your trip!
The pet friendly holiday market has boomed recently, especially with the rise of the 'staycation' (holidays at home within Scotland, England, Ireland or Wales).
There are various sources you can try to find the best holiday for you and your family including the 4 legged variety.
Camping remains a firm favourite of many and most campsite welcome well behaved dogs. The advantage of this is that the sites are often in areas which have good access to walks and trails. In the north if England (almost south Scotland!), the Hadrian's Wall Camping, Caravan Site and Bunk Barn is a good bet, being very dog and child friendly on level tent sites and excellent site facilities. This is a beautiful area of the country with walks along the entire 73 mile route of the famous fortified wall, meaning that you can make them as long or as short as you like.
If you are looking for something a little further south, then the spectacular South West Coast Path cannot be beaten. The varied 630 mile length of this walk runs from Somerset taking in the Exmoor National Park through to the breathtaking coastal scenery of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. It can easily be broken up into smaller sections and gives you the chance to walk on some of the finest beaches in England, an ideal place to try to tire out you canine companion, (but please observe the local authority rules about dogs on beaches at certain times of the year and remember to scoop any poop). Cliff top walks are also great fun and are the best vantage point for the glorious views, but remember to keep your dog under close control or on a lead here. The excellent Namparra Campsite near the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall is pet friendly and is well located with several beaches, cove and walks just waiting for you to explore them.
If camping is not for you, and you want to try something different, why not try a holiday especially tailored for dogs and their owners? The Royvon Dog Boarding and Training Centre in Wales offers 3 day residential packages for dogs and their owners. During the 3 days, owners can expects a warm a welcome as their dogs and learn new training techniques, behaviour management, leadership and understanding your dog and, of course, long hikes and walks.
Another option is a boating holiday. Your dog can become a waterdog on one of Britain's many miles of canals and inland waterways. A good company to try is Shire Cruises, which runs its canal and narrow boats through the deep, lush valleys of the Pennines and Yorkshire on canals which take you through remote countryside to the industrial heartlands of England. Canal holidays are great for dogs, and as canal banks are usually full of other dog walkers, your pet will have no shortage of company. Routes can be organised with Shire Cruises as a one way trip or return, plus day sails and shorter breaks may also be available.
Inspired? Your dog will certainly hope so! With such a plethora of choice available there will be something to suit everyone and information can be easily found on the internet.