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Planning a Pet Friendly Caravan Holiday

  • 24th Jul 2018

dog-car-holiday

Considering the fact that over 58% of dog owners in the UK arrange their holidays around their pet, it's pretty safe to say that we are a nation of pet lovers. Although the number of pet owners has fallen slightly since 2012 with just over 56% owning a pet of any type, that's still a lot of people planning holidays with their furry friend in tow.

Choosing the perfect location for your holiday can be tricky when you need to factor in your pet, with lots of things to take into consideration, including:

  • Is the site pet-friendly?
  • Are there opportunities for walks/play/exercise?
  • Will the accommodation be comfortable for both you and your pet?

Of course, that's not to mention all the extra packing that goes with taking a UK break with your dog. Luckily, there are plenty of places suitable for a dog and their family to take a break, with lots of walking opportunities and plenty of trees to sniff!

Choosing A Place to Stay

When it comes to choosing somewhere to stay, you'll want to ensure that you choose a dog-friendly caravan holiday site. Luckily, this information is usually available clearly in the brochure or via the site's online page. There may also be information available on how the caravan site management expect your dog to behave during your stay.

This will often include keeping your pet on a lead when on site, ensuring your dog doesn't bark for long periods of time and picking up any mess your dog leaves. Although more rules may be in force depending on the site you choose, if you are unsure, it's always best to get in contact before travelling.

When you've found a selection of sites that welcome pets, you'll want to consider the types of activities you'd like to get involved in while you're away. If you are looking for a peaceful holiday amongst nature with lots of walks for you and your four-legged friend to partake in, you'll want to look for a countryside caravan site. Search the local area for plenty of open spaces to run, including opportunities for walking and exploring to keep both your minds engaged and active.

Alternatively, beach-front caravan sites can offer plenty of open areas and coastal walks with the added bonus of the sea to paddle in. Make sure to plan ahead and ensure that any caravan sites you choose to stay in along the coast also lead or have access to a dog-friendly beach.

Packing and Preparing Your Pooch

When you're planning a pet-friendly holiday with your dog, there is more than just your own belongings to pack - you've also got to get a doggy bag together for them! Make a list of all the things your dog uses or has access to on a daily basis and use this to plan your packing list.

The types of things you'll want to pack as a necessity include:

  • Water and food bowls - collapsible versions are available which are perfect for lightweight travelling
  • Your dog's preferred food to keep him or her well-fed while you're away
  • Bags to collect your dog's mess. There will be strict rules about this on the site so ensure you are a good pet owner and bring enough to last for the whole of your stay
  • Water bottle or water bowl for use when out and about
  • Dog's towel, for drying off or wiping down muddy paws - investing in a microfibre towel can be useful as they absorb a large amount of water and dry quickly; they are also compact!
  • Lead and/or harness. Most sites will expect your dog to be on the lead whenever you are on site
  • Bed and/or blankets, depending on what your dog prefers to sleep on at home
  • Any toys or comforters your dog likes. This will help him feel comfortable while travelling and staying overnight somewhere different
  • Your dog's favourite treats. Your pet definitely needs to be rewarded for all their good behaviour when staying somewhere new
  • Any medication your dog needs to take while you are away

There are also a few extra bits of equipment that you might consider bringing to make your stay easier:

  • Stairgate to block off areas that you may not want your dog to have access to
  • Seat covers/old sheets to cover soft furnishings in the caravan or your vehicle and protect them from muddy paws

Before you begin your holiday, if your dog has never travelled before and your caravan site is some distance away, it's a good idea to acclimatise your dog to the car environment. Spend a few days gently encouraging them to get in and out of your vehicle of their own accord (rewarding your pet when they do so). Then, take your pet on some shorter journeys so they get used to the feeling of motion. Ensure they are securely buckled in using a seatbelt dog harness or, ideally, a separate cage in the rear.

When you're travelling long distances, you may want to factor in some extra time to ensure your dog gets enough toilet stops and opportunities to stretch their legs and have a short walk. This can also be a good way to wear out excitable dogs so they are calmer during travel.

While You're Away

When you get to your caravan holiday site with your dog, you'll probably want to take them for a short walk first, rewarding them for their good behaviour on the journey.

Let your dog have some time to get used to all the new sights, smells and sounds of the site and your caravan before starting to unpack. Let your dog have access to their bed and/or blanket and put down some water so they have somewhere comforting to wait while you settle yourselves in.

All that's left for you to do is enjoy your holiday with your dog! Whether you choose a coastal location or a countryside caravan site, once you've both unpacked and had some time to settle, your dog will be excited to join you for some holiday exploration. 

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