Holidaying With Your Dog
Balancing the travel bug with the needs of a much-loved four-legged friend can be a challenge. A new UK travel company is helping to widen choice and make the whole process stress-free for you…and for Boris (or Benji, Bertie, Bella, FiFi…)
The UK has an estimated dog population of 8.9 million, with a quarter of us counting them as a non-negotiable part of our lives. If you then consider we make around 72 million overseas visits a year and some 68% of us take a regular UK break, then clearly there are a lot of Brits having to carefully consider these four-legged treasures when planning our time away.
We spoke to James Starkey who works for Canine Cottages, a UK travel company set up by sister business Holiday Cottages to cater for the growing demand for dog-friendly holiday accommodation.
When was the company set up? And how did the demand for dog-friendly accommodation influence the early days of the business?
“We set up just two years ago in response to the ever-growing requests for dog-friendly holiday cottages and an increase in the amount of property owners offering this as an option. Word quickly spread, and we now feature more than 2,000 places in some of the most stunning UK locations.”
Give us a flavour of the breadth and type of accommodation you offer?
“We feature everything from cosy shepherd’s huts deep in Welsh countryside to beautiful cottages in the Cotswolds, and romantic retreats in Devon to properties with everything for your puppy.”
How has demand changed and have you found property owners becoming more welcoming of guests with dogs?
“We know dogs are a huge part of the family and having to leave them behind can be difficult, but we’ve found property owners more than happy to welcome at least one dog into their homes. Many lay on extra treats such as welcome hampers, tags for collars and special washrooms or areas. It’s now possible to enjoy a luxurious holiday cottage where your four-legged friend can easily join in the family fun.”
What do dog owners need to think about when booking accommodation?
“Every dog is different and will come with its own set of needs but, as a rule, we would encourage people to consider: Is there any outdoor space for the dog to run around? If there’s a garden or paddock – is it enclosed? Is there an area (such as a porch or washroom) where you can give Fido a rub down after a muddy walk? Are there restrictions on where dogs are allowed? Are there lots of dog-friendly attractions and days out nearby?”
Presumably owners need to consider the size of their dog, its exercise needs and to ensure it’s properly house trained?
“We know the canine-loving fraternity are pretty smart and know what their dogs are able or not able to do. Our website gives customers as much information as possible about the various properties and our team is there to answer any queries.”
At the time of writing, the rules for taking your dog to an EU country after 29th March were, well, about as clear as anything else Brexit related. One thing is for sure – with no deal, the UK will be treated as an ‘unlisted’ country and you’ll need to take the following steps to make sure your pet can travel:
• Your dog must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. It will also require a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the vaccination.
• Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
• The results of the blood test must show the vaccination was successful.
• You must wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before travel.
• You must take your pet to an official veterinarian no more than 10 days before travel to get a health certificate.
• If there’s no deal, pet passports issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU. • For up-to-date information, visit gov.uk or talk to your vet.
• Always remember to take bottles of water and a bowl with you for the journey, plus your dog’s favourite food, blanket, treats, towels, ball or toys. Secure your dog either with a seat belt/harness, safely in a crate or in a confined part of the car.
• If you’re travelling by car, a stop every two hours is just right to enable your pooch to stretch his paws, have a pee, a drink and enjoy the journey.
For more information
Images: Canine Cottages