Taking your dog away on a dog friendly holiday or a break away with friends should be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend quality time with your pooch but sometimes it turns into a nightmare, your pup might get unsettled staying somewhere new and present behaviours that they usually don’t at home or become stressed and anxious. But don’t let worrying about how your dog will behave on a trip away from home stop you from adventuring with your pet, because there are things you can do to make it as stress free as possible.
So how do you help your dog to keep calm on holiday? Read on to find out our top tips.
Preparation is always the key to everything, pet friendly holidays for us usually involve visiting numerous dog friendly pubs and cafes. My spaniels are well used to these environments and do not get overwhelmed but that’s only because they have been desensitised to them by visiting frequently. So if your pooch usually stays at home when you visit the pub try and take them with you a few times in advance. Similarly if you intend to look round a few towns and do some shopping but you and your pooch normally only enjoy country walks introduce them to the hustle and bustle of urban environments in advance.
There’s no smell like home
Taking a few things that smell like home such as a couple of favourite toys and a blanket is is an enormous help in getting your dog to settle. Dogs navigate the world mostly by their acute sense of smell so familiar smells really do go a long way to putting them at ease, just remember not to wash them first!
The main thing that I plan for when I take my spaniels away is where they’re going to sleep. You can call my pups spoilt if you want but they often turn their noses up at sleeping in beds provided by hotels and holiday cottages so I usually take their own bed with me. Now they have a super, special one from at Ivy & Duke, The Lounger (Waterproof), which is perfect for trips away. I mean honestly, who doesn’t get a better nights sleep in their own bed
Ivy and Duke are a British company and all their products are crafted here in the UK, without exaggeration The Lounger (Waterproof) bed is the most well made that my dogs have ever had – there is actually a race to claim it in our house! It has a thick memory foam base and is warm and comfortable for the girls to relax in. The icing on the cake is that it is incredibly easy to wipe clean and the cushion cover is fully machine washable and is easy to get on and off. Ivy & Duke have a superb range of waterproof dog beds and travel mats that not only look aesthetic but are robust and fit for purpose, I mean is it even a dog friendly holiday if your pooch doesn’t come back from an adventure wet and muddy at some stage? That’s why I think an easily cleanable, waterproof bed really is a necessity.
Sometimes of course it’s not possible to take your dog away with you and so if they have to stay with a pet sitter or in kennels I still recommend you let them take their own bed and toys. Mind you if they are lucky enough to stay in The Country Dog Hotel maybe you don’t need to worry about bedding because Ivy & Duke beds are provided for all residents – will your fur friend even want to come home?
Routine is important to most dogs, mine know exactly when to expect their meals, tricks for treats training and late night walk for example so I try to stick to their schedule as closely as possible when we are away from home, especially in the fist few days until the excitement wears off a bit. It is also wise to stick with food that your dog is familiar with because the last thing you want is your pooch to have an upset stomach.
We often go and stay with various friends who have their own dogs and one thing that I have learnt is that it is best to introduce the furry ones on a walk or in the garden rather than inside the house and until you are really sure of the pack dynamics feed the dogs separately.
Calming an anxious dog
There are various calming sprays and supplements for dogs that you can use to help your dog to cope with a change in environment if you feel they might get stressed. Personally I am a big fan of natural products. When Maya was younger she was very excitable and over enthusiastic when meeting new people and I found that a lavender based spritz used sparingly on her blanket or bandana worked well. It is really a matter of trial and error in terms of finding out what suits and works for your dog though and I would suggest testing out your chosen method before you go if your dog is inclined to be anxious.
Some dogs find travelling in the car a trial in itself, maybe they associate the car with a trip to the vet or being dropped off at kennels and not seeing their humans for a while, in which case a few trips in the car to well loved walkies will probably solve the problem. A few do need a bit of extra help, especially if they suffer from motion sickness and there are many products on the market to help with this.
One thing you can’t go wrong with though, no matter what is making sure they have a comfortable and safe place to travel and the Waterproof Travel Mats from Ivy & Duke look just the job to put in their travel crate or on the back seat if your pups prefer a car harness. In fact I have been so impressed by The Lounger (waterproof) that I am definitely going to replace my girls mats with Ivy & Duke ones when the time comes.
Basic Training is something that I guess we should all be reinforcing daily but we’re only human and sometimes some of us let things slip a bit, (well I do anyway) but no matter what I always brush up on Maya and Lucia’s ‘Recall’ and ‘Settle’ before a holiday as well as their Wait, Stay and Steady because even if those behaviours are rock solid at home a dog can behave unpredictably in strange settings so the extra practise will not go amiss. I also make sure that I have a local vets number stored in my phone, just in case and obviously that their chip has up to date details.
It’s probably a given that on holiday your dog will enjoy more exercise than normal and that’s great for tiring a pup out and expelling nervous energy, but remember to take in to account you pets current fitness levels and always keep them well hydrated. Another great tip is to take spare collars and leads with you and I have been grateful that I did on more than one occasion.
To me a dog friendly holiday is one that my pooches can relax and have fun on just as much as us humans and with a little forethought my dogs and I always do as I’m sure you will too.
Love Sal, Maya and Lucia xx
*** This post is sponsored by Ivy & Duke and we also received a complimentary Lounger Bed (Waterproof) as part of this collaboration. Why not have a look at their site and browse their fabulous range of luxury dog beds.