Taking pets on holiday
Is it a concern?
Should you or shouldn't you?
As summer fast approaches, many of us are planning a holiday or short break that we can take the cat or dog along on too, and this can in many cases limit your options of where to go and where to stay.
However, pet-friendly holidays are becoming more popular every year in the UK, and today, a great many places like hotels and resorts that previously did not accept pets will allow dogs to come along, with certain restrictions in place.
One good option for a holiday that your dog can join you on is going away in a caravan or motorhome to a caravan park or resort, or taking your pet to a campsite with you to enjoy the facilities and use as a base. Caravan and camping holidays and campsites are usually very welcoming of dogs, and holidays of this type are generally very popular with pet owners as a result.
If you are considering taking your pet to a caravan park or campsite with you for your holidays, the chances are that they will have a great time. However, it is important to understand that environments of this type often have special rules in place for dog owners, to protect the facilities themselves and to keep other guests safe, and there are also simple good practices that pet owners should follow in such situations too, whether this is dictated in the site’s rules or not.
In this article we will share the etiquette and sensible rules that owners should follow when taking their pet to a caravan park or campsite. Read on to learn more.
If you have recently purchased your caravan or motorhome, or your pet has not travelled in it before, it is advisable to acclimatise them to it before undertaking a long journey. Animals can get anxious when travelling, particularly in an unfamiliar vehicle, so a number of short journeys building up to your long drive to your holiday destination can make all the difference. Remember to reward your pet with a short walk or treat each time you make a stop.
Some experts suggest parking up overnight on your driveway prior to your holiday and spending the night in your caravan or motorhome there with your pet. Let your pet choose their spot within the vehicle and provide any treats there.
Find out the rules first
Most caravan and campsites welcome pets, but they will often have specific rules for pets , and if you breach them, you may be asked to leave.
Find out for sure before you make a booking whether or not pets are welcome, and if there are any additional fees or restrictions in place for bringing them along.
Additionally, when you check in, let the site’s owners know that you have a pet and ensure that you are offered a suitable plot for them. It can also be worth asking if any of the other guests nearby have pets of their own too, and letting them know that you’ve got a pet with you as well, and finding out how well their pets get on with others so that you can manage introductions.
Use good judgement
Even if there are no formal rules in place for the site you’re visiting, always display good judgement and consider the impact of your pet’s presence on others. For instance, your pet might be allowed everywhere on the site with no restrictions, but even so, keeping away from some spots may be wise – such as dedicated children’s play areas.
Additionally, if there is a bar or clubhouse on site, this might also be somewhere you can take your pet to, but avoid busier periods and be prepared to take your pet out if they aren’t having fun, or are bothering other people.
Always clean up after your pet
It should go without saying, but the normal rules still apply to picking up pet poop when you’re on holiday, and you should be vigilant about ensuring that you always bag and bin your pet’s waste.
Pet owners that don’t pick up the poop give other owners a bad name, and might directly impact upon the willingness of campsites to allow pets to visit in the future.
Keep your pet contained and under control
Your pet should not be allowed to wander around or find their own entertainment when you’re chilling out by your caravan or tent, and even if you know that your pet is impeccably trustworthy and friendly with both other animals and people, other guests might not want to have a pet hanging around.
Keep your pet on a lead when walking around the site, keep them close by when you’re using your tent or caravan, and don’t simply allow your pet to wander around and approach other people without an invite.
Be particularly vigilant about your pet scavenging food from others, especially when other people are cooking or barbecuing.
Make sure your pet is healthy and fully vaccinated
Your pet should be healthy and up to date with their vaccinations before you take them on a holiday of any type, both to protect them and to protect other animals too. Check your pet’s boosters are up to date, and take proof of their vaccination status in case you are asked to show this when you check in.
Keep their flea and worming treatments up to date
Campsites that welcome pets will often have lots of others there, which means flea and worming treatments are essential to keep yours from picking up parasites – or passing them on to others. Once more, check your pet is up to date before you travel.
Find out where your pet can run and play off the lead
Many campsites will have a dog walking field or set area, so ask about this when you check in so that you don’t miss it. The site’s owners might also be able to recommend other nice areas to walk in, and those that are best avoided.
Think carefully before leaving your pet on their own
If you need to leave your pet alone while you are on holiday, think carefully about this. A pet may not be sufficiently securely contained in a tent without a crate, and caravans can get very hot in the summer, potentially as hot as a car – which all pet owners know can be dangerous.
Don’t leave your pet in the caravan if the temperature is rising, and never use your car to leave your pet alone in either.
Something else to think about is how noisy your pet is – if your pet is apt to bark for half an hour or more after you first leave them alone, all of the neighbours will hear through the walls of a tent, caravan or motor home, so consider the impact on others before you leave them unsupervised.
Finally, make sure that your pet is microchipped with up-to-date information recorded for them on the database, and that they display a collar tag with you contact details on it too.
It is also a good idea to let any immediate neighbours and the site’s owners know what your pet looks like and where you are staying, so that if they do wander off, people will be better able to return them to you safely.
Pets in a moving caravan
Clearly this is not an issue for motor home owners but is it safe to leave your pet in the caravan when you are towing it
Useful equipment for holidaying with pets
You may not need all (or any) of this equipment but, before you travel with your pet, it is definitely a good idea to at least consider some it. What you decide on will depend on your and your pet’s preferences, but here’s a selection of what’s available. If you would like more information or specific recommendations regarding brands or models, your vet, caravan dealership, or pet equipment supplier should be able to lend a hand.
- Water bowls and food bowls designed to prevent spills and tipping while travelling
- Travel water bottle if it is not possible to offer access to a bowl at all times
- Short length of hose for washing pets after mucky walks – considering the alternative is muddy paw prints all over your floor and upholstery, this one is most definitely a good idea!
- A bucket and cloth will serve this purpose perfectly well if no tap is available for a hose
- Microfibre travel towels, which take up less space and dry quicker than traditional towels. As a dog owner myself I would thoroughly recommend Easidri towels (available from Amazon). You’ll be amazed at how much water they absorb!
- Removable, washable seat covers
- Fitting a fan to your motorhome, which kicks in when a certain temperature is reached, is a great idea if you’re planning a lot of summer travelling
- Tethers to keep the dog from wandering off outside the caravan or motorhome
- A bed or blanket to mark out your dog’s sleeping space
- Dog travel harnesses
You should also bear in mind that pet passports, microchips and certain vaccinations and worming treatments are compulsory when travelling between countries with your pet. Full information can be found on the Government website.pet