Six Spring and Summer staycation tips for Lancashire dog owners
As we approach Easter bank holiday weekend with all Covid travel restrictions lifted, you may be lucky enough to be thinking of jetting off abroad for a city break or a family holiday this year if your can stomach the queues.
Despite many tempting holiday offers abroad, UK staycations bookings are still in high demand this Spring and Summer. There are many reasons why a staycation is a great option for a family holiday, one is that your furry friend can enjoy a break too.
Dog expert and founder of TreatYourDog.co.uk Heather Hiley gives her top tips for taking your dog on a staycation.
Travelling with your dog
You are now ready to head off on your break - but you have one very important passenger (along with your children or partner!) and it is vital your dog is safe and secure when travelling by car.
The safest and recommended option is to buy a dog crate.
Once you have got the right size, style and design to suit your needs and your dog, the first advice we suggest is to have a few trial runs to get them accustomed to the crate.
Take your dog for a spin around town or to the shops so they get familiar getting in and out of the crate. It is a good idea to use positive reinforcement, their favourite treats or toy and make it as snug and inviting as possible.
Here are our key points for crate safety:
Safe and secure: Place the crate on the back seat or in the boot of your car and secure it with the straps provided. Soften the inside of the crate with blankets too. If you must use the front seat - ensure your passenger airbag is turned off.
Cool breeze - Just like us, dogs like to breathe - keep the windows open slightly or have the AC on at a reasonable temperature.
Stretch those legs - Drivers need to stop after a couple of hours, especially middle aged ones and so does your dog.
Note, if you don’t use a crate and your dog is in the rear seats, they’ll need a belt or you could face a £5,000 fine.
Never leave your dog in the car on a hot day (above 20 degrees celsius) and a dog should not be left in a car for more than five minutes, regardless of the temperature.
Cracking a window does very little in the hot months and there have been numerous reports each and every year of dogs dying as a result of being left in a car.
Once you get over the initial shock of 25 degrees (let's be hopeful), sunshine and a nice cool breeze in the UK, you are probably going to head for the beach. When you do, it is important to ensure your dog is safe when out in the sun.
Our advice would be to keep your dog on a long lead so it can enjoy the sandy stretches whilst you have peace of mind. Also ensure you keep them cool with a shady area, consider how hot the sand may be (test with your bare feet), have fresh water available and have a few of their favourite toys to hand too. You can also consider a cool vest and cool mat to help keep your dog cool all day long.
In the water
If your dog enjoys a dip in the sea or a river, a dog life jacket is a great way to keep them safe whilst swimming. Dogs are great swimmers but if you’re at the beach, lake or river for a whole day, they could get tired. A dog life jacket will help with buoyancy and help with energy levels, especially for older dogs.
Once out of the water, it's a good idea to have a drying coat to hand as waters in the UK can be notoriously cold, even in summer. If your dog does go swimming in the sea, it is advisable to have some freshwater to hand to rinse off the seawater too.
Caravanning or rental
The good old British tradition of going camping & caravanning. Loved by millions of us every year come rain or shine. But what if we take our dogs with us?
Similar to cars, caravans can get very hot very quickly. It is not recommended to leave your dog unattended in either. If you are staying in rented accommodation, some will not allow you to leave your dog unattended, and we would not advise this either as they are not familiar with their surroundings and anything could easily spook them.
If you are camping you can use a dog crate to keep them safe and secure overnight, you never know who might forget to zip the tent up!
A great option for a campsite is a spike which you connect their lead to. This gives them space to move about. If you have a bit of spare space in your car or trailer, you could also build a dog fence area for them.
Remember to pack a gazebo, as if the weather is hot, this gives your dog an easy option for some shade.
What the experts say
Heather Hiley said: “Holidaying in the UK with your dog takes a bit of thought and planning, but it’s fantastic for all the family. So many pandemic pooches might not have been at a kennel yet or spent long periods of time on their own. With the rising costs of everything, leaving your dog at a kennel or home boarder can add £350 to the cost of your break. This simply isn’t an option for many people who are already struggling financially. The best thing about taking your dog on your holiday is being able to see how happy they are to be away with you.”