Top Tips for Taking Your Pet on Holiday

Mr Hoggle, the Border Terrier is paddling in the sea looking towards the waves with his tail towards us
Mr Hoggle, the Border Terrier enjoying a paddle

We are a family who have been used to having various pets over many years including dogs, cat, rabbits, hamsters, rats and gerbils.  It was therefore a no brainer to us to make our holiday accommodation pet friendly.  If you haven’t taken your family pet on holiday with you before, then read on for some hints and tips. 

There are many reasons to seriously consider taking your pet with you on holiday.  We are looking mainly at dogs here but a lot of this can equally apply to cats, rabbits or other small pets.

The pluses

  1. Who looks after your pet the best?  Bringing them with you reduces the worry and stress of having to arrange for someone to look after them.
  2. Even if you need to pay a bit extra to bring them with you then it is certainly cheaper than paying for professional boarding or kennels.
  3. Having them with you stops you worrying about them while you are away
  4. Let’s be honest – they are part of the family so having them with you allows you all to spend quality time together.
  5. Bringing your dog encourages you to explore the local area more and keep your fitness level up.  Having your four-legged friend with you also helps to break the ice and get to know people wherever you are staying.
This mainly white, collie cross dog is walking across the beach with his reflection showing in the wet sand
Lovely reflections in the sand

Preparation is the key to success

Check with your vet that your pet is fit enough to travel.  If not, then maybe it would be better to consider leaving them with a trusted friend.  Make sure that all vaccinations and flea treatments are up to date and the address on the microchip is up to date.  Your dog should also have a collar with an identity tag on it.  Consider getting an additional disk with your name, holiday address and mobile number on it.  That way you will be reunited with your pet as quickly as possible if they should get lost.

Check your pet insurance will cover you for whilst you are on holiday, and you have the name of a local vet should you need it.  Your accommodation should be able to help you with this.

Look up local businesses that are pet friendly or that run activities specifically designed for having fun with your dog.  Many areas now produce lists of pubs and cafes which welcome dogs.

Make sure you bring your dogs blanket or bed.  They will settle better with familiar smells for sleeping on.  Don’t forget their favourite treats and toys.

Let your accommodation provider know that you are bringing a pet.  They will then be able to let you know what they provide and you know what items you don’t have to bring with you.

While on holiday with your dog

Try to stick to their usual routine as much as you can.  Sticking to the same time for walking, food and toilet habits will help them to settle into a new environment.  Make sure that they have enough quiet time during all the fun and excitement of a holiday.

Put their usual bed where they are likely to spend most of their time.  This will help to give them a sense of security.

On arrival let them spend as much time as they need to explore and accept the new surroundings.

DO NOT leave them alone in unfamiliar surroundings in case they should feel distressed without you.

All the usual do’s and don’ts for keeping your dog safe are even more important while on holiday as you will probably be as unfamiliar with the area as they are.  Make sure you always keep them on a lead particularly when exercising around farm animals.  If spending the day on a beach make sure they have enough shade to prevent heatstroke.

Keep an eye out for any changes in behaviour as changes may be an indication that they are stressed or ill

A chocolate labrador is fast asleep in its bed under the window of apartment 2
This sea air is so tiring

Hints & Tips for Taking Other Pets on Holiday


To be fair you can’t own a cat – they own you.  They need places to hide to feel safe and in control.  If you cat isn’t used to travelling, then spend some time helping them to get accustomed to their carrier.  Add some cosy bedding and make sure they have some tasty treats and favourite toys in it so that they learn to associate it with good times.

A Birman seal-point cat is sitting on thre dressing table of apartment 4 looking up through a skylight
Not everyone brings their dog as this visitor to apartment 4 proves

Rabbits and Small Animals

Again – familiarity is key when travelling with small animals.  If they have any regular companions stress levels are reduced if they travel together.  Smaller animals like hamsters can travel in their usual cage if it is small enough.  If a carrier is used then put some familiar bedding and toys in it first.  They will need constant access to food and water while travelling and they are kept away from the frightening presence of larger dogs and cats.

Packing List

Aksel, the Border Terrier puppy is lying on his back, playing with a toy in the lounge of Apartment 3
Aksel the pup having fun in apartment 3