By Jayne Martin
For many dog owners their pet is a much-loved member of the family, so when it comes to going on holiday, leaving them behind is not an option. Thankfully holiday home owners are wising up to this and you can now find fantastic dog-friendly properties in stunning locations so your four-legged friends don’t have to miss out.
1) There’s a big difference between “we accept dogs” and “dog-friendly” so it is wise to do your research. Call up the booking agent or owner and find out exactly what the dog policy is. How many dogs are allowed? Which rooms are out of bounds? And remember, if you allow your pet on the sofa at home they’re not going to stop when they’re on holiday, so check what the rules are with regards to furniture.
2) Check what dog essentials are provided in your holiday home. Some well-equipped homes will provide everything from dog bowls, beds, old towels to help rub down muddy and sandy paws, food serving forks, poop bags as well as treats and/or balls. You may also like to check if there are blankets or throws to help cover and protect furniture if needed.
3) It may be seen as a bit of a luxury but does your holiday home have under-floor heating? Dogs love to curl up on a warm floor and it’s an effortless way of helping to dry off damp paws quicker.
4) Consider your dog’s safety. Does the property you’re considering have an enclosed garden or gates that can be closed to prevent our four-legged friends going AWOL? Also while out and about exploring, be vigilant for potential hazards such as cliff edges, farm animals and busy roads. If in doubt, keep them on a lead.
5) Most properties will allow dogs on the ground floor but not upstairs. If the property is more than one floor, ask if a stair gate is provided to help prevent our pups sneaking off upstairs to find a comfy duvet for a snooze.
6) If you’re heading to the coast, make sure you clue up on which beaches allow dogs before setting off. Many dog-friendly beaches do have restrictions that change depending on the time of year. Tourist information offices are great places for finding maps of dog-friendly beaches, but if you’re lucky, there may be a map available in your holiday home.
7) Before you go, it is worth doing some research into which nearby restaurants and cafes allow dogs. You don’t want to spend hours trekking from pub to restaurant to find one that does. Similarly, with tourist attractions, you don’t want to turn up only to find dogs are not allowed. A good dog-friendly holiday home should supply such information and tips within their information pack.
8) While no-one wants to think about things that could go wrong on holiday, sadly accidents do happen. Get to know where the nearest vet is in the vicinity of your holiday home in case of an emergency. Search for it online and print off a map or directions and leave it in your car.
9) When traveling long distances with your pet remember to keep them secure and safe in the vehicle so they don’t distract you while you are driving, or injure themselves if you need to brake sharply. When you arrive at your destination, take your pet out for a long walk so they can become familiar with their new surroundings. And after a long car journey it’ll be good for the whole family to get a breath of fresh air!
10) Possibly the most important message is NEVER leave a dog in a car on a warm day for any amount of time as it can be dangerous and deadly. If you see a dog in distress in a car while on holiday, dial emergency.
Jayne Martin runs Gwelmor, a three-bedroom holiday home in Widemouth Bay, north Cornwall, which accepts up to three dogs. For details visit https://www.holidaycottages.co.uk/cornwall/north-cornwall/gwelmor or follow them on Facebook @GwelmorWidemouthBay, Twitter @gwelmor or Instagram @gwelmor.