If the thought of putting your dog into boarding kennels makes you twitch, you’re not alone. Although many pet hotels are flashier than some human hostelries, we just can’t shake the guilt.
Fortunately, there’s a growing market of alternatives. From home-sitters to doggy passports, we’ve found the best ways to travel guilt-free. Extra walks, sloppy kisses and ear ruffles guaranteed (for the dog, of course).
1. Get a pet passport
Taking dogs abroad is a growing trend. And – as long as your pet is a happy traveller – it’s easier than ever.
Dogs can travel to continental Europe with the EU Pet Travel Scheme. They’ll need an EU pet passport, a microchip, a rabies vaccination and a tapeworm treatment. Rules vary for most other countries but all the information you need is on the Defra website.
Bear in mind that only certain transport companies and routes allow dogs to travel abroad: download a list of them here. Your doggy jollies await!
Top tip: Travelling can take its toll on all of us, especially a little pooch. Make sure you have something comfy to carry them in: this Rivington Tweed designer dog carrier is ultra stylish, extra strong and so cosy you’ll wish you could fit in it yourself.
2. Book a dog-friendly staycation
Staycations can be just as amazing as jetsetting. Plus, plenty of places in the UK permit dogs. Best Western has won awards for its pet friendliness: it even offers a special doggie menu at some hotels (leash and potato soup, anyone?).
Airbnb is another great place if you’re looking for self-accommodating stays: all listings state if pets are allowed (if they don’t list it, it means they’re not). And if you’re looking for something special, The Telegraph has rounded up five hotels where dogs (and humans) are treated like royalty.
Of course, you’ll want to head out. For places you can eat without leaving your dog, type your destination into DoggiePubs. The website recommends hundreds of places serving food and drink across the country.
Top tip: If all else fails, grab a doggy blanket and go for a picnic. This pure wool Sidworth Tweed dog blanket channels the Knightsbridge ‘ladies who lunch’ vibe to a tee.
3. Get a dog BFF
The ultimate pooch-sitter is one that you know and trust. If you’ve got a friend or family member with their own dog, organising a reciprocal arrangement can be exceptionally handy. You look after their dog when they travel and vice versa.
Top tip: Relax! If you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure a happy holiday for your dog while you’re away, then enjoy it. You can always buy them a present for when you come back: this yellow Bow Wow dog bow tie is smart, sunny and easy to slip onto your dog’s collar.
4. Hire a doggy-sitter
There are hoards of dog lovers out there, willing to look after pooches simply because they adore them, not to get paid. More than 300,000 of them are on BorrowMyDoggy alone. The site connects dog owners with local dog lovers, so you can find verified local borrowers and meet them for a ‘Welcome Woof’.
Not only can it save you a small fortune in kennel costs, you know your dog is going to have a fantastic time. Annual memberships cost £44.99, which includes 24/7 vetline, third party liability insurance and the chance to find a great friend for your pooch.
Top tip: Leave a checklist for your dog sitter. Include your dog’s feeding schedule, how often to check their water bowl, any behavioural problems, where they are/aren’t allowed, when to give them a treat and important information such as the vet’s phone number and address.
Remember to make sure your pet is cosy and easy to spot on walks while you’re away. This Hoxton Tartan Harris tweed dog coat is made from a tartan design designed by and exclusive to LoveMyDog.