Keeping your dog safe on holiday in the UK

Pet friendly

Posted by Ed Roberts on 17th March 2022

Keeping your dog safe on holiday in the UK

Keeping your dog safe on your holiday cottage break in the UK should be a high priority. It’s fun to treat your four-legged friend whilst you are on your holidays and it’s a super chance to spend quality time with your pets so, with a little forward planning, you can stay out of harm's way. 

We have compiled this handy blog to help you to refresh yourself or, if you are a new dog owner, to discover new measures to consider on your dog-friendly holiday to keep your pet safe and out of trouble. For more inspiration, read our blog on what to pack for your dog on holiday.

For now, keep scrolling to pick up tips for both before your holiday and during.

Keeping your dog safe on holiday:

Before you go on your dog-friendly holiday

Health checks for dogs on holiday

Health checks for dogs on holiday

Plan ahead before leaving for your holiday. First of all, jot down the details of the nearest vet in case you run into anything unlikely. If your dog has a medical condition, make sure that you are well stocked up on their prescription drugs and any other meds they may require in advance. If your dog is quite elderly, or a mere pup, then book in a timely check-up with your regular vet at home before your departure. 

Helpful tips in brief:

  • Stock up on necessary meds for your dog
  • Book a check-up with your local vet
  • Find out the details of the closest vet to your holiday home

Pet Insurance for dogs on holiday

Pet insurance for dogs on holiday

Is your pet insurance up to date? It’s a worthwhile investment in your pet’s livelihood. Read your policy to see if the cover extends to holidays and what other implications being away from home may have. It’s possible that you can amend your policy to cover your dog for the duration of the holiday. In many cases, your agent may offer an extension on your own holiday insurance to cover travelling with pets. Whilst it is not a legal requirement to insure your dog on holiday, it is a worthy consideration.

Helpful tips in brief:

  • Buy pet insurance, or check your current policy covers holidays
  • Find out what your policy covers

Microchipping / Identification for dogs on holiday

Microchipping and name tags for your dogs on holiday

It is a requirement for dog owners in the UK to both microchip their pets and ensure they are wearing a collar with the owner's name and address on it. Microchips are good if your dog gets returned to a vet, but the collar works in the immediate term. Recovery from a vets can be costly, and a simple collar tag could save you some heartache and time.

Helpful tips in brief:

  • Microchip your pet
  • Buy an engraved name tag 

Dog safety while out walking

Your levels of fun need not be capped on your dog-friendly holiday as long as you stick to some easy-to-follow rules when on your dog-friendly days out

You can keep your dog safe by researching the part of the country you are visiting, especially in rural and coastal areas. The Ramblers Association (directed by Natural England, The Farmers Union, and The Kennel Club) has also published a very handy Dog Walking Code full of reminders why certain things are asked of dog owners whilst out touring, for instance, the need for dogs on leads in certain public places and around livestock and wildlife. 

Dog restrictions have been put in place for the safety of your animal and to protect important habitats for wildlife such as ground-nesting birds or to reinstate plant growth. Sometimes they have been put in place to ensure the safety of livestock. Lively dogs can cause stampedes and stress in cattle or they can simply make wild animals and birds expend unnecessary energy at the cost of conserving warmth. 

Sheep worrying is a very serious offence; for valuable context, read this article published by the BBC stating that 15,000 sheep in the UK were killed by dogs in the year of 2021. 

Please be mindful in built-up areas that not everybody is comfortable with dogs. Keep your pet on a short lead and make sure your hound is happy to be petted by small children or strangers for instance. If your dog is nervous or potentially aggressive, a muzzle or a yellow jacket will work as a visual deterrent for those that may otherwise wish to make contact with your dog in a friendly manner. 

Try to avoid leaving your dog unattended or tied up outside a shop or pub, as they may find it stressful if separated from you in an unfamiliar place - or worse, they may be stolen. Dog theft is a very real threat and, unfortunately, thieves can strike anywhere and at any time, so why improve their odds? Keep your lovely dogs with you at all times whenever and wherever possible.

Helpful tips in brief:

  • Avoid leaving your dog unattended
  • Keep your dog on a lead wherever requested
  • Observe and comply to dog exclusion zones
  • Follow the Dog Walking Code
  • Always pick up and dispose of dog mess responsibly
  • Keep your dog on a lead around livestock – sheep worrying is a serious offence
  • Manage your dog's stress levels in built-up areas

Keep your dog safe in the water

Dog safety in the water

Many dogs love swimming, yet most dogs regardless of the breed hate bath time! But not all dogs can swim, and there are some mythical dogs that love having a wash. So what is it with water and dogs?

If you want to teach your dog to be happy in the water, there are many factors to consider. Starting your pet off when they are a pup is a very good way to get them used to being in the water and in the bath. The optimum time to get them used to water is when they are between five and 12 weeks old as this is a critical socialisation period. Whether you live near a riverbank or a beach, you can familiarise them with the water by playing a game of fetch in the shallows whilst having them on a long lead. Reward your mate for good effort and success along the way as they swim further and further out. Before you know it, you will have a confident aqua dog!

There are many, many dog-friendly beaches around the UK where you and your pets are more than welcome. If your dog likes a swim, these are great places to have fun. In the unlikely event of your dog getting swept out by waves, if it’s a swimmer, it's likely that your pet can get out of trouble by itself. Popular advice is such that you shouldn’t risk your own safety for your pet as they will probably return on their own. 

Dogs aren't the only ones who need to keep safe on the beach; read our beach safety guide to ensure your whole family has a fantastic trip to the coast that's memorable for all the right reasons. 

Helpful tips in brief:

  • Visit dog-friendly beaches
  • Visit lifeguarded beaches
  • Don’t risk your own safety to rescue your dog – if they can swim, they will often rescue themselves

Enjoy your dog-friendly holiday 

Our dog-friendly cottages are perfect for pet owners that are planning a trip to remember with their four-legged best friend. There are so many benefits to taking your dearest and best along with you on a dog-friendly holiday – no kennel fees, no separation anxiety (on both sides), and lots of quality time to enjoy. 

Our dog-friendly properties often contain some very handy features. Many have enclosed gardens, outdoor taps for muddy paws, dog baskets and toys, a welcome pack full of goodies and a list of dog-friendly pubs and attractions in the local area. So enjoy your holiday and remember to stay safe.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.