Let’s face it… If there has been one phrase that I’ve hated throughout lockdown, it’s definitely been “lockdown puppies”. Many people have decided to take that next step in their lives, including us as we got our second dog in the first lockdown. This – coupled with the fact that staycations are about to boom – must mean that a lot of puppies are about to go on their first holiday!
With our first dog in tow we visited Italy and France when Meiko was only 4 months old. Ragnar however, hasn’t been so lucky. We managed to get away on a caravan holiday to Exmouth last year, but even then he suffered in the heat in the UK… let alone going abroad. So, I’ve put together this little list together to cover some of the items I have found really useful when travelling around. This can either mean travelling for a holiday, or even just a big day out.
Water had to be the first item on my list, as it is so important for your puppy/dog to stay hydrated on their big day of exploring! Without having considered it before, you may not think about where you get your drinks from when you are thirsty. A sit down at a cafe maybe? A trip to Tesco? You four legged friend however, doesn’t get the same luxury drinking out of a bottle.
I have been caught short too many times to count… either pouring water into carrier bags or dog poop bags for my pooch to use as a water bowl. You can get lots of great foldable water bowls to pop into your handbag, like this one here. Some also come with a water bottle, so you are always have a water back up available.
It’s always good to think about where you are going to get water from next. In mainland Europe, it’s quite common for towns & cities to offer free water at fountains – I haven’t found this so true in the UK. In this case you may have to carry some supplies in your bag!
Cool mats have a gel like substance inside which – when activated – cool down. This is comforting for your puppy as it will cool its paws and therefore its core body temperature. These are usually designed with travel in mind so often come with a carry pack or will fold up to fit in your bag. They have become very popular in recent years, and can be found in some supermarkets – otherwise I have found one here.
Microfibre towels are great for human travels, but also for doggy travels! Is your dog wet and muddy? Dry them up with a towel. Is your dog hot? Cover the towel with water to act as a cool mat if you don’t have one! The benefit of microfibre towels is that they are very light and easy to carry around. You can get these in most camping & sports shops. I have this one, which is currently 70% off!
A Boot Buddy
You may have seen these on Dragons Den a few years ago, but we received one for Christmas and it is really useful for muddy paws! You simply fill up with water tighten the top so it doesn’t leak. Then, you can loosen the bottle top when you need to squirt and scrub the pups paws before they get in your car, house etc.
You can get a fantastic GPS tracker with Vodafone. The upfront cost is £20, and then the SIM costs £2-3 per month depending on the subscription. We attach these to our dogs just to give ourselves some peace of mind – especially when we are unfamiliar with the area!
If it’s a particularly hot day, or we are travelling in a hot country, we have found that a refillable spray bottle works really well for cooling our dogs. Some dogs aren’t comfortable with this, but we will simply fill up with water and spray over a dog’s back keep them wet and as cold as possible. Just a note on travelling in the heat – always be careful to check the floor. Even in the UK, pavements can get really hot; If it’s too hot for your hand then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws! Also… be sensible and take regular rest.
Hands free lead
This one is an absolute no brainer from us, as we use hands free leads on daily walks anyway! We use this one from the charity 8 Below Husky Rescue.
If travelling to mainland Europe, you may have to get your pup to wear a muzzle if you are planning to use public transport. I can’t find any similar information for UK transport, however. We use this soft muzzle (pictured above) and seem to get on with just fine.
Stake & extended lead
If you’re not too comfortable with your dog being off lead, then a stake & extended lead could be an option to give you a little more rest. Think a picnic in a field, but there is nowhere to tie your dog… here’s where something like this can be really useful. We are constantly using this when camping.
That’s it for now! Honestly I think I could carry on this list forever… There are other things to think about: making sure your car is suitable for travel with you dog, making sure you keep them satisfied on long journeys, pet passports & dog food suitable for travel. Most importantly however, is double checking that your pet insurance covers you for travel, if you plan on leaving the country. Are there any items that make travelling with dogs easier for you? I would love to hear about them!
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