Like many of you, we love to take our two dogs away with us when we go on holiday - we even took Sprocket on our honeymoon in a VW Camper to the Isle of Skye!
Whilst we're here to care for your dog if they can't join you, it is lovely to pack up your things and take the whole family away for a break, letting your dog explore new smells and find new awkward places to poop.
Dog Holiday Pre-Departure Checklist
Before you leave, it's a good idea to make a list of all the things to take for your dog to ensure a safe and fun trip.Here's the checklist we use:
Leads, Collars and Harnesses
If you are away to the country, you might need to keep your dog on a lead due to livestock.
In this case, it's better to have a harness for long spells on the lead as that eliminates the danger of throttling your pal when he lunges to chase a rabbit.
We use these Ezydog harnesses, as they can also be clipped onto your seatbelt for added dog safety on the road.
We've also started using Halti leads for our boarders, as they are strong and you can alter their size to suit the dog using clips.
Bed or Blankets
Taking a bed or blanket is not only to keep your furry pal warm, but the smell of home will also be comforting. This is why we ask you to bring your dogs' bed when they stay with us, as it reduces stress and reminds them of home.
Many dogs like a quiet corner of a room that they can call their own, without being disturbed or harassed and have a sleep. Of course, that's not always the case...
If your dog is a big breed, you might not want or need these. For little breeds, like our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, we need to either keep them dry, or get them dry quickly as they are so little and totsy they can get ill with the coldness.
We think of dog jackets as having two types - ones where you go out in the rain, and ones where you come back home wet, whether by accident or design.
In the "going out in the wet on purpose" category are these waterproof jackets from 3 Peaks which we find are easy to get on and off, and keeps our two dry on top.
One tip we have with these is to keep the velcro sections by the dogs head always connected, and push/pull the coat over the head of the dog instead. Otherwise, the loud noise of ripping velcro right by their ear could cause them to fear/hate the coat, making your life much more difficult.
The second type are those to dry off after becoming wet, or to warm up after swimming or just generally cold conditions.
We use these little jackets called Equafleece, the blue version modelled on Sprocket here.
Designed initially for horses, they do two things. One, they draw moisture away from your dog's skin, drying them off quicker. And two, they are nice and cosy, helping your dog heat up if they have been in for a swim.
We have found that after a swim, our pups can be quite shivery and tired, but putting these on them gives them a second wind and off they go running amok again.
Our other type of jacket is a onesie, and Indie's comes from Willowheart Onesies, a growing local Edinburgh business that creates bespoke, hand-made jackets for your pup. They are frankly adorable, and create quite the talking point when out and about! They are really well made and durable, washable and very funky.
This is more important in the summer months, but worth having year round.
Some people are squeamish about removing ticks, and if you are prepared to pay a vet to do it, that's fine. But for those of us who enjoy getting far away from civilisation it becomes more important, because the longer a tick is on your dog (or you!) the more damage it can do, including passing on Lyme Disease.
There are a range to choose from, but our current favourite is this kind of tick remover, which acts like a claw from a soft toy arcade machine and is very easy to use, and makes tick removal a very simple process. We've also been known to use these tick twisters, and although effective, we found that they can can be a bit finicky with smaller ticks. We've also tried these ones, but they aren't worth the money.
Don't even think about using a sharp pair of tweezers/some vaseline/a hot knife either as they can make matters worse:
For more information on ticks, how to deal with them and how to dispose of them, here's the Lyme Disease Action link (which contains photos of ticks, in case you are one of the squeamish ones).
I mean, obviously bring food, unless your dog has to hunt for himself. At least remember to take his food and water bowl, don't make him a complete barbarian.
For out and about, we carry a bottle along with one of these sorts of plastic bowls, but we've also seen folk use bowls made out of a lighter material It's a handy little bowl, and really useful for when you'll be away from any source of freshwater on your walks to keep pup hydrated.
We've reviewed the poop pots before, and are generally favourable to them. Here's a photo of Cheryl modelling her finery.
We've since added a caveat to the review as we find ours sometimes pops open when it's full, but that shouldn't necessarily put you off.
They are still great for when you are far from a bin and Fido lets loose the dog poops of war, and when not totally full they keep the smell in and mean you are not leaving poop all over the country paths.
Something else we would recommend is never breathing in the air when you open the pot up. The concentrated stench is enough to knock out a hippo.
Here's one I bet you didn't think of.
Whilst vinegar is an important part of any chip diet, it's also a magic ingredient for removing the smell of fox poo on your dog. Many people recommend tomato ketchup for this, but it is the vinegar in the ketchup that does the trick. Also, if you have a white dog, we really don't recommend you covering them in red sauce...
I've tried to find the science behind why this works, but have drawn a blank. I guess the only way to prove it to you is to give it a try next time your dog rolls in a present from Mr. Fox. I sometimes know how Boggis, Bunce and Bean must have felt...
So what have we missed? Anything slightly unusual that you take on your hols?
And remember, for when you can't take your dog, we're here to help and make sure they get a holiday of their own!