Blog Digging Out A Pet-Friendly holiday


Digging Out A Pet-Friendly Holiday

By Helen Foster

If you share your home with pets, then you will be under no illusions whatsoever as to where your furry friend stands in the household pecking order… That would be right at the top! Little surprise then that so many of us want to travel with our pets on holiday. We also want them to travel well, so here are one or two tips to help them on their way.

If the thought of leaving your pampered pet at home is casting gloom over the excitement of getting away on a great break, don’t feel bad about it, because you are definitely not on your own.

According to a report by Globetrender Magazine, increasing numbers of owners refuse to be parted from their pets, with as many as 67% of Brits having holidayed with their dogs last year. Eurotunnel reports carrying more than two million dogs, cats and ferrets from the UK to Europe on holiday since 2001 and, with nearly a million people applying for a pet passport for their dogs last year, the number is clearly on the up!


Families that play together, stay together. And nothing says having fun at play quite like a scene like this, with mum, dad, the kids and the pooch all enjoying the beach together.

It may not surprise our pet pampering readers to learn that 28% of dog owners say they miss their pooches more than their partners when going away without them, while more than half of the 1,000 dog owners surveyed say they’d enjoy holidays a whole lot more with their pets on board.

Research has proven that holidays are happier with our furry friends on board.

Prepping for pet travel

You need to plan well in advance. Start by ensuring your pet has a clean bill of health, is chipped and up-to-date with all his or her jabs. A visit to the vets for a check over is essential, especially as you are going to have to ask your vet to provide a pet passport. These don’t come cheap, and can cost anything between £150 and £250. has all the information you’ll need to make sure your furry pal is good to go off on great travel adventures with you, together with lots of advice on what you need to do for a smooth journey.

When taking your pet on holiday make sure, well in advance, that they are travel ready and are up-to-date with their vaccinations and in good shape to get their pet passport.

Don’t forget to pack a favourite toy, or even a new toy, to both distract and comfort your pet during travel, as it is highly unlikely they will be able to snuggle up on your lap on a ferry crossing or airplane. A familiar scent can be very reassuring for them when separated from you during the journey.

Flying or sailing

Unless you are on a 100% drive-to holiday destination, you will need to check out the stages of your journey where you will take to the air or cross the seas and oceans with your pet. Recognising that they are missing out on valuable custom, airlines and ferry operators, like an increasing number of pubs, restaurants and hotels, are making their service a whole lot more pet-friendly.

You will need to do some research to seek out those airlines and ferry operators who offer the best deal and comfort for your pet. Check out their rules and regulations, as each provider has a different set of rules, but generally, your little friend will have to travel in a pet carrier or crate, most likely in the cargo hold. Some airlines will let you take small animals, such as cats or ferrets, into the cabin with you but they must be kept in their carriers, under the seat in front of you. Some airlines still won’t carry animals at all, one such is Easyjet, but it does provide a free housesitter service in conjunction with Trusted Housesitters.

When travelling with your pet, it pays to do your research into the options and costs available to you with the different carriers. They each have different rules and regulations.

A ferry crossing is less complicated, although again you will be parted from your pet for the duration of the sailing. You will have to leave your pets in your car on the car deck. So it’s a good idea to get them to go to the toilet before you board. Also, be sure that they have plenty of water and food in your car for the time they are alone in there, as you will not be allowed access to your car while the ferry is sailing.

There is often an extra charge for the carriage of your pets, but it will still be less expensive than putting your pet into a kennel, cattery or paying a housesitter while you are away. However, did you know that if you fly Virgin Atlantic with your pet they can accrue air miles of their own!

People travel with all sorts of pets. Dogs, cats, and even ferrets. Many cats are quite happy to walk on a lead with their trusted human in tow and I have certainly seen more travelling cats these last few years.

Before you head home, your pet will need to take a trip to the vet for tapeworm treatment and to get your pet passport signed again to get your pet through the airport. If your pet doesn’t meet the requirements, they may need to spend some time in quarantine, so always double check all the criteria and your documentation to make sure you aren’t going to be faced with any onward travel upsets.

Where can we go?

You can travel anywhere, as long as your dog, cat or other pet is comfortable with the weather conditions. A husky dog or Maine Coon cat, with their thick, tufty coats, and furry snow shoe paws, will likely be happier in the crisp, cold air of Finland in the winter than they are in the heat of a UK summer!

Foz do Arelho Beach, close to the spa town of Caldas da Rainha in Portugal is a dog-friendly stretch of sand that has a natural lagoon to one side, which also makes it very child-friendly and safe too.

An internet search will give you lots of direction as to where to find dog-friendly beaches, and there are lots more than you’d think. Each summer season, popular UK destinations such as Cornwall and Devon open up more beachy stretches to our pets, while there is no shortage of sandy swathes across the world where your dog – or indeed your cat – will be welcome. From Spain and Malta to far-flung Florida, there is a huge choice of sunny shores where your canine friend can splash and play with your family, although it is a good idea not to overdo the physical play during the hottest hours of the day.

Malta benefits from year-round sunshine and is a favourite winter escape. It also has more than its share of dog-friendly sands, such as the beach at Marsaxlokk pictured here. This fishing village is the oldest port on the island and is known for its Sunday Fish market – and there are stalls selling lots of other goods too.

There are few places where the welcome for our furry friends is warmer than in the UK. That is great news for our DAE members, because you have access to some of the best places in the British Isles for canine recreation.

Accommodation – what’s pawsible?

Timeshare accommodation is simply perfect for pet stays. There is so much more space than you get in a standard hotel room, so your dog or cat will have plenty of room to potter about. While on resort, you are likely to be able to take walks with your four-legged friend around the resort’s gated gardens.

Never underestimate the power of that home-from-home feel and the comfort you get in your timeshare. Your pet will appreciate being able to get comfy on a cosy sofa just as much as you will. They’ll greet you each day, relaxed, refreshed and ready for that long cliff walk…

Many of the resorts signed up to your DAE holiday exchange programme are pet-friendly so you can enjoy a holiday with your dog that will set its tail wagging! To help you find your ideal dog-friendly accommodation, use the Quick Links at the foot of our site’s home page.

There are few places where the welcome for our furry friends is warmer than in the UK. That is great news for our DAE members, because you have access to some of the best places in the British Isles for canine recreation.

Messing about on the water

If your dog could talk, he’d be sure to tell you that holidays don’t come any better for canines than having the English waterways as a playground. Taking a break on a canal boat really brings your family together like no other. It is such fun, and you can choose how many miles of the canal tow path you walk with your dog, or whether you will take time out to sit back on deck as you drift through the glistening waters and watch your special friend bounding along the path, from dawn ‘til dusk if you let them!

The English waterways are not only pretty places, packing the entire family on board – including your dogs and cats – is the perfect way to bring you all together for a great time away from the bustle of everyday living. As you can see from Canalboat Club at Hilperton Marina (C099), pictured here, the accommodation is a cosy and snug retreat after a day in and out of the locks.

Lakekand leisure

The UK’s wonderfully wild and woolly countryside is in plentiful supply in the Lake District and will lift the spirits of man, woman, child and dog. Dog walkers will be spoilt for choice in the undulating landscape of England’s Lake District. Hilltop treks end in breathtaking panoramas, while shoreline walks around the lakes will leave you chilled and relaxed. Resorts such as this are ideal for your feline friends too, they can either cuddle up with you in resort and take in the scenery through the window, or maybe go for a trot out and about to meet up with the local felines too.

The Lakeland Village (RB06) luxury cottages and apartments sit on the banks of the River Leven, at the southern outlet of Lake Windermere in the English Lake District. The area offers miles and miles of quaint villages, gently undulating hills and still lakes framed by rugged mountains. It is the ideal destination for families and their dogs to get out and about in the truly, great outdoors. On site, you can enjoy Cascades Health Spa and Leisure Club, with its swimming pool, sauna, tennis, squash, putting green and children’s play area.

Highland haven

Scotland is known for its rugged beauty, and people heading for the Highlands are all about the great outdoors lifestyle. From the highs of the hills, the calm of the lochs, and the charm of the pretty bustling towns such as Oban, there are so many ways you and your trusty friend can get out and about exploring new terrain.

Melfort Village (0974), close to Oban in Scotland, is a hamlet of cottage accommodation set in the middle of the dazzling scenery of west Scotland. The 32 cottages are nestled in the hills and woods at the head of Loch Melfort and comes with spacious living areas, perfect for your pets to run about it, with an on-site swimming pool, games room, a tennis court, putting green and playground.

Essential pooch packing

Remember to pack everything your pet will need; favourite blanket, harness and lead, mess bags, a toy they love, pet shampoo and favourite nibbles. Once booked into your resort, it’s best to ask the resort if they provide bowls, or if they can recommend somewhere close by where you can buy some to free up some space in your suitcase. A water bottle for dogs is also a handy investment for long days out for on-the-go hydration to keep your furry little friends happy and healthy.

Now you know how and where to take your pets away on holiday, it's time to start planning your next great getaway with your complete family.

What are you waiting for? Having access to so many pet-friendly resorts using your DAE membership, you can start planning your next holiday with your dog, cat, or whatever, so you have something to look forward to as a complete family!



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