YES, lets go and enjoy some adventures. Grab the dog and load the car. Go have some fun. But wait, what does the dog need? You have clothes, bathroom products, towels, shoes... ect. Do you need that much for your dog too?
What to take for your dog on holiday
- Food container
- Food bowl
- Water bowl
- Water bottle
- Medical Kit
- Poo Bags
- Cooling coat/bandana
- Cooling mat
What to consider when packing for holiday:
Is your dog on raw or dry food? What type of storage will you need for where you are going?
If your dog is on dry food it tends to be more simple. Measure out enough for each meal into a bag and keep the cup with you so you can measure it just like normal. Storing it is easy in a cool place.
When you feed raw food this can be harder to know how to store. A lot of people use freezers and depending on how long you go away for this is unlikely to keep. What you can do is look for air-dried or dehydrated alternatives. These are great if you are not going to have access to a freezer and help stick close to a raw diet. Dehydrated seems to be the one closer to raw food - but I haven't found a UK company for this. Have you? The thing to remember is the food will be smaller air-dried/dehydrated but packed with nutrition as it's just the water content that's been removed. Watch you don't overfeed this food while on holiday.
You know what food you're taking and how much. But what's the best storage solution? Some people use single-use plastic bags for each meal portion. Although this may seem simple and easy while your away the damage to the environment is significant. Thinking of eco solutions:
for dry food - take a food bag and measure the whole food into their, keep you measuring scoop. Choose a bag that you can wash out and keep reusing! A bag loved by many is the Wilderdog Doggie Bag,
Choose one you don't care about. Why? If you need to ask then maybe you are not as bad as I am but the amount of bowls I have forgotten to take home with me is ridiculous! I have definitely learnt not to take my favourite bowl on holiday as it's unlikely I'll bring it home. If camping you might want a collapsible bowl o make carrying the bowl easier and take up less room.
You might want a collapsible one so you can also take it out on walks. Then you save on taking multiple water bowls. Sometimes you can even find water bottles with bowls attached! So although we have put water bowl and bottle separate you mind find the perfect solution where they come together!
Plastic water bottles are not great - the temperature can cause all kinds of changes to the water. Try to find a reusable bottle that will help keep the water cool longer, so your pup can access fresh water when you're out. These will hopefully only be needed on your walks but if you're camping you may need a few of these or ensure you have water top-up points along the way.
Or should we say leadS? This one if a given - to walk your dog out a lead is always needed. You never know where you may end up: in a field of sheep or along a road. Leads are an essential piece of kit to keep your pup safe. Some people prefer to take multiple leads just incase. Incase of what? Who knows, maybe incase it breaks or if they lose one.
Every dog needs a collar - to have a tag on or to double up to lead from too. Make sure it's in good condition before heading out on holiday - hopefully then you are less likely for wear and tear to mean it may break. You don't want to have to worry about replacing your dog's collar while you're away.
If you have a collar then why would you need a harness? Some people just use the collar to carry the tag on but lead only from a harness. That depends what suits your dog best. So remember your harness if that's what you use. It may also be that you're driving and it's recommended that you have your dog belted or secured in the car: click here for guidance. Otherwise, in the event of a crash, you can be found to be driving without care - even if it wasn't your fault! Because your dog was able to move about and distract you or cause harm to themselves. This can affect insurance. If a seatbelt is your preferred method a harness is much safer than a collar. Any pressure in the event of a sudden stop is then evenly distributed over their body, rather than a lot of pressure on their neck - which could be quite dangerous for the dog.
Muddy Paws, river walks, unexpected rain, roll in smelly areas. These are just a few reasons why you might need a towel. It means you can dry them off after washing or after a wet walk. This helps avoiding getting the place you are staying at wet or muddy. Saving on the cleaning up and helping respect these areas. You may find a drying coat or drying gloves better than a towel but either way - something to help dry and clean you pup is always handy!
Sometimes being at a new place can seem daunting for a pet. Have you ever noticed that when your away your dog doesn't sleep that much but sleeps for a while when you get home? Dogs are designed to sleep for 14 hours of the day. They may not get this when on holiday due to the sheer excitement of being away and being able to investigate new smells. Or they may actually be a little anxious as a new place means different routines. Having a bed or blanket from home can really help them settle quicker. So your dog should hopefully get some sleep time.
If you know you're going to be settled "at camp" for a while and your dog would usually play with toys at home during this time you may want to take a toy with you. Don't worry about the whole box! That would take up a lot of space, but take a favourite toy for play time. Or if your dog works from toys as rewards instead of treats you may want to grab a couple to keep the rewards interesting.
Are you going to be working on training or just need a few while out on a walk? Will you be in places where your dog may need positive reinforcement from treats? These all matter because you can then work how roughly how much to take. If you're anything like me - all the space in the dog's bag after getting everything else in will be taken up with treats, just incase. As I always find it a hard one to measure. But if you're used to how many treats you use a day just take that amount for the number of days you are away. There shouldn't be a major increase for the need of treats.
We always need poo bags, and I hate the thought of running out while on a walk let alone while on holiday. Again, if you've had your dog a while I bet you know the average amount of poo bags you use per day so just take them and a couple of spares. When making a choice of poo bags go for compostable - these are the most eco-friendly version leaving no plastic behind. Biodegradable ones are also a good choice.
Like a doggy first aid kit - many places sell kits you can buy already put together. For those just incase moments of paw cuts or thorns being stuck, even for the cased you find a tick.
Coat / Jumper
What time of year is it and what kind of natural coat does your dog have? They may be the type that needs extra warmth when it's cold or even protection from the rain. These are optional because not every dog requires these, but no one knows your dog like you. So this one's up to what you think they'll need.
Cooling coat / Cooling bandana / Cooling mat
If it's not cold then it may be a hot summer. We have had them lately so always best to be prepared. Cooling items to wear so your dog can join you in the shaded outdoors or even a cooling mat to help stay cooler inside. Again, this one is down to how your dog copes in the heat. Most dogs will appreciate these when the weather is over 21 degrees.
So yes, maybe you do need a lot for your dog too. And it really does depend on your dog, the time of year and where you're going. Just remember to have fun.
Oh - and if you forget anything don't worry too much. Bet you'll be able to google a nearby shop or a friend may help. We all forget things, I swear that really is part of the fun of being away: figuring alternative solutions. Maybe that's just me as it's how forgetful I am.
Enjoy your adventures with your dog by your side.