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Planning a Pet-Friendly Summer Staycation

dog in car mirrorWhile we’re hopeful this summer will see a significant lift in restrictions, it’s likely many of us will still forego an overseas adventure in favour of the humble staycation.

Aside from the stunning scenery on our doorstep, there’s an additional bonus to staying within Scotland – where a trip to the Mediterranean would mean a boarding-kennel-based holiday for our four-legged companions, a staying local opens up some new and exciting opportunities to get them involved!

Bringing a pet on holiday comes with many additional considerations though, and we’ve included some of these below to help you with your holiday plans.

Hit the road, Jack (Russell)!

  • Strap them in for the journey with a harness or seatbelt
  • If your staycation destination of choice involves a long drive, factor in regular breaks to allow for toileting and leg stretching – or even better, plan a few pitstops along the way to see some scenery (the journey is the destination, and all that)
  • More generally for the entire summer, NEVER leave a dog in a hot car!

Heading for the hills?

  • Pack extra food and water, along with a portable bowl – most outdoor stores and some pet stores will sell these
  • Start small to ensure they’re up for the challenge – whether it’s Arthur’s Seat or the Pentlands, the many hills around the region make for a great training ground before they’re ready to bag their first munro of the season
  • Mind the weather and plan accordingly – some dogs may struggle in high winds, others in extreme heats
  • Bring extra towels, as even when it’s dry your dog is sure to find some mud, somewhere!
  • See more hillwalking with your pet advice here

Opting for an overnighter?

  • Not all hotels and campsites are dog friendly, be sure to check before booking
  • A comfy, familiar pet bed will help ensure a good night’s sleep
  • While it’s important to do at all times, be sure to bag and bin any poo, especially around campsites where contamination can be a major issue
  • If camping, be sure your tent is large enough – some may have a suitably-sized porch, or if they’re sleeping inside the tent be sure to clip their nails or reinforce the floor

Safety first!

  • Bring a quality lead or be confident in your companion’s recall skills, particularly if you’ll be passing any livestock or wildlife
  • Check their coat for bothersome bugs after any time outdoors – we have an entire article on this topic here
  • Consider investing in a GPS tracker for your dog, especially where visibility could be an issue (which usually applies to any hill, any time)
  • Knowing that phone reception can be patchy in the hills, make a note beforehand of the nearest veterinary practice in case the worst should happen

While there are a lot of extra factors to consider, having your pet along for the journey is sure to be an excellent bonding experience and an opportunity to create some great memories. Happy trails!

Daniel Tipping

Education Officer

Daniel is the Education Officer at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and is responsible for delivering our educational outreach programme to schools, community groups and workplaces. If you’d like to find out more about our education programme or arrange a free workshop for your group, please visit our Advice & Education page.

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