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  • Writer's pictureSpanish Water Dog Club

Holidays and travelling with your dogs

So here in the UK, we are spending our holidays more and more at home. Tourism is currently the fastest growing industry in Britain to accommodate the rise in 'staycations'.

Why…Why-not? The summer holiday season is now well and truly with us, and now we are “Staycationing” more this year, now is a great opportunity to share your holiday with your best friend, and your SWD!

Preparation – make it safe

When travelling with your dog you must ensure that your dog is safe at all times –in the UK it is a legal requirement that dogs have to be restrained when travelling in a vehicle, please use either a purpose designed seatbelt harness, a car crate or in the boot behind a dog guard. With your dog secure you’ll know that in the event of an accident your dog won’t fly around the vehicle, reducing the risk of injury to them and other occupants of the vehicle. If you are travelling with a young dog or one not used to travelling, doing some short journeys to fun places (search “Training you dog to travel in the car”). If your dog is having issues with the car seek advice from your breeder, dog trainer, or your vet.

What to pack

You are off on holiday – make sure that you pack fun things to do with your dog, like toys, balls, Frisbees etc. We hope for good weather, take things like cool coats, or towels you can wet to keep your dog cool. Towels are going to be needed – it’s likely you’ll have to dry your SWD off at some point!

Take enough dog food for the whole break, unless you are certain you can get your dog’s food whist you are away. Remember to pack your dog’s bowls!

If your dog is on medication make sure that you have more than enough to last the holiday – order more from your vet in enough time to get it dispensed before you go away.

Don’t forget to take your dog’s bed or crate and it may be useful to take a throw to put on the sofa or bed.

Take some tasty treats – maybe include a long lasting chew that will keep you dog occupied and help them settle down.

Another thing to remember is a bottle of water and a water bowl to give your dog a drink when you are on the road.


Now we are all packed and we are all in the car, we know where we are going (hopefully!). Set off allowing plenty of time – it’s likely to be busy and you may need to stop more often that you are used to when travelling without your dog for water and wee breaks! If this is the first time your dog has been on a long journey you need to make this a pleasant an experience as possible – allowing extra time will mean you are less stressed, which will help keep you dog calm.

Some dogs want to travel led down, others like to sit-up, those who like to sit up may have difficulty staying upright when cornering – generally not an issue, but if your does like to sit up try not to corner like a rally driver! 😉

If you are travelling with your dog on a harness and not in a crate, or behind a dog guard, please don’t be tempted to allow them to travel with their head out of the window. Not only do they risk injuring themselves in an accident, they can suffer problems with their eyes (getting bugs and grit in them) – if you are travelling in a convertible with the roof down with your dog - you may want to invest in some doggles!

Expect the unexpected

OK – we have Spanish Water Dogs – we know to expect the unexpected!

You may find that when travelling in the car, your dog takes an exception to Motorcyclists stopped behind you at traffic lights, or people pushing prams – when they don’t have an issue with them when not in the car (or is that just my dogs?!), you get the picture – your dog may take exception to things when in they’re the car that they don’t have in issue with!

Expect that there may be problems on the journey - ensure that you have water for both you and your dog; you may want to keep some food to hand too.

Getting there

You’ve arrived at the place you are staying – you’ll all be tired, don’t expect your dog to be the “life and soul of the party” they may take a little while to get used to their new surroundings, you may want to set-up their bed in a quiet area and let them recover from the journey; conversely, they may be up for exploring their exciting new place!

Where you are staying may have an enclosed garden, but it’s going to be worth taking your dog out on the lead initially – you need to make sure that it is SWD proof!

Now you are all settled in you can all enjoy your holiday!

Do’s and Don’ts

Some (not many) Do’s and Don’ts

· DO ensure that your dog is restrained in the car

· DO ensure that your dog is happy in the car before a long journey

· DO remember to take water and a bowl for the journey

· DO take plenty of breaks on the journey

· DO remember to take dog food and bowls (Guess who forgot in the past!)

· DO let you dog acclimatize to their new location

· DON’T let your dog travel with their head out of the car window

· DON’T insist your dog to have fun – they may be tired

· DON’T let your dog loose in the garden until you know it’s secure

Check list

¨ Make the car safe for your dog

¨ Dog is happy in the car

¨ Pack :

o Toys

o Towels

o Food & bowls

o Water for the journey

o Medications

o Treats

o Bed/Crate

¨ Schedule breaks for you and the dog

¨ It may take time for your dog to settle down


Training you dog to travel in the car – Dogs Trust –

Our thanks to Club member, Keith Jones, for submitting this Blog to help us all with planning to go on holiday with our SWDs

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