If you’re a pet lover you’ll appreciate the joys of holidaying with your dog. It feels like the whole family is together when they join you on a trip. Conversely, a dog-less trip can make you feel really guilty and like you've left a crucial part of the family behind. Not to mention the pain of seeing that sad sultry look your doggo gives you as they watch you leave without them.
Luckily for them, and you, over 70% of BIG4 parks now offer pet-friendly accommodation, so there’s lots of of parks to choose from should you wish to holiday with your dog(s).
However, travelling with pets can have its challenges: unfamiliar surrounds, a change in routine, and other factors that can throw both you and your four-legged friend. Therefore it's essential to be well prepared before you and your pooch set out for the road.
We've put together a bunch of helpful tips when staying at your pet-friendly BIG4 accommodation that will ensure you, your dog, and other park guests all have a great time.
Travelling with pets is like holidaying with small children: the emphasis is no longer on what you need to pack for you, but what you need to pack for your companion. Therefore, before heading to your pet-friendly caravan park, be sure to bring along your dog’s regular bedding, water bowl, leash, doggy snacks, toys, and any other relevant equipment.
In addition, when you first arrive at your dog-friendly destination, allow your pooch to familiarise themselves with their new surrounds to help alleviate any anxiety or stress. Also, like small children, dogs thrive on routine, so keep to your pet's regular schedule as much as possible. Think about the timing of walks and meals ahead of time.
One of the key points to remember when staying at a BIG4 park that accepts dogs is not leaving your pet unattended at any stage. It's crucial that you know the whereabouts of your furry friend at all times to avoid that sinking feeling of losing your pet and to prevent any unfortunate incidents where your dog interacts adversely with other park visitors, human or canine. This helps to protect you, your pet, and other park guests.
A well-exercised dog is a happy dog. And a happy dog means happy guests. Why? Because if your canine has plenty of exercise it is likely they won’t be bored and will also sleep better. A dog that’s not bored often is far less likely to be disruptive. And a tired dog that sleeps soundly increases the chances of you – and other park guests – having a decent night's sleep.
If you do face the unfortunate circumstance where your dog is barking excessively, it’s important that you address the issue immediately to minimise disruption to other park visitors.
There is no quick fix for stopping a barking dog – and the RSPCA does not condone the use of anti-barking collars – so preparation is essential in this case. To help, consider taking your pet on a trial run (perhaps to a friend’s house) and see how it reacts when it’s away from its normal environment.
Much of the expert advice to prevent dogs from barking isn’t easily implemented when it is 2am, you’re (dog) tired, and you’re not in the familiar surrounds of your home. Try to calm your four-legged friend rather than yell at it, or take them on a quick stroll (while not ideal at 2am it may do the trick).
Before arriving at your dog-friendly accommodation, take note of the BIG4 Terms and Conditions when Travelling with Pets. When at your dog-friendly accommodation, familiarise yourself with areas in and around the park that may be off-limits to dogs to ensure the comfort and safety of all guests. Speak to park staff if you have any questions.
This tip applies whenever you are out and about and not just when you are at your pet-friendly accommodation: be sure to pick up after your dog. Remember to start things off on the right paw by holidaying with a dog that is clean and well-groomed. A well-presented pooch is hard to resist and more likely to endear itself to any guests who show less enthusiasm to dogs than yourself.
Travelling with your dog has a whole host of benefits. Following the above tips will help ensure that your next trip with your furry-friend, be it your first or one of many, is be a smooth one. Say goodbye to seeing that sad face looking at your longingly as you drive off!
Find a pet-friendly BIG4 park for your next getaway.