Dogs Trust

Packing Up with Your Pup!

A guide to dog-friendly holidays

Ireland is a beautiful country and has so much to offer, from coastline to countryside, beaches to hill walks, and everything in between. One of the best things about a staycation, is being able to take our four-legged family members along with us.

We have plenty of tips and tricks for helping you and your pup have the best time on your staycation! Keep reading so you can have happy tails on your trails.

Getting Your Dog Holiday-Ready:

First things first, you know your dog best, so you’re the best person to decide if your dog is going to enjoy coming along for the family holiday, or would they be happier at home with a dog minder? Some dogs love new and exciting places, smells and faces, but others are much more comfortable in their familiar surroundings. New environments like beaches and even pubs and restaurants can be overwhelming for some dogs, so consider this before embarking on that trip.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Is your dog worried or overwhelmed by new experiences?
  • Does your dog cope well in crowds?
  • Is your dog able to cope on long car trips?
  • Is your dog likely to come across many other dogs on their holiday? If so, are they comfortable around other dogs outside?

Picking Where to Go:

Next up, you’re going to want to think about the destination. Of course, the accommodation needs to be dog-friendly, but are there also lots of dog-friendly activities for you and your pup to enjoy? The last thing you want is to bring your dog on holiday, only to realise you’ll be spending most of it in your accommodation!

It’s not just about them being welcome there either, you want to ensure that the accommodation and attractions are beneficial to them too. When choosing a destination, make sure it’s somewhere with lots of green space. This will be perfect for your dog to explore, stretch their legs and get sniffing.

While the countryside or beach-breaks might automatically spring to mind, city breaks certainly aren’t off-limits if your canine is comfortable in urban areas! Just make sure you do your research so you know which attractions and food-serving establishments will be best for your sightseeing sidekick.


Time to Get Packing:

Now that you know where you’re headed, it’s time to start packing your bags. Here’s a list of things you’ll need for your pup:

  • Lead, harness, collar and ID tag
  • Their food and water bowls
  • Tasty treats
  • Dog toys
  • Comfy bed / blanket
  • Poo bags
  • Towels
  • Cool mat (during warmer months)
  • Sun cream (that is safe for dogs)
  • Your pet’s medication (if they are on any)

It can also be worth checking if your accommodation provides anything for dogs. This might save you packing food bowls and a bed. However, we’d still recommend bringing a blanket or something familiar from home even if they do provide beds, as this can help your dog to settle.

Plan for Pitstops:

So, your bags are packed, your Sat Nav is set and you’re ready to get going, but don’t forget to consider your dog when planning your journey!

Check that your dog will be safe and comfortable in your car, especially if it’s going to be a long drive. Legally, dogs must be restrained while driving, so be sure to have a dog seatbelt harness, pet carrier, crate or guard set-up. You should also plan plenty of pitstops for your pooch so they can go to the loo, stretch their legs and have some water.


Safety Check:

When you reach your accommodation, have a quick check around to make sure gates and fences are secure, so there’s no way of your dog escaping and if in doubt, keep them on the lead.

Be sure your dog’s collar, tag and microchip details are all up to date with your contact information. Also, store the telephone number of the local vet in your phone, just in case of an emergency while you’re there!

Don’t Blame it on the Weatherman:

The Irish weather is unpredictable to say the least, so it’s best to plan for every season. Your dog will likely get muddy, whether it rains or not, so be sure you have a good supply of towels to clean them off with. If it’s hot, it’s important to think safety first, as dogs are far more prone to heatstroke than humans. Always bring a good supply of water and try to only bring them out in cooler parts of the day. For more hot weather advice, please see


Five Top Tips for Happy Holidays:

Now last but not least, here are our five top tips for happy holidays with your hound:

  1. Most dogs love routine. The best way to make them feel comfortable and right at home, is to stick to their normal routine as much as possible. For example, try to keep to the same mealtimes as you would at home.
  2. Speaking of mealtimes, make sure you bring their normal food with them so as not to upset their tummy by suddenly changing their diet.
  3. Don’t forget, your dog needs to sleep too! So, while there might be lots of exciting things to do and see, most dogs need 16-18 hours of rest, so plan in plenty of time for snoozing.
  4. Try not to leave your dog alone for extended periods. They will be in unfamiliar surroundings, so even if they are normally happy to be left alone for a few hours at a time, they might not be quiet so relaxed on holiday.
  5. Finally, take a little piece of home with you, like their favourite blanket or teddy bear to help them settle wherever you go.


Dog Trust want to wish you and your pup a very happy holiday season and don’t forget to visit our website for lots more advice for keeping your furry friend, safe, happy and healthy.