Taking your dog on holiday

Have you taken your dogs on holiday before?

Is it as easy as ABC (that’s Adorable Beautiful Canines – of course!) or is there a bit more to it? Obviously if you are jet-setting off somewhere exotic then chances are you will have organised someone to look after your pooches while you are away. However if you are holidaying in the UK you may choose to take them with you – why not?

So what do you need to think about if your dogs are going to accompany you?

First of all you need to make sure that your microchip details are up to date, with a mobile number as well as your home number. If your dog strays off because it is in unfamiliar territory, it will be no good someone trying to ring you at home when you are 300 miles away in Cornwall for example. I would recommend that you attach a temporary ID tag with the address and contact details for where you are staying – just in case you happen to get separated. Please also ensure that your pets are up to date with vaccinations, flea and worming treatment

Before you go it is probably a good idea to research the area you are going to and putting the number of a local vet into your phone too, hopefully it won’t be needed but it is better to be prepared.

What do you need to take with you?

Your dogs love their home, it is familiar, it smells of them and they know where everything is, so in my opinion I think it is a good idea to take some ‘home comforts’ for them. I would take at least a couple of their toys and possibly their bed, or a blanket, even if where you are going provides dog beds. Take the food that your dog is used to as a change of food can upset their tummy, also familiar treats. You will need to make sure you have bowls for their food and water and of course a collar/harness and lead – although you will have this for travelling. Don’t forget your dog waste bags, wipes if you use them and a brush, try and keep things as familiar as possible for your dogs.

Remember it is a legal requirement to ensure that your dogs are restrained whilst travelling in a car, so you will either need to have them secure in a crate, or strapped in – you can buy universal dog seat belt clips that attach to your dog’s harness and clip in to the seatbelt restraint.

As well as taking water for your dogs for the journey – remember a bowl – make sure that you allow plenty of time for ‘fresh air’ breaks while you are travelling.

When you reach your destination, allow your dog time to familiarise themselves with their surroundings. You will be excited and looking to a wonderful holiday – your dog won’t know that! They will have a multitude of new smells – probably of other dogs – to take in and won’t really understand why they are there.

Try and keep some sort of routine and remember to allow your dog some rest and calm time while you are away.

Simple!

Have a fantastic holiday!

Dogs and grass seeds

I seem to have read quite a lot recently about dogs and grass seeds; a fair amount of people have been mentioning this on social media groups too. For example if someone says their dog keeps shaking their head or limping, others suggest checking for grass seeds.

So what is this all about and what do grass seeds look like?

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really aware of the problems that can escalate when a dog has picked up a grass seed until fairly recently – the power of social media certainly does have it’s advantages – so does Google! After a walk through a field with long grass our dogs had quite a lot of ‘sticky buds’ on their ears which necessitated me checking them all over. Well I am glad that I did, Duke had no less than 30 grass seeds attached to different parts of his body.

The places I found them were in between his toes, behind his ears and underneath his arm pits. The grass seeds are quite sharp and actually quite big so you can feel them fairly easily. A couple had actually pierced his skin and needed careful extraction. I did take him to the vets afterwards to make sure I had managed to remove them all – thankfully I had.

Grass seeds are more of a problem during the summer months and not surprisingly can easily get attached to your dog while having a meander through the countryside. Dogs such as springer spaniels, cocker spaniels and cockerpoos are more prone to getting grass seeds stuck on them because they have feathery feet and floppy ears – and let’s be honest they are the type of dogs who will bound through a field of long grass, or wheat, barley or corn or whatever is growing!

They can cause serious problems when they pierce the skin because in rare cases they can travel through the body. They can also cause intense irritation in their paws, up their noses or in their ears.

Behaviour your dog may display could include:

Paws – limping, licking paws

Ears – violent and sudden shaking of the head or pawing at their ears

Nose – sudden violent sneezing

My advice would be to check your dog after every walk, particularly if you have walked through a field or if your dog has medium to long fur. You will feel the seeds because they are hard and sharp and then hopefully you can pull them out their fur without them causing any further problems.

If your dog does seem irritated and is constantly shaking their head for no obvious reason or their paws are red or sore, or you have any other concerns, please contact your vet.

The Dolphin Hotel, Beer, Devon

If you visit Beer in Devon, or one of the surrounding villages, the Dolphin Hotel is definitely worth a visit for dinner.

It is located on Fore Street and parking is available in the car park very close by. The Dolphin is dog-friendly, there is a small courtyard out the back where you can eat in the sun, additionally they are happy for dogs to join you inside the pub while you dine. The food is of such excellent taste and quality that it became our favourite place to eat while we were there.

Aside from the food being absolutely delicious, I liked the fact that we were given a large portion of vegetables as an accompaniment to some of the dishes, as well as a choice of potatoes – chips won each time though as – hey we were on holiday, but it makes you feel a bit better when you counteract the chips with broccoli, carrots and peas!

I would definitely recommend the sirloin steak, it was cooked absolutely perfectly, we also tried the burgers which were lovely and served in a brioche bun, the Devon chicken was also delicious – this came with the side dish of mixed vegetables too.

The staff were all really friendly and accommodating and made the dining experience really enjoyable – they have definitely cracked it with their customer service skills and delicious food and know how to get customers to return!

Duke and Ellie say

We loved visiting the Dolphin for dinner and lots of humans stopped to say hello to us and said how gorgeous we are, we are starting to feel like celebs! The nice people who worked there gave us yummy dog treats and made lots of fuss of us. Even when we sat inside because it had been raining, we had lots of room so we were able to avoid being trodden on.

We didn’t stay there but they also have dog-friendly rooms in the hotel too.

You can find out more and view the menu here https://www.dolphinhotelbeer.co.uk/food-drink

All opinions are my own, we were not gifted any meals at the Dolphin.

Beer in Devon – dog friendly accommodation

Being welcomed by a delicious cream tea in a pretty garden in Devon is the perfect way to start a holiday! Beer in Devon is a picturesque fishing village and as we meandered down the hilly lanes towards it and got our first view, it honestly looked like a scene from a holiday postcard.

We parked up in the ample car park and took a little stroll down to the beach before checking in to our Bed and Breakfast. The beach is a little sun trap,surrounded by cliffs and as you walk down to it, there is a large area of beach on the left where dogs are allowed and a small section on the right where they aren’t. You can hire out deck chairs for a couple of pounds or a beach hut for £10 a day. There are many walks around and we enjoyed walking up the path which led to the top of the cliffs which gave an amazing view of Beer and the next beach along. Simply stunning. Beer is situated in South Devon, close to the border with Dorset and along the history-rich Jurassic Coast.

Where we stayed

We were lucky enough to find an absolute gem of a Bed and Breakfast to stay in. Westleigh is situated on Fore Street which is the main road through the village. The road is lined with beautiful flower-filled pots and hanging baskets outside all the houses and shops, it’s so clear that the residents take pride in their village and no wonder it was runner up in Channel 4’s best village of the year and was best village in the south of the UK last year. Westleigh Bed and Breakfast is completely dog-friendly. Little touches such as a welcome snack of home-made liver cake – which Duke and Ellie loved – to having a bag of grain free food, towels you can borrow when taking your four-legged friends down to the beach, dog beds and bowls, make it the perfect home-from-home, all you need to remember are your dog’s collar and lead.

The house itself is absolutely beautiful, it is clean and light and there are three bedrooms upstairs. Downstairs there is a gorgeous lounge that guests can use, plus a large conservatory (locked during the day) where breakfast is served over looking the pretty garden. We chose to eat breakfast at 8 am each morning but could have picked anytime between 8am and 9am. We were greeted with a selection of cereals, bread for toasting, fruit, yoghurts and granola. This was followed by a delicious cooked breakfast, I chose the vegetarian version which was a tasty (veg) sausage, fried egg, hash brown, mushrooms, fried tomato and baked beans. The meat version has bacon instead of beans. There were other options that we could have chosen from, as well as our choice of tea and coffee.

The garden is really pretty and fully enclosed so the dogs can run freely and safely. It is reached by a side gate a few minutes walk from the house, although you can access it through the patio doors during breakfast time.

We stayed in the Bell Jar room which was decorated in such a tasteful way and had a really comfortable king size bed. Situated at the front of the house, there was the odd sound of cars and people passing by but the noise wasn’t excessive. Our room had an en-suite shower room with a small basin and loo. Conveniently there were a couple of wardrobes, a TV, radio and tea and coffee making facilities, also a fan in the room which was pretty handy as we chose a perfect week weather-wise.

Etta, the host, was absolutely lovely, really friendly and clearly loves dogs. She was able to recommend different places to visit during our holiday and was really understanding when Ellie was sick in our room, possibly due to swallowing too much sea water, or maybe the change of food. We were given a parking permit to use during our stay so when we were in Beer we didn’t need to pay for parking.

I would love to return to Beer and would choose to stay at Westleigh again. There are so many lovely places to visit in Devon and Beer seems to be a really dog-friendly village. I will chat about the dog-friendly places we visited in separate posts. Beer really is such a beautiful place, the type of place that when you walk down the street it is like a lovely dream because it is so idyllic and beautiful.

I was not gifted this holiday, it was booked and paid full price for by ourselves and all opinions are my own.

What Duke and Ellie say

We loved visiting Beer, there were loads of beaches that we were allowed on and lots of places we could walk too. In all the pubs people made a fuss of us and told us we were beautiful dogs!! We were actually allowed up the stairs for the first time ever and we could sleep in the same room as our humans! That was really exciting! We enjoyed playing in the garden at Westleigh and found a few dog toys there as well as our own ones that we brought from home. We definitely want to go back there again, can we, can we!

You can find out more about what to do around Beer here https://www.visitdevon.co.uk/explore/towns-and-villages/beer

The website for Westleigh Dog-friendly B and B is here http://westleighbeer.co.uk/

Keeping your dogs cool in the heat

Today in Surrey the temperature is 31 degrees and I’ll be honest, I love a little sit out in the sun, but it’s too hot for me today. The heat is pretty stifling and it’s so muggy. Walking outside it just feels like someone is waving a constant hairdryer around. Later in the week the temperature is set to rise to 37…

We can choose what we do in this heat but our dogs are fairly reliant on us. They can’t decide if they want to go out for a walk or an outing as we make those decisions for them. They rely on us to make the right choices to keep them safe and here are a few points to consider as a responsible dog owner.

Don’t take your dog out for a walk in very hot weather. Physical exertion can make them more prone to heatstroke and the pavements will also be hot and burn their paws. Think about how hot it feels when you walk bare-footed across hot pavements. Adapt your routine and take them for a walk early in the morning before the sun has had a chance to heat up the pavements, or alternatively go for a stroll later in the evening when it has cooled down.

It is imperative to make sure they have plenty of fresh cool water, they will want to drink more than usual so ensure their water bowl is always full.

It’s common sense but never ever leave your dog alone in a car, the temperature will reach ridiculous levels very quickly and can cause dangerous heatstroke. By the way did you know that if you see a dog left in a car in the UK, particularly if it looks like it is suffering from the heat and you are unable find the owner of the vehicle, you should phone 999.

Take heed from that well loved Beatles song and let them be, leave them to laze around, preferably in the shade or indoors with a fan blowing to try and keep them cool. Definitely keep them out of the sun at the hottest time, between 11am and 3pm.

Don’t give them ice cubes to eat – it might seem like you are helping them out but their body will over compensate because it will initially feel it is too cold and heat them up even more. Dogs already have their own built in mechanism of panting to cool down and releasing heat through their nose and paws and they should be able to do this if they are not in extreme heat.

Heatstroke is extremely dangerous for dogs and can happen very quickly. If your dog shows any signs of heat stroke such as excessive panting, agitation, increased heart rate, drooling or extreme lethargy, make sure they are in a cool place and contact your vet immediately.

Introducing the paw-thors

Hi I’ll go first as I’m the oldest! My name is Duke, I’m an English Springer Spaniel and I have lived with my hoo-mans humans since I was about 12 weeks old. I live in a village in Surrey where there are loads of brilliant walks, I love a good run through the woods and anywhere that tennis balls are involved! I live with my little sister Ellie. Well don’t tell anyone but she’s not really my sister, well I mean we weren’t born from the same parents but she is my little sister and I love her – don’t tell her that though! When Ellie first came to live with us in March I did find her a little bit annoying tbh, it was just me and my humans and they decided that it would be nice for me to have another dog to keep me company. That’s a bit cheeky really – I think they should have asked me first. I was the top dog in the house and then this annoying little puppy came along and kept chewing up all my teddies, she took toys out my mouth and ran off with them and she slept in my bed with me, blooming cheek. But now I love having a little sister and we like to do everything together.

Err Duke can I talk now…Hello I’m Ellie and I’m an English Springer Spaniel too, well I think I am anyway. I can’t remember much about where I lived before but I don’t think I liked it very much because I ran away from them. I got put in a dog pound with lots of other dogs and that wasn’t a really nice place so I don’t like to think about that anymore. The people who had me before wouldn’t even pay to get me back because the vet had given me some sort of operation. Anyway (shudder) they aren’t memories I like to think about now. I am really happy in my new home because I have a big brother who shares his toys with me and we love to snuggle up on the bed together. I always know I am going to get food now so I am trying hard not to eat everything I see on the floor and tables. I’ve learnt a good trick lately that if a human throws a ball I get it back for them and they are happy – they are a bit stupid though because they keep throwing it and trying to lose it again – it’s a good job they’ve got me around. My humans keep telling me I’m a good girl so I really like that and now I smile a lot like Duke.

We are going to try and find lots of nice places for people to take their dogs so you can have fun and be happy like us. Don’t worry doggies we will tell you it as it is!

Headley Heath, Surrey

We went for an awesome walk at the weekend to Headley Heath in Surrey. For those of you who haven’t been there before – I hadn’t – it is close to junction 8 or 9 of the M25, easily accessible from the A25 and A217. We got one of our dogs from a rescue and they arranged a walk and ‘get together’ there.

Headley Heath is National Trust you will need to pay for parking, unless you are a National Trust member. The parking costs £1.50 an hour for the first two hours or £4 up to four hours. There is a small snack shop in the car park – but no toilets.

You literally can walk for miles and miles, there are so many different paths leading off here, there and everywhere. We walked a fairly circular route of a couple of miles along well marked paths. There were a couple of shallow ponds and as you can see the dogs all loved it!

What Duke and Ellie say:

We had a brilliant time at Headley Heath, we felt safe because we could run around off our leads and we weren’t near any roads at all. There was a car park so it was easy for us to get in and out of the car without having to worry about other cars. We had fun splashing in some of the little ponds that we found – bet you didn’t know that springers love water!

The National Trust describe Headley Heath as

A wonderful mix of open heathland, woodland and chalk downland

Headley Heath has a wide network of tracks to explore, and stunning views to rival any of its neighbours – the perfect place to enjoy the countryside, whether walking, cycling or horseriding.

The Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its rich, varied, and sometimes rare, wildlife, made up of a wonderful mosaic of open heath, chalk downland slopes and mixed woodland.

There’s always something new to see, from fragrant, bright yellow gorse and breathtaking purple heathers, to deer, badgers and dragonflies.

During the warmer months Headley Heath is alive with bird song from rare birds like stonechats, linnets, meadow pipits and woodlarks.

You can find out more about Headley Heath from the National Trust website here https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/headley-heath

Our aims

There is nothing so cute as a smiling dog is there? Well I guess apart from a smiling child or someone with a beautiful smile, or … you get the idea! Although I’m sure some people may disagree on the order I think most people will agree that there is something beautiful and genuine about a dog (or child!) smiling.

Our aim is to find places where your dog will constantly smile, where your dogs are welcomed as part of your family, after all that is how they should be treated.

You know what it’s like though, some places just aren’t accommodating where it comes to our four-legged friends. Some people just aren’t ‘dog people’ and therefore our beloved pets are probably an inconvenience. I totally get that dogs aren’t always the cleanest and don’t always behave impeccably but they are fine and friendly most the time though aren’t they! If I was out for a meal in a posh restaurant, I don’t think I would appreciate someone wading in with five dogs who have spent the day at the beach having a wonderful time, covered in sand and smelling of the sea! No matter how much you love dogs, that stinky wet dog smell is never going to be anyone’s favourite aroma!

So…..what is this site going to be all about?

Well my vision is to try and find the best beaches for dogs, the perfect pub, wonderful walks and gorgeous gardens where you can go for a lovely day out and take your canine companions with you.

I would also like to extend this site so that you can share the best places you have taken your dogs to as well.

We are in Surrey in the UK so I think my first few reviews are probably going to be within the South East, watch this space!

Please do get in contact if you have visited anywhere super special with your dogs and you would like to share, there is a contact form at the top of the page!

Dogs On The Blog