Holidaying with your canine companion

The opulence of the five-star Oulton Hall Hotel
The opulence of the five-star Oulton Hall Hotel

The heatwave affecting the UK this week is good news for holidaymakers and the tourist trade but causes a few problems for dog owners who struggle to keep their pets cool and comfortable when temperatures rise.

It should go without saying that you should never, ever, leave your dog in a car, even on a cloudy day in the summer.

Taking part in Canicross

Taking part in Canicross

But it’s also important to never walk your dog during the heat of the day. Aim for early morning or late evening and if it’s still too warm, and you insist on going out, consider dousing your dog in tepid water before the walk and keep exercise to a minimum with no ball or stick throwing.

In the house, put a damp towel down on a plastic sheet and provide a fan and, of course, plenty of water. Be alert to signs of heat stroke and take action if you’re concerned.

It’s becoming more common for pet owners to take along their dogs on a UK holiday and an increasing number opt for a continental break.

Even five-star hotels in the UK make provision for dogs and it’s easier than ever before to find a holiday destination that suits all members of the family - human and canine.

Canine yoga

Canine yoga

Taking your dog along has many benefits, it stops them, and you, worrying, it can often be cheaper than a stay in kennels and, most importantly it means you get quality time together without the distraction of domestic chores and work intervening.

Before embarking on a holiday with your dog it pays to be even more super organised than usual and there are a number of things to consider, not least if the accommodation is as dog friendly as it purports to be.

Consider having them checked over before you travel and that they are up to date with vaccinations and flea, worm and tick treatments.

If you’re travelling by car provide a safe and comfortable place for them to sit, restrain them and don’t let them hang their heads out of the window, debris and insects can fly into their eyes and cause infection and injury.

Either take enough food for the entire holiday or if you plan to be away for a while, have it delivered to your holiday cottage or hotel.

My daughter and I recently spent a night at Oulton Hall in Leeds with our two springer spaniels and a group of other journalists and their dogs.

Ostensibly to introduce us to the benefits of feeding True Instinct, a range of raw and natural ingredient pet food, it also served to underline how easy it is to holiday with your dog and have a stress-free time.

Oulton Hall near Leeds was opened in 1993 after a £20m restoration and was later awarded five-star status - the only one to achieve the accolade in the north of England at that time.

Twenty-six years later it still exudes elegance and grandeur and the 300 acres of stunning countryside are an ideal dog walking playground and a great place in which to relax.

Oulton Hall has a number of dog-friendly bedrooms and provides bowls and beds so you don’t have to bring your own.

The Claret Jug restaurant by the golf course is dog-friendly or if you prefer to eat at the hotel restaurant, the hotel is happy for you to leave well-behaved dogs alone in your room.

While on our minibreak we were introduced to the sport of CaniSport. You and your dog wear a harness, are connected via a bungee cord and then set off running off-road together. It’s great fun and the dogs love it.

And if that wasn’t enough we took part in a spot of dog yoga with animal behaviourist Petrina Cutchey, which is not as off the wall as it sounds. It’s a great way to bond with your dog, de-stress you both and combines training with health management - our two loved it.


Factbox: True Instinct

Developed and endorsed by a team of professional vets and pet food experts, True Instinct is made from the finest quality raw and natural ingredients; premium quality meat and fish as well as fruit, vegetables, superfoods and botanicals with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Oulton Hall Hotel, Yorkshire

0113 282 1000

Prices start from £109 per room bed and breakfast

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