Best winter holidays with the dog
Dreaming of a holiday this winter? Can't bear to be parted from your paw-fect pet?
A vacation for you doesn't have to mean kennels for your dog – there are plenty of places you can go where both you and your pup can enjoy a well-earned winter break.
Just make sure you care for your canine in the cold weather, and get the very best cover from Go Get It's pet insurance comparison site!
Read on for our top tips for a doggy holiday this winter
Bounding along the beach
Wondering what dates dogs are allowed on beaches?
Many British beaches are closed to pooches between April and October, leading to doggy disappointment over the summer months!
After half-term at the end of October, those pristine beaches become criss-crossed with paw prints as hounds and their humans descend.
Of course, Britain has no shortage of splendid beaches, from rocky coves to glorious sweeps of sand, so take your pick.
Just check the signs to see when dogs are allowed, and whether or not they need to be kept on a lead.
Westward Ho! in North Devon isn’t just the only place in the UK to have an exclamation mark as part of its name – it's also the perfect beach for your mutt.
Dogs can run up and down the dunes, exploring all those hidden nooks and crannies.
Once they've tired of trying to sniff out rabbits, they can stretch all four legs with a run along the vast expanse of sand, and even a scamper into the surf.
After the walk, towel down your pooch till it's properly dry to protect it from frostbite or hypothermia.
Puppies are particularly vulnerable to the cold.
Make sure they're protected with great insurance – find a policy that covers puppies as young as eight weeks old from Go Get It's pet insurance comparison site.
Festive fun in the forest
Does your pooch love chasing sticks? Then an entire forest filled with them will make it feel like all its Christmases have come at once!
A woodland walk is wonderful all year round, but there's something extra special about winter.
The crunch of frosty leaves underfoot, the sight of bare branches silhouetted against the wintry sky, the spectacle of bright red berries against evergreen leaves – they all add up to a festive treat for hounds and humans alike.
For a truly immersive woodland experience, you can take dogs on Forest Holidays – half of their log cabins are pet-friendly.
It's £15 per dog per night on top of the cabin fee, and you can take up to four pets – perfect for true pet lovers!
Forest Holidays has sites throughout Britain, from the highlands of Scotland to the New Forest on the south coast of England, so you're bound to find somewhere that you and your pooch will love.
Remember to check the weather forecast before you set out, and exercise caution in extremely low temperatures.
Dogs, especially smaller, younger and older ones, can get cold very quickly, so keep your forest walks short.
Curling up in cosy cottages
If there's one thing that humans and canines both adore, it's curling up in front of a roaring fire.
In fact, for many of us, the whole point of a frosty forest walk is so that we can fully appreciate the warmth of an open fire or wood-burner afterwards!
Many country holiday cottages not only accept dogs, but also have magnificent hearths in cosy living rooms.
If you want to give your pet a truly toasty experience, you could even look for one with underfloor heating.
While your beloved pup or pedigree snoozes in a comfy basket at your feet, dreaming of chasing sticks, you can toast marshmallows or enjoy a glass of wine or whisky.
Most holiday cottage companies offer a range of properties suitable for pets, often for a small extra fee.
During the low season, these may even be available at a bargain price – though of course, costs soar and availability plummets over the festive period itself.
Sykes offers pet-friendly holiday homes throughout the UK and Ireland.
How about the Yorkshire Moors with your Yorkshire Terrier? The Welsh Borders with your Border Collie? The Irish coastline with your Irish Setter?
Remember to check details of local vets so you are fully prepared if your pooch suffers a mishap.
Insurance policies cover accidental injuries, but terms vary.
Choose your policy from our pet insurance comparison site to make sure you've got the right cover for your beloved furry friend.
Strolls in the snow
There's little more heart-warming than the sight of a tiny fluffy dog bounding its way joyfully through snowdrifts, or a huge hound barking in bewilderment at falling snowflakes.
It's not just huskies who love the snow – many dogs adore something new to sniff out.
Humans love walks in winter wonderlands too, when snow renders even a mundane stroll mysterious and beautiful!
While Switzerland may have given us the St Bernard dog, famed for mountain rescues, you don't need to head as far as the Alps to see snow-covered mountains this winter.
Instead, Scotland is the place for a UK snowy break.
You're pretty much guaranteed more than a glimpse of the white stuff if you head to the Highlands between December and February.
However, it's vital that you keep your dog warm in the winter.
Let it grow its winter coat, or if it's a short-haired mutt or a puppy, buy it a winter jacket to stop it shivering.
Check its paws after a walk in the snow to make sure it hasn't got grit stuck, and to brush off any ice or snow.
If despite your best effort your dog does become ill, seek veterinary attention.
Good insurance can cover vet fees up to a specified amount – find the right policy for your pooch on Go Get It's pet insurance comparison site.
A health and fitness break
If you and your canine companion love a good workout, then give 'Canicross' a try.
It's basically cross-country running with your dog harnessed around your waist running in front of you!
Not only does it keep you and your four-legged friend fit, it also exercises your pet's mind.
Working breeds are most suitable for Canicross, as they love the opportunity to go into 'work mode' and follow your commands.
Puppies and elderly dogs are not suitable.
Canicross is a perfect autumn and winter sport, as dogs don't like to get too hot.
Try a class to get you started, and then head to whichever fells or trails take your fancy.
The Lake District offers a superb variety, from tough mountain passes to peaceful valleys.
Make sure you don't overwork either yourself or your dog, and get excellent cover for accidental injuries to your pooch.
A historic holiday
Does your dog think it's King or Queen of the Castle? Do you have an aristocratic Afghan or a noble Newfoundland? Then take it to a holiday home fit for royalty!
The Landmark Trust offers holiday homes in incredible historic buildings around the UK, with a few overseas villas too.
Many not only accept dogs, but let them stay for free.
So if you and your pooch want to live like kings for a long weekend, explore a haunted Tudor mansion, or ring in the New Year in a converted chapel, then there's a Landmark holiday for you.
Remember – while dogs love to explore, they can easily get lost when away from their territory.
Some insurance policies will cover the costs of reuniting you with your errant holiday companion.
Check you've got the best cover for your adventurous hound at our pet insurance comparison site.
The lap of luxury
So your pampered pedigree likes the finer things in life?
In that case, book yourselves in for a luxury hotel holiday.
There are several hotels that offer humans and hounds alike the very best in holiday opulence.
One metropolitan treat is the Rosewood Hotel in London, where you and your canine friend can escape the Christmas shoppers on nearby Oxford Street with the canine package.
This includes a spa session for humans, while your pup gets a one-hour pampering experience with a celebrity dog groomer.
Of course, meals and beds for both you and your pet are exquisite, and you can even use a designer collar and lead for your strolls in the capital's beautiful parks.
And should you wish to experience London's nightlife or other canine-free activities, then dog-sitting is available.
A pet-friendly hotel is a great option for an older dog.
Make sure you choose an insurance policy from the Go Get It pet insurance comparison site, where there are no upper age limits.
Winter sun by ferry
Have pet passport, will travel?
Under the PETS Travel Scheme, you don't have to leave your canine chum in the kennels when you head off for some sun.
If it meets certain conditions, e.g. it's microchipped and vaccinated, your four-legged friend can come with you on your journeys overseas to certain countries.
There's no denying that taking a pet does severely restrict your options for foreign travel.
However, most ferry companies will let you take a dog on board.
You may need to leave your canine in your car, and you may not be able to visit your vehicle yourself for the duration of the journey.
Mellow mutts might be fine with this, while more pampered pedigrees could protest – you know your pet and its toleration levels best!
Other ferry companies will let you put your pooch in on-board kennels.
Even so, pets are unlikely to relish the long journeys – and may be pretty vocal about letting you and your fellow passengers know!
The best of the bunch is Brittany Ferries, which has pet-friendly cabins and exercise areas on some routes.
Best of all, it travels to Spain, meaning you and your Spaniel can soak up some winter sun in southern Europe.
If travelling abroad, make sure you've got excellent cover for your beloved hound.
You can use our pet insurance comparison tool to search through different providers to find the right policy to keep your dog protected during your overseas jaunts.
Pets on planes
Do you want to travel abroad, but dread the thought of a long ferry ride?
Some airlines do take dogs, but there are restrictions.
Many will put them in the hold, meaning that you will be separated from your pooch for several hours – hardly the restful start to your holiday that you both want!
A few will take smaller dogs in the cabin, at least on selected flights.
You'll have to take them as carry-on baggage and keep them in a transport container throughout the flight.
Contact the airline directly to check the conditions and make a booking.
If you travel with a dog on a plane, you'll need to keep it calm and happy throughout the flight.
Bring a comfort blanket or toys, and consider asking your vet about sedatives.
As ever, your pet's welfare is paramount. So, consider carefully whether it might be better to put your dog in the kennels.
Assistance dogs, of course, are allowed in the cabin on every airline.
Find the best cover for overseas travel with Go Get It's pet insurance comparison tool.
Get a quote today
No matter what type of holiday you choose for you and your mutt, you'll need to make sure it's covered with great pet insurance.
Go Get It's pet insurance comparison site allows you to search through policies from a range of providers to find the right cover for your canine at a competitive price.
Choose from accident only, time limited, maximum benefit and lifetime cover policies to give your pet optimum protection, wherever you are.
You can get puppy cover from eight weeks old, and many providers even offer a multi-pet discount.
Plus, there are loads of added extras you can choose such as complementary medicine, dentistry, and special diets.
Search today for your free quote, and head off on your holiday this winter with confidence!