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Tips for going on holiday with your dog

We all love a good family holiday, especially when it can involve every member of the family. Yes, that does include your four-legged travel companion. Dogs love to travel just as much as humans, and with a bit of pre-planning you’ll soon be off to a holiday in Looe with your beloved pooch.

With that said, here are a few tips, hacks and helpful pieces of advice to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as you want it to, and to ensure you all have the best time possible.

Before you leave home

Make an itinerary that suits everyone’s needs

When you plan your trip, make sure you account for everyone’s needs. Although your holiday shouldn’t just revolve around your pooch, make sure you aren’t planning all of your activities at places that won’t allow dogs. Even if places advertise themselves as dog-friendly it’s always worth calling ahead if you are concerned they may not be, this will give you the peace of mind you need to know everything will run smoothly.

Plan for emergencies

No one ever wants to imagine something bad happening to a loved one, but just as you would with your family members, plan for a pet emergency. This can be as simple as making sure you have the number of a vet local to your campsite in case you need to go there, as this can save time and stress. Another top tip is to always take a handful of clear photographs of your dog before you leave. In the case they do end up getting themselves lost you then know you have up-to-date pictures to share with people.

Make sure you pack for them as well

Now, you don’t need to pack an extra case for your pooch, but make sure you pack everything they’ll need. Take a second to think, if the dog is nervous in its new surroundings maybe bringing their favourite toy or blanket will help make your caravan feel more like home. Always pack enough food for the whole trip, you can never guarantee that you will be able to get the right kind when on holiday, and this will mean you don’t need to worry about spending your time searching for it instead of enjoying your holiday. Packing an absurd number of towels is also a good idea, the English weather is forever unpredictable and the last thing you want is to have to share your beach towel with the dog!

We spoke to the team at Woof Wag Walk whose top tip was: “Take some familiar bedding and toys with you to help your pooch settle and also a spare collar and lead.”

Teach them some basic commands

Teaching your dog some basic commands can come in handy when out and about in day-to-day life, as well as when you are on holiday. There are many dog-friendly beaches in the South West and it would be a shame to not let your pooch fully enjoy these when you are there, but at the same time you don’t want to be the person running down the shore after an excited dog. If, before you leave, you teach your pet a few basic commands, you can be more confident to let them off the lead and know they will be able to enjoy themselves, without having to worry about chasing them down when you are ready to leave.

During your stay


Make sure that you consider the journey that you are making with your pooch. If they are not confident in cars or have a lot of energy it’s worth stopping during your journey to allow them a short walk and a toilet break, as well as some fresh air. These short stops can be a great opportunity for you and your family to visit some more places as you travel down to the South West as well. If your dog does get nervous in cars before you leave you can spend some time making short trips in order to try and familiarise the dog with being in the car. It is also possible for your pooch to suffer from travel sickness, so it’s wise to keep remedies for this with you as your travel.

Using local dog sitters

However thoroughly you plan your trip, sometimes there are times when you cannot bring your pooch along with you. In this situation it’s always good to know the contact details for a few local dog sitters or dog walkers. Instead of leaving your pooch to panic alone in an unknown environment, the stimulation of a new friend to walk them can keep them distracted and entertained whilst you are away.

Get familiar

Just like you, it can take some time for your dog to adjust to new surroundings. Once you get settled into your caravan it’s worth exploring the surroundings a bit and getting both yourself and your pooch familiar with what’s on offer. This can put you both at ease in a new place.

After your stay

Share your pictures

One of the best things about coming home from holiday is being able to share your holiday snaps with family and friends. This time, as well as pictures of the landscape and your family you’ll also have pictures of your pooch.

Book another holiday!

Just like you, your pooch now probably has the taste of a Cornish holiday and is dying to get back to the beach. Now you have done it and know just how rewarding bringing your four-legged friend along is you can book another family holiday and recreate the magic!

Places to take your pooch

There are a lot of dog-friendly attractions, pubs and beaches in Cornwall. Below are a few of our favourites, which will hopefully become your favourites too!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. Based in Pentewan near Mevagissey, the Lost Gardens are an eclectic and characterful place that transports you from Cornwall to another world altogether.

We spoke to the team at the Lost Gardens of Heligan who told us why being dog-friendly is so important to them: “Our four-legged friends are as much as a part of the family as any other member and bring us so much joy. From the amount of wagging tails that we see in the gardens, we know that dogs enjoy The Lost Gardens of Heligan just as much as their owners do! With over 200 acres to explore, Heligan really is the perfect place to go on your Cornish walkies.”

They then told us what a full family day out would look like at the Lost Gardens of Heligan: “From the Apple Arch to the Woodland Walk, a dog walker can explore every corner of this iconic gardens and estate. Heligan is a paradise for the explorer, wildlife, plant lover and garden romantic. Victorian Productive Gardens and Pleasure Grounds beckon along winding paths laid out over two centuries ago. A sub-tropical jungle takes visitors on a journey through bamboo tunnels and under majestic tree ferns, giant rhubarb and bananas whilst the estate reveals a lost world of traditional breeds, wildlife and ancient woodlands.”

Lappa Valley

Hop on a steam train and head to Lappa Valley for a leisure park full of family-friendly activities like crazy golf, canoeing and railways. For an extra pound you can bring your pooch in, give them a ride on the steam train and take them out on the canoes as well as allowing them to enjoy the gorgeous landscapes in Lappa Park.

The Jubilee Inn

If you are looking for traditional country food and a warm pub The Jubilee Inn is just outside of Looe and is dog-friendly. Perfect for a pub lunch, The Jubilee Inn is full of traditional features like a wood burning fire and locally sourced drinks as well as happy holidaying pooches.

Cornwall At War Museum

The Cornwall At War Museum is not your usual museum. Dedicated to the Royal Navy, Army and RAF this large complex is home to military vehicles, memorabilia and much more. The perfect spot for a history-loving family, they even have an animal at war section! Providing your dog is well behaved they are welcomed into the large museum.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek is one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions. You and your family can have hands-on experiences with sea creatures, as well as seeing the resident seals up close. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary does a lot of conservation work and can also be a fantastic learning experience for young children. Minus a few areas the site is mostly dog-friendly, so you can bring your pooch and family along to discover the many creatures that call the Seal Sanctuary home.

Tintagel Castle

Between Padstow and Bude lies one of Cornwall’s most popular heritage sites, Tintagel Castle. Famous for its links to the legend of King Arthur, this cliffside site casts a dramatic shadow over the Cornish coastline. Dogs are more than welcome to explore the site, but it is recommended they are kept on a lead due to the steep cliff drops.

Pendennis Castle

Pendennis Castle was one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses. All dogs on a lead are welcome and this exciting attraction has a great vantage point over Falmouth and the bay. Journey through the maze of rooms and twisted staircases, discovering original World War II canons and the discovery centre.

Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway

Enjoy a ride through the Cornish countryside on a vintage steam train at Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway. The 13-mile ride is dog-friendly (providing they are on leads) and sweeps through some of the best sights Cornwall has to offer.

Talland Bay

Talland Bay is only 10 minutes from Tencreek Holiday Park and is a great little dog-friendly beach. This small, tucked-away cove is accessible by road or by the South West Coast Path and is great for rock pooling.

Paws for Cake

Paws for Cake is a Cornwall based dog treat maker. The small business uses all-natural ingredients and sells in a variety of outlet stores around Cornwall. You can support a local business a pick up some of these treats which we are sure your pooch will love!

Dog-Friendly Cornwall

Dog-Friendly Cornwall is a website dedicated to putting all of the dog-friendly attractions, beaches, eateries and much more in one place. This service gives you a bit of information about each place along with their dog policy, as well as also having a blog full of useful doggy info. A great resource for anyone looking for everything Cornwall has to offer.

Image Credit: woofwagwalk, James Stephens, The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

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