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The most popular time of year for booking holidays is apparently at the very end of the schools’ six-week holidays, when people are returning to their normal routine and desperately seeking something to look forward to.

Whether you’re planning a break for next summer or for any time in between now and then, you might be considering taking a break with your dog in tow. Taking dogs on holiday is becoming more and more popular amongst UK residents, though the UK tourist industry is still lagging behind our European counterparts for promoting pet friendly cottages or dog friendly cottages.

Similarly, unlike in many other countries in Europe, few restaurants in the UK welcome dogs.  So people planning on taking their dogs on holiday in the UK might find that whilst they may be able to find dog friendly cottages with enough searching, they may be unable to find places to go to eat or just visit where their dogs will be welcome, too.

Being prepared is key, then, to enjoying a stress-free, guilt-free holiday with your dog. The advent of the pet passport some years ago means that you can at least take your dog abroad now without them having to endure quarantine on return, but many people find that their dogs do not travel well, particularly on planes. There are dog friendly cottages available in the UK, though it is always worth checking reviews to see whether the accommodation is genuinely dog ‘friendly’.

Taking your dog on holiday is usually preferable to leaving your dog in a boarding kennel, and certainly better than leaving your dog at home to be fed by a neighbour – dogs left at home grow bored and distressed and can become aggressive and disruptive if they are not given plenty of human contact. Animal charities, such as the RSPCA, often receive calls from concerned neighbours or neighbourhood police teams about dogs left at home whilst their owners have gone on holiday.

So if you do take your dog on holiday with you, do a bit of research on the web before you set off to find places to visit.  If you’re planning on going somewhere like the Lake District then there will be no end of walks that you could enjoy with your dog, but if you are going somewhere a bit less open then make sure that your dog will be welcome. Search online for dog-friendly gardens and places of interest near to where you plan to stay. Check the websites for English Heritage and the National Trust for ideas local to where you will be staying, and ring around if necessary to check whether dogs are allowed on site.

If your holiday is going to be close to the coast, check beforehand whether your dog will be permitted on the beach: often at peak times during the year, dogs are banned because of the risk of fouling.

Be prepared, and enjoy your pet friendly cottages with your best friend.

This is a guest post by Claire Sim a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Sim).