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Boating Holidays with Dogs

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The "Kurgo" Surf-Turf Coat
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Thanks to the Pet Passport scheme, you can take your dog on holidays in France in addition to cruising routes in the UK. Some of the most popular routes are:

Pet friendly boating holidays in Britain

  • Berkshire
  • Cheshire
  • Norfolk Broads
  • Scotland
  • The Thames
  • Pet friendly boating holidays in France

  • Brittany
  • Loire & Burgundy

Hoseasons Boating holidays

Visit our Boating section to see what our advertisers
have to offer for boating holidays with your dog

Andersen Boats, Cheshire

Hapton Valley Canal Boats, Lancashire

StayIn Norfolk

My River Cruising, Berkshire

Shire Cruisers, West Yorkshire


A boating holiday can be the perfect way of taking a break with your dog. A relaxing pace of life, and stopping off whenever you feel like it can be a wonderful way of spending time unwinding with your four-legged friend. Towpaths through unspoilt countryside are perfect for dog walking and because boats travel at only around 5-6km per hour it’s not difficult to keep up if you and your dog feel like stretching your legs while the boat is moving. A boating holiday can also benefit your finances, the average price of housing your dog in a kennel for a week is around £100.00  and  you can reduce your costs to an average of £30 per week/short break on a boating holiday. So, forget kennels and separation anxiety, (your dog’s and yours)  pack his essentials and off you go.

Boating with your dog - Kate Boats image

Useful pieces of advice:
Before You Go...

  • Remember to bring your dogs bedding, food, water bowls, poo bags and grooming equipment as well as towels in case he accidentally takes a dip. Plenty of fresh drinking water is essential in warm weather, your dog needs to be kept hydrated.
  • Take your dog’s collar, including waterproof ID, and lead as there will be places where you may need to keep him under close control for his own safety. A spare lead is always useful too.
  • Invest in a life jacket in case your dog accidentally goes overboard. River banks and canal sides are often steep and even if your dog is a good swimmer he might suffer an injury falling overboard. Also remember that older and arthritic dogs will tire easily and once a dog stops swimming it will sink! Most dog life jackets have a handle, so it’s easier to get hold of him and lift him out safely as he will be unlikely to get back on the boat unaided.  Make sure the life vest is comfortable for him, and made in a bright, easy-to-see colour. Most dogs don’t object to wearing one but if you buy it in advance your dog will have plenty of time to accustom himself to it.

When on board…

  • Put your dog on his lead when entering locks and when mooring for their own safety
  • Discourage your dog from drinking river or canal water and make sure clean drinking water is available at all times
  • Discourage swimming. Debris in the water which you cannot see may cause injury and canal and river water is often much colder than you would expect. Passing boats and anglers' lines can pose dangers; there is also a small risk of leptospirosis.
  • Don’t allow your dog to disturb wildlife.
  • Take care when meeting other towpath users, especially cyclists and other dogs.
  • Scoop the poop and dispose of it sensibly!
  • Stay away from anglers - quite apart from being a nuisance to them, hooks and lines may cause injury to dogs.
  • All dogs need time to get their sea legs as the boat pitches and moves, they can also get seasick, like any person. The sound of the boat's motor may frighten some dogs, so introducing the dog to life on board gradually usually helps.
  • The sun and the heat can be more intense on the open water. Dogs get overheated more quickly than people, and on the water this is especially true. Use blanket or towels on deck if you need to as the deck can become very hot, just as you need protection for the bottoms of your feet make sure your dog has access to cool decks to walk on. Allow your dog access to the cabin to escape the heat and if it is a particularly hot day or make provisions to cool him off periodically. Dogs can also get sunburned, to learn how to prevent heatstroke or sunburns, see Keeping your dog Cool
  • Don’t forget that a dog needs the opportunity to relieve himself!
  • It is often chillier on board a boat in the evenings so make sure your dog has extra blankets.


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