Dog owners worried about how their pampered pooches will settle when they leave them to go on holiday often include their own pyjamas, a T-shirt or even their smelly socks when they pack their beloved pet’s bag before sending them away.
We get the usual teddies and toys, but we’ve had owners pyjamas, T-shirts and even socks packed for them too.
Familiar scents help the dogs to settle when they are separated from their owners and as a nation of dog lovers it seems we Brits will stop at nothing to ensure that our dogs feel comfortable while we’re away catching some rays.
Melissa Sincock is a franchisee for Barking Mad, a company that arranges dog sitting holidays with host families.
Since it started in 2000, the company has arranged more than 100,000 dog sitting holidays to ensure people’s beloved pets feel home-from-home.
Melissa, who runs Barking Mad Middlesex from her home in Staines, said it wasn’t unusual to find items of an owner’s clothing inside a doggie bag. She said, “We get the usual teddies and toys, but we’ve had owners pyjamas, T-shirts and even socks packed for them too. I’ve just taken a dog to one of our hosts which had it’s Dad’s slipper in its mouth as a comfort!”
As Britain bakes in the longest heatwave since 1976, one item has become a must have this year for the discerning dog going on its summer getaway.
“Paddling pools have been this year’s big thing,” added Melissa. “The dogs love playing in them in this hot weather.”
Some owners of white dogs have also been including suncream and a sunhat to keep their best friends cool.
With the heat in mind, Melissa said the company is advising owners to pack extra items.
“We are asking people to include a cooling mat that can go underneath their dog’s bed – or they can just lie on it during the day, as well as travel water bottles so the hosts can take water out with them on a walk. Our hosts are walking the dogs early in the morning or later at night at the moment because of the heat.”
Dogs are renowned for loving their food and it seems that canine cuisine is another area where nothing is too much trouble. Melissa said, “We always take the dog’s regular food with them but we do get some very specific requests.
“We have had a whole poached fish and one owner always cooks a separate entire roast chicken for their pet when they have a Sunday roast which lasts the dog a whole week – so our host family will do the same.”
Hosts regularly send a handwritten pet postcard to owners as well as pictures and videos to illustrate how settled their dogs are. in exceptional cases Skype calls have been arranged too.
“We had a family who were back in America for 6-8 weeks and so once every couple of weeks we arranged a Skype call so they could see how well their dog was,” said Melissa.
Images by The Little Big Company