Here in Britain we are famous for being pet lovers, as 14 million registered cat and dog owners attest to. And all those owners add up to more than 20 million four-legged friends. A large number even before we begin to think about gerbils, hamsters, horses, goldfish, parrots or pythons and many other creatures that are our beloved pets.

Many of those millions of pet owners are faced with the perennial question of what to do with Fido or Felix when the family takes their annual vacation.

Putting your pet in kennels is probably the only option if you want to travel further afield and don’t want the hassle of pet passports or quarantine. There are thousands of kennels to choose from, from small, friendly family businesses to larger, upscale dog hotels where your pet can enjoy their own vacation.

For the more adventurous pet travelers, the Pet Travel Scheme makes it possible to take a dog or cat to many EU countries without having to endure a period of quarantine upon return. PETS is all about stopping the spread of dangerous diseases, so checks and procedures are still needed. It’s great, but it’s a lot of work and stress for both the owner and the pet. It’s fine if you travel regularly or expect to stay abroad for an extended period of time, but probably not for the annual 2-3 week vacation in the sun.

For most people, the holidays are moments to share with everyone in the family, and that includes Fido or Felix. Therefore, a very popular option among dog and cat owners is to stay in a vacation home with a kitchen. Many allow pets to stay for free or for a small fee and because you have the place to yourself, a dog-friendly vacation home can be a true home-away-from-home for your pet. This option means it’s easy to dine with family and friends, and invite Felix or Fido along, too. Many holiday cottage companies will have dog-specific cottages and even go as far as checking for an enclosed garden, plenty of kitchen space and somewhere to walk to make everyone’s stay more enjoyable.

So what if you opt for a vacation home, but really want to get away from it all? If you’re ready for a pet-friendly holiday and want to experience something different, we recommend taking the whole family to Ireland. The culture, heritage and history make it a very special place and because Ireland knows a thing or two about the outdoors, pets are welcome. Why not find out more about the great places to visit and dog-friendly places to stay?

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