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Can I Take My Dog on a Ferry?

Barking Mad dog sitters provide their top tips for taking your

Dogs are welcome to travel on Caledonian Macbrayne’s ferries, serving Scotland’s west coast and islands. Pictured is MV Caledonian Isles docked at Brodick, on the Isle of Arran.

Heading to the coast and hopping on a ferry to a lovely location can be great fun but is it such an enjoyable experience for your dog? At Barking Mad Dog Care, we are huge fans of including our four legged best friends in our adventures and decided to find out all about taking dogs on ferries departing from the UK mainland.

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Dog Travel Tips: How to Make Car Journeys Less Stressful

The Barking Mad guide to enjoying car journeys with your pet

Barking Mad dog sitters offer expert tips on car travel with your dog

Taking your dog on a car journey can be worrying but you can minimise the stress by following our simple tips


We all know that dogs are ‘Man’s Best Friend’ and as such it’s very understandable that we want our beloved pets to accompany us on life’s little adventures. Everybody loves the excitement of a road trip and with a little thought and planning, the experience can be a happy one for your pooch too! Your dog’s main desire in life is to be with you and therefore canines can make eager and willing travel companions, as long as their needs have been taken into consideration.

Barking Mad Dog Care are experts in dog travel, providing chauffeur driven holiday transport as part of their 5* rated dog sitting service and have compiled the list below from many years of experience. We know that as we head towards the Summer and the weather improves (hopefully!) there is nothing better than heading off for a day trip or holiday somewhere with exciting new walks and experiences. We hope that the following tips help everyone to have fun!

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5 Walking Routes for You and Your Dog

Cottages in Northumberland is the North East’s first port-of-call for pet friendly holidays. With a wide range of self-catering apartments and holiday cottages, you and your four legged friend can enjoy all that the North East has to offer!

They have compiled a great article detailing some wonderful walks for you and your best friend in various parts of the UK:

The British weather might be unpredictable, but thanks to its rolling hills, sandy beaches and colourful countryside, you can enjoy exploring the UK whatever the weather. Whether you’re looking to spend a day in the countryside or an hour by the sea, there’s no greater way to uncover Britain’s beauty than on foot – with your trusty dog by your side.

From Northumberland’s unspoilt coastline to the breath-taking Gloucestershire countryside, Great Britain is brimming with scenic walking routes – and in today’s post, we’re bringing you some of the best trails for you and your furry friend to try out.

1. Northumberland

Northumberland is home to one of the largest stretches of dog friendly beaches in the UK, popular all year round. If you’re on the hunt for a seaside stroll, Beadnell Beach is the perfect route for you and your dog. The walk takes around half an hour and with the tempting water close by, your dog won’t be able to resist a splash around in the surf – so don’t forget to bring a towel! With miles of sand for your pet to explore and a range of exciting activities nearby, you won’t want to leave!

Northumberland coast

If you’re searching for a more secluded route, Druridge Bay Country Park is a popular spot for dog walkers – offering a beautiful lake side walk or a gentle wander along the beach. After your walk, pop into the on-site café, where you and your dog can enjoy a refreshing drink and rest!

After a day spent exploring, you’ll both be ready for a well-earned break – and thanks to a wide range of dog friendly cottages in the region, you needn’t worry about finding a place for you and your pooch to rest your heads!

2. Gloucestershire

If you’re looking for a walk with a view, the lush landscape of Haresfield Beacon won’t disappoint. Once you arrive on site, there are a number of routes to choose from. For a fairly easy, flatter route, head across the fields and drink in the sights. If you’re looking for a more challenging route, venture into the woods. Here you’ll be met with more walking paths which vary in difficulty – and dogs are allowed off the lead here, meaning your pooch is as free to explore as you are.

3. Cornwall

For a hike by the sea in Cornwall, a visit to Seaton Beach is a must. This walk will take around an hour and a half, depending on your pace, and provides beautiful panoramic views. Parking here is free but you might want to take some money for a refreshment at the end of your walk.


If you’d prefer to venture inland and are happy to get a little muddy, head for Chapel Cliff. Located on the edge of the fishing village of Polperro, this picturesque route offers something for everyone. From wandering along flat footpaths to hiking up uneven terrain, your dog will love the challenge!

4. Hampshire

If you find yourself in the South of England, Canada Common in Hampshire is the ideal walking spot for enthusiastic nature lovers. Whether you fancy a gentle stroll or are ready to take on a bigger rural route, you and your canine pal will be right at home in the wild. Be aware that other animals inhabit this area of Hampshire, so keeping your dog on its lead it recommended. With free parking, toilets and a picnic area, if you’re looking for a day out with the family – including your pooch – this is the perfect spot.
5. Derbyshire

With 700 acres of land ripe for the exploring, Shipley Country Park is guaranteed to impress both you and your pooch! You can reach the park by car, bus or train and entry is free – but if you arrive by car, be sure to bring some charge for parking.

The beautiful hamlet of Stenson is also high on the list of must-see places in Derbyshire. With plenty of scenic walking trails and a charming canal, it’s the perfect place for a day out or even an extended break. From an 8 mile trek to a leisurely stroll past the barges, you can tailor an afternoon along the canal to suit you both.


So whether you’re on the hunt for a challenging hike or searching for a countryside stroll, thanks to an amazing array of dog friendly walking routes, Great Britain promises the perfect day out for you and your four legged friend.

Visit Cottages in Northumberland to book your dog friendly holiday cottage – or if pooch is unable to travel with you, call Barking Mad – dog’s deserve a holiday too!

Lotti Loved Scarborough! A Dog Friendly Staycation


Scarborough South Beach

Barking Mad dalmatian Lotti and family (@BarkingMadLee & @RichardRDancy) headed off for a winter trip to the seaside this weekend and it turned out lovely! We decided to go for a short break to Scarborough and found that a holiday away with your dog is a real treat (even when it is blowing a 50mph gale!).

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

‘Pet Friendly’ Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

We stayed at the delightful luxury Ox Pasture Hall Hotel which promises that it is ‘pet friendly and very popular with dog owners’. We travelled across from west to east on a 250 mile round trip which was a mini-adventure especially as the wind and the rain never really let up. However, with games and the new Adele album we managed to make the time fly by and arrived ready to check out the facilities and make plans for the next day.

The country hotel gave us a well received warm welcome – we were showed to our room after Lotti had a quick charge around the grounds stretching her legs. She accompanied us to our spacious suite with king size double bed and sofa bed in the lounge area which was already set up for our daughter. The room was really warm and cosy so settling in immediately wasn’t a problem including Lotti finding a great little spot in her bed by the radiator.

Getting ready for dinner was made easy as our bathroom had double sinks, large wet-room / shower and a deep bath tub. We even had 2 TVs so that the X-Factor didn’t have to disturb the news! We took a short walk from our courtyard location to the main house where the bar area had a big log burning fire and big comfy sofas.Log Fire

Lotti of course joined us for our pre-dinner drinks and even had a chinwag with her new canine friend upon arrival.

We fancied a little game to pass the time with an excitable 6 year old; the staff lept to our aide with a paper and pencil to kick-off hangman and charades. This helped the gin and tonic with nibbles go down nicely.

Dinner was served in the main restaurant although we were given the option of eating in the bar area with Lotti. We decided she’d be better off back in her radiator warmed bed and so we headed to the relaxed atmosphere of the dining room.12308694_10154333897912788_1720017680510159889_n

We were greeted by a friendly team and seated on a large dining table and enjoyed a 3 course meal with amuse bouche and prosecco as added extras. The chocolate fondant was our favourite as it was particularly well cooked and presented.

Easy access to the hotel grounds made a short walk for Lotti before bed very easy with plenty of space for her to have a good run around. We opted for an early night as we wanted to make the most of the following day.

The morning walk with Lotti was just as easy as we took her around the small lake with access via a path allowed us to keep our feet dry. We were safe walking and happily greeted by another fellow dog owner before breakfast. There was a continental buffet and good selection of hot dishes including a full english which we plumped for. As with dinner the staff were really efficient and friendly with nothing too much trouble. We headed off to the local attractions…


The Scarborough area has plenty to offer including country dog walks and beach adventures (dogs are permitted on the beach from September to April). We even took Lotti with us on our ride up the funicular with stunning views that have helped holiday goers get to the beach since 1881.

Lotti loved chasing around the open area and played with other dogs as their owners braved the bracing Sunday morning air. We were treated to a rare viewing of the wreck of a wooden boat that was supposedly sunk in 1861 and provides an interesting and thought-provoking site for beach goers.

We were all fascinated by the spa which overlooks the stunning coastline. It is said the spa is Scarborough and Scarborough is the spa! Actors that have visited the Spa or have been filmed here include Helena Bonham-Carter and Rick Mayall in Dancing Queen and Ewan McGregor and Jane Horrocks were filmed in the Sun Court for Little Voice.

12316618_10153828777887578_4145864650580370827_nWe thoroughly enjoyed our staycation on the east coast of North Yorkshire and look forward to returning perhaps in the summer months.


Carriage of Animals in Cars


An RAC Pet Insurance study* has revealed that “More than one in four dog-owning motorists may unwittingly be breaking the law when it comes to transporting their pets by not keeping them restrained when their vehicles are on the road….. 4% of pet owners have had an accident, or near miss, as a result of a cat or dog being loose in their car……whilst the majority agree that it is a hazard to allow a dog to be loose in a vehicle, 28% said they would let their dog move freely, even in a vehicle full of luggage. Also of concern is that 21% usually leave their dogs unsecured on car seats while 6% let them travel in passenger footwells…….96% of cat-owning motorists said they would never consider letting their cat loose in the vehicle.”

A Spokesman said “As a nation of dog and cat lovers it is surprising that we seem to give so little consideration to their safety when they are transported in vehicles. Unsecured pets in moving vehicles are a real danger, not only to the driver and passengers, but to themselves in the event of an accident or if the driver has to brake suddenly.

While pet owners may feel they know how their dog behaves in the car, nobody can predict what might happen round the next corner or how a dog would react in or after an accident. The best way to ensure the safety and security of everybody in a vehicle when travelling with a pet is to make sure it is properly restrained.”

marion_brett_01 (Small)At Barking Mad, our service includes door-to-door, chauffeur driven transport for your dog to and from their careful selected host family. Being collected from home is far less stressful, and completely overcomes the anxiety caused to dogs when left behind by their owners. We take the safety and security of your dog very seriously and all Barking Mad vehicles are fitted with dog guards or dog cages and rear seat restraints.

According to the Highway Code Rule 57 “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 “failure of a person to observe any provision of the Highway Code shall not render the person liable to criminal proceedings of any kind but such a failure may in any proceedings (whether civil or criminal) be relied upon by any party to the proceedings as tending to establish or negative any liability which is in question in those proceedings.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has produced a leaflet called Protecting the Welfare of Pet Dogs and Cats During Journeys: Advice for Owners. The advice contained in this leaflet states “In some European countries, the law does not allow dogs to travel loose in vehicles.

Your pet should preferably travel in a container which meets particular standards. A cat or very small dog should always travel in a container, and the container should be placed where it:
• cannot move when you accelerate, brake and go round corners;
• is easy to get to; and
• is not exposed to strong sunlight or cold drafts.

If your dog travels loose in the vehicle, it should not be able to escape through any window. When windows need to be left open, we suggest you use ‘window guards’ to prevent the animal escaping.

If the dog is travelling in the luggage compartment of an estate car or hatchback, you should fit a secure dog-guard, and the floor should have a non-slip surface.

Providing ventilation at all times is essential – both when the vehicle is moving, and even more so when it is not moving – particularly in hot or sunny conditions.”

*Research carried out on among 1,622 UK residents between November 2013 and January 2014.

Thanks to our friends at Cliverton Insurance for the data.

To learn more about the Barking Mad service and to find your nearest branch, visit our website.

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