The dog is man’s best friend. No wonder that he can’t be missing when travelling! Take your four-legged friend on an adventure and go on canal boat holidays with a dog. Together with your furry buddy you will experience the most beautiful natural wonders of Europe from the water.
A few great reasons to take your pooch on dog-friendly barge holidays
No need to leave a family member behind
For many of us, our family pets are considered one of the family and are forever included in everything the family does. Yet when it comes to jetting off on holidays, we often have to leave beloved puppies behind. Whether this is because of getting your dog on a flight or hotels restricting whether you can bring pets along – there are so many obstacles to get past. When it comes to boating holidays, however, it’s a different ball game altogether.
Securing yourself a pet-friendly boat rental means you can say goodbye to leaving your dog behind and welcome them along. Locaboat supplies a huge selection of boats that are dog-friendly, allowing you to enjoy your holiday without thinking about how your dog is doing in a kennel or at home. With a Locaboat canal boat such as a Pénichette, the vessel can provide enough space for your dog to feel comfortable onboard and safe at the same time.
The time you spend on a boating holiday can be one that brings the family together and really helps you bond. Bringing your dog along with you will only add to this bonding process, forming a better relationship with the family and the family dog!
Dog-friendly boat trips are just as fun for your pooch
It’s a well-known fact that healthy dogs need mental stimulation for a happy life. We take them for walks, teach them to fetch and a whole other host of games for fun and stipulation. It is no surprise then that dogs find boat trips just as thrilling and exciting as humans. Just as a dog may put its head out of a moving car to feel the wind on its face and the ever-changing scenery, a dog on a boat will do much the same. Waking around the edge of the boat, our four-legged friends will watch the many riverbanks gently stream by, lapping up that waterway air.
Of course, boat holidays aren’t all about staying on the water for weeks on end; it’s also about getting out to explore. With your dog in tow, you can quickly jump off onto the banks of the river and canal and explore the surrounding area. With many boat holidays cutting through areas of extreme natural beauty, exploring these new outdoor places is fantastic for dogs.
As this type of holiday means you are constantly on the move from one great walk to the next, not only is your dog being entertained, it is also exercised as you travel – probably getting far more exercise than it would while you’re at home.
Boating holidays with dog-friendly canal boats has become a very popular way of holidaying with man’s best friend. With so many families bringing their dogs along, it can often offer a chance for your dog to mix with other dogs while docked on the canal or river banks. Although this might not be best for every family dog, it just goes to show how much your pooch can get out of the experience of a dog-friendly canal boat holiday.
Walking on the water The best destinations for boating holidays with a dog
Generally, a boating holiday with a dog is always worthwhile, wherever you are. However, some destinations are ideal for a trip on a houseboat with a dog. The most dog-friendly destinations are France, Germany and Holland. In France, dogs are part of life, in the cities but also in nature. They are generally popular and common, many lock keepers have a faithful furry companion. No wonder, so much nature and exercise! In France, you can also moor (almost) anywhere and enjoy wild nature with your four-legged friend and take long walks along towpaths. The Mecklenburg Lake District also makes dogs’ hearts beat faster: pure nature, no long journey, lots of space to run around. Holland, a classic, is also perfect for a boating holiday with a dog.
Some advice & tips for a boat holiday with your dog
Keep your dog hydrated!
With Locaboat, dog-friendly canal boat hire is a breeze and often event free for both you and your beloved family pet. This being said, if it is your first time with your dog on a boat, then there are certain bits of advice and tips that can make your whole experience that much more enjoyable and safer.
One of the most important things when taking your dog on a boating holiday is to ensure they are kept in the best of health. With most of our holidays taking place during the warmer summer months, it can get quite hot onboard. Dogs have their own ways of keeping cool, but they don’t sweat like humans which means they might need a little help from you. To ensure your pet dog doesn’t overheat on the boat, always keep a full bowl of fresh, clean water close by.
Ensure they are safe while onboard
The boats Locaboat rents out are extremely safe for both people and dogs, but we know that every little four-legged friend can be different. It’s important to only let your dog off of its leash if it can be trusted to be safe. This being said, it’s extremely rare for a dog to jump off of a moving or stationary boat into the water – they’re a little more clever than we may give them credit for! Experience has shown us that many dogs simply enjoy exploring the boat and getting their noses around every nook and cranny. Of course, all dogs are different, whether this is based on their breed or their personality. This being said, it’s important to understand how your pet will react on the boat and to always keep an eye on its safety.
Keeping your dog comfortable
The harder surfaces on the deck of the boat are great for being sturdy and reliable, but not so comfortable when your dogs want to lie down next to you as you navigate the waters. If they want to lie down next to you as you’re steering your boat, then it’s important to provide them with something comfortable to lie on, such as a small pillow or rug. Not only is this common dog care, but it also means that your dog will be extra relaxed and less likely to be stressed and cause unnecessary anguish to the rest of the holidaymakers on board. Pack plenty of doggy treats, and everything should run smoothly for you and your pooch.
A final point to remember, something that most pet owners are all too aware of, is to make sure you give your pet plenty of chances to go to the toilet before coming on board. Most family pets that are house trained are likely to treat dog-friendly boat rentals as just another home – but you can never be too careful!
Explore a variety of idyllic waterways with your dog-friendly canal boat hire
Take to the waters of the ‘German Lake District’
Northeast Germany is one of the most welcoming places in Europe to explore on a canal boat with your pooch. This region of Germany is loved by boaters region-wide and it is easy to see why. With a huge range of lakes, rivers and canals connecting each other, this region is known as the German Lake District. This is an aptly given name, as the region is made up of many lakes and nature parks, all of which provide amazing scenic places to explore with you and your beloved pet.
The Lake District is divided into two areas: the small Mecklenburg Lake District and the Mecklenburg Upper Lakes. Starting out from Fürstenberg, the canal journey takes you through the waterways, flanked by stunning rolling countryside and beautiful scenes of rural northeast Germany.
Once you have navigated this section, you will arrive at one of the most celebrated lakes in the region: Lake Müritz.
When it comes to places both you and your four-legged friend will enjoy, Lake Müritz really is it. With great expanses of water and cooling breezes, you can enjoy the scenes as you walk your dog around the open spaces and hidden meadows that surround the lake. Wildlife is abundant and diverse around the lake, with eagles, ospreys and cranes calling it home. To really get the most out of this area with your dog, head to one of the dog-friendly beaches that surround Lake Müritz – ideal for a little cooling off for you and the furry one.
Dog-friendly houseboat hire in the Netherlands
In a dog-friendly country where many people have one or more dogs, exploring this windmill and canal strewn nation with your dog is the done thing! When it comes to canal boat travel in general, you will struggle to find a more perfectly prepared country than Holland. A nation crisscrossed by a huge canal system that cuts through both towns, cities and countryside makes watercourse travel a simple thing.
The Dutch countryside, with its dikes and colourful tulip fields, provides a loving place in which to explore with the family and the dog. With Locaboat bases in Loosdrecht and Alphen, it is more than possible to explore the length and breadth of Holland, taking in the countryside and its famous towns and cities.
Starting in Locaboat’s base in Loosdrecht, boaters and their four-legged friends can choose to travel either north towards the capital Amsterdam or south towards the equally rewarding city of Utrecht, depending on the route they wish to take. Heading north from Loosdrecht, boaters will pass through the Dutch countryside with numerous places to get and explore with your dog. The banks of the canals are adorned with some idyllic sights – a picture-postcard view of rural Holland.
Arriving at the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, it won’t be surprising to see many other boats with dogs also looking at home on the water. Once in the city, there is so much to explore in this historic European capital, from the hiding place of oppressed diarist Anne Frank to the genre-defining museums of Vincent Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum showing work by Dutch masters.
Navigating the Canal du Midi with man’s best friend
The French nation is a playground of canal barge exploration. Whether this is through the famous UNESCO canal of Canal du Midi, across the low mountain range of the Vosges in Alsace or traversing France’s Burgundy region, there are a plethora of choices that can be enjoyed alongside your dog, and having them trot alongside you makes it all the more special.
In the south of France, Canal du Midi boat hire is becoming increasingly popular. An impressive feat of engineering, the canal links various waterways including the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean. Toulouse in the north is a city that holds romantic notions of France itself and is one of the biggest settlements on the canal. Alongside the canal itself is another UNESCO site, the citadel of Carcassonne. This epic castle and grounds are a sight to behold and is completely open to dogs.
Sail along the Canal du Nivernais or through Brittany with your family dog
Boating holidays in France aren’t only reserved for the famous Canal du Midi, in fact, the Canal du Nivernais is arguably the heart of France’s Burgundy region, and travel through central France is like nothing else. Linking two famous French rivers, the Loire and the Seine, the Canal du Nivernais is quintessential French waterway travel. Whether you want to enjoy the food-centric region of France or simply get out and explore the great expanses of rural countryside, this is the place for you.
Last but not least is an often-overlooked region of Brittany. More akin to the Galic regions of northwest Spain and the island of Ireland, the Bretton landscape is a wonder to explore with your family pet. The Nantes-Brest canal is the perfect balance of boating exploration, towpath cycling and rural dog walking. While you can easily get back on the tourist trail, this region lends itself perfectly to the relaxing approach of slow travelling and hopping on and off your boat. With the Atlantic coast on one side and the cities of Nantes and Rennes on the other, the choice is yours. However you choose to spend your French boating holiday, there’s sure to be a tail-wagging in agreement.
Book your boating holiday now!