Dogs

Why holidaying with your pet is now easier than ever

dog with ball on beach

No family holiday is complete without the dog, which is why almost a third of owners choose to take their pooch with them when they go on a UK break. This was revealed in a survey we carried out among dog owners to find out how their canine companions affected their holiday decisions.

Sadly, 19% of people who responded admitted that they rarely went away. This isn’t altogether surprising—until recently, the availability of decent-quality pet-friendly accommodation had been extremely limited. Leaving your dog in the care of boarding kennels or a pet sitter can significantly increase the overall cost of the trip, not to mention fill you with shame! A survey carried out by Mintel found that almost four in 10 pet owners feel guilty about leaving their dog when going on holiday.

The best of both worlds

Thankfully, the days of compromising on the standard of your accommodation in order to include your pet are becoming a thing of the past. Holiday providers are finally realising there’s much demand for high-quality, pet-friendly accommodation, and the number of premium hotels and holiday homes welcoming four-legged friends is growing rapidly.

Nicky Burton, founder of All Four Paws, specialises in finding the very best pet-friendly venues for holidaying with your pup. Here she explains why taking your pet away with you has never been easier:

“The rise in ‘pet-friendly’ holidays has meant there are so many wonderful destinations to enjoy together, from hotels to eateries and many adventures beyond. Travelling with your dog may feel a little daunting at first but ultimately they love being by your side and you'll have a wonderful time exploring new surroundings and making new friends together, of both the human and hound variety!”

pet friendly hotel

What to look for in dog-friendly holiday accommodation

With an abundance of pet-friendly destinations available, it can be difficult to know what to look for. Finding somewhere that welcomes—as opposed to merely tolerates—your dog will make your holiday so much more comfortable, as Nicky explains:

Venues that truly welcome dogs are vital to us. They should welcome every member of the family with open arms so that everyone is at ease, can relax and have a wonderful time together.”

Here are our top tips for what to look out for when selecting your holiday venue:

1. Do your research

There are lots of pet-orientated blogs dedicated to travelling with your dog. Learn from other pet owners’ experiences—they will be able to offer unbiased advice on the places that claim to be pet-friendly and the ones that actually are.

2. Filter your search to meet your needs

Specialist pet travel websites such as All Four Paws have already done the legwork and can recommend places that will suit your whole family’s needs. Alternatively, mainstream holiday sites let you tailor your search to include only ‘pet friendly’ or ‘pets allowed’ options.

3. Call ahead

Get a better idea of what you’ll find when you arrive at your destination by calling the hotel or person responsible for the accommodation directly and asking a few questions. For example:

  • Do you have any restrictions as to the size, breed or age of dogs allowed?
  • What’s the policy for bringing more than one dog?
  • Do you charge extra for dogs? Are costs per night or per stay?
  • Are there any areas in which you don’t allow dogs?
  • Are there any rules about where the dog can go to the toilet?
  • Can we leave dogs in the room/property unattended?
  • Do we need to put our dog in a crate overnight?
  • Do you provide any pet extras, such as bowls, bedding, towels etc?

4. Research the surrounding area

Once you’ve found the perfect pet-friendly accommodation, it’s well worth checking that the surrounding area is equally accommodating. Being near pet-friendly beaches, pubs and restaurants means you can thoroughly explore the area with your pooch by your side.

5. Distance to the venue

Keep in mind that long journeys may be stressful for dogs and they’re likely to need several stops along the route to stretch their legs, go to the toilet and have a drink.

Winding country roads can make dogs travel-sick, so always research your journey to find the smoothest routes with plenty of available stop-off points. Nicky agrees:

“Regular stops are good all round—we certainly need them too! Make time to let your dog stretch their legs, have a sniff or two and a comfort break. If it’s a long trip, we try and make sure our dogs have had a good walk first, then they’re ready to hunker down and have a snooze—perfect for a car journey!”

6. Think seasonal

Many beaches don’t allow dogs during the summer months. Out-of-season breaks, however, mean you can enjoy long walks on the sand with your pet. You may also find that venues are more accommodating to pets in the quieter months.

dog in suitcase

Top tips on what to pack

Whether you’re off on a short trip or a longer break, packing smartly will ensure your dog has everything they need to settle into the new environment. Here are our suggestions:

Eating and sleeping

Dog food and bowl—Take enough of your pet’s favoured food and treats (particularly if they require a specialist diet) to last your entire stay. A plastic mat to go beneath the bowl will help keep flooring unsoiled.

Basket/bed—Bringing your dog’s own bed will add a touch of familiarity, as Nicky explains:

“We find that dogs like to have some familiar smells and some beloved items with them to help them relax in their new surroundings. Our spaniel guru Rigby loves to have a taste of home with him, whether that’s his bed, the blanket he loves to snuggle in or his favourite toys.”

Dog crate—If you transport your dog in a crate, it can double up as a bed for when they go to sleep at night. This will also stop them from getting up to mischief if you leave them alone in the accommodation for a short time.

Packing list

Eating and sleeping

Food, treats, bowls and mat

Dog bed/basket

Familiar toys and blankets

Dog crate

Out and about

Collar/name tag

Leads (long and short)

Water bottle and bowl

Wipe clean bootliner

Poo bags

Dog seatbelt or harness

Towels

Dog spike

Precautions

Medication

Old sheet

Fabric stain remover

Brush

Pet insurance

Out and about

Collar with name tag—If you lose your dog, it’s essential people can return him or her to you. For this reason, put your current mobile number on the dog’s tag and fasten it securely to the animal’s collar. It may even be worth getting another tag marked with your holiday address as an additional precaution.

Long and short leads—While your pooch may enjoy walking on a long leash, in some areas (such as national parks) you might be asked to keep them on a short leash.

Water bottle and bowl—Carry a water bottle in your bag at all times to keep your pup hydrated. Collapsible bowls are great for feeding on the go.

Wipe-clean bootliner—Holidaying with your pooch provides plenty of opportunities for muddy hikes and long walks along sandy beaches. Unfortunately, sand and mud can make a real mess of your car boot, so investing in a wipe-clean bootliner lets you thoroughly enjoy messy day trips without worrying about soiling the car’s interior. Bootliners will also protect the car from scuffs and scrapes if you transport your pet in a crate.

Poo bags—Just like at home, it’s essential to clear up any dog mess when out and about.

Dog seatbelt or harness—Make sure your dog is suitably secured while in transit to prevent them suffering an injury if there’s a motor accident. Not only will this keep your dog safe, it also means you’re following car insurance guidelines.

Towels—Pack a few old towels to give your four-legged friend a good rub-down after they’ve been playing in the water or mud.

Dog spike—If you’re planning on picnicking or pitching up on a beach, dog spikes are great for keeping your dog restrained on a long leash.

Precautions

Medication—Pack any regular medicine that your dog may need.

Large sheet—An old sheet will help stop dog hair getting on carpets or upholstery.

Fabric stain remover—Just in case of accidents.

Brush—A good brush after a wet walk is a useful way to stop fur becoming matted.

Pet hair roller or lint brush—Many holiday homes ask that you leave them in the condition in which you found them. A quick tidy round with a roller will remove all trace of pet hair.

Pet insurance—Arranging this is always a worthwhile precaution. Keep details of your policy on you in case your dog needs medical assistance while you’re away from home.

You can download a free printable packing list here.

How car journeys can risk your dog’s safety and add points to your licence

dog sitting in car boot

Once a four-legged friend joins the family, it’s only natural that you’ll want them to join you when you’re out and about. But because not all trips can be made on foot, it’s often necessary to transport dogs by car.

Taking a dog on a car journey, however, isn’t as straightforward as simply letting them jump in and sit on a car seat. Allowing a dog to sit unrestrained in a moving vehicle can be incredibly dangerous, both for them and for other passengers in the car. It can even mean the driver is breaking the Highway Code, which states:

“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 have to stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."

Driving without due care and attention because your unrestrained pet has distracted you can see you fined up to £2,500 and given nine penalty points. What’s more, your insurance policy is unlikely to cover any damage caused.

To find out whether people are aware of this regulation and to determine just how safe dogs—and their owners—are when travelling by car, we surveyed the British public.

Here’s what we discovered…

Alarmingly, 45% of dog owners admitted that their dog roamed freely in the car, either on the back or front seats, in the boot or in the footwell.

labrador sitting in back seat of car

Of those who restrained their dogs in transit, using a dog guard in the boot was the most popular method, taking 29% of the votes. Not only does this comply with the guidelines set out in the Highway Code, it also ensures that the dog is safe, comfortable and unlikely to cause the driver any distraction.

TOP TIP: Ensure that your dog doesn’t soil or damage the interior of your car boot by fitting a wipe-clean bootliner—perfect for after muddy walks and essential if your pet is prone to chewing or travel sickness.

A further 24% of the public chose to secure their dog in a harness during transit, again complying with Highway Code guidelines.

TOP TIP: If using a harness for your pet, never secure them to a front seat whose airbag is activated. If you were to crash, the airbag could cause your dog considerable harm.

Another popular way to transport dogs is in a crate in the boot, a method favoured by 13% of those surveyed. This helps ensure the dog is comfortable and in familiar surroundings, especially if you also use the crate as the dog’s indoor bed.

TOP TIP: Again, a bootliner will help protect your car’s interior when lifting the crate in and out. Some models can even be configured to protect the car’s tailgate.

Meet the experts

As well as surveying the public, we also asked pet care experts for some top tips on keeping dogs safe and comfortable in transit. Here’s what they had to say…

ryan white

Ryan White

Managing Director of We Love Pets

we-love-pets.co.uk

We Love Pets is an award-winning pet care business, offering professional dog-walking, pet-sitting and boarding services.

Ryan has been teaching animal care and behaviour for eight years and has 25 years’ experience of working with dogs.


louise self

Louise Self

Dog care coordinator at Barking Mad

barkingmad.uk.com

Barking Mad is the UK’s number-one dog home boarder, offering dog sitting and home boarding.

Louise is an experienced dog owner and trainer and regularly hosts dogs in her own home, as well as arranging suitable matches with other families.


gemma harrison

Gemma Harrison

Owner of Walkies with Marley

walkieswithmarley.com

Walkies with Marley is a family-run dog-walking and pet care business based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Fulfilling a lifelong desire to work with animals, Gemma (along with Marley, her four-year-old Border Terrier) provides a personal pet care service, making the most of the fabulous walks on offer around the Peak District.

How would you advise transporting a dog on a car journey? Does this differ according to the size of dog/number of dogs?

Ryan: Definitely! People often assume that larger breeds are more difficult to travel with due to their size, but actually small dogs could be just as much of a hazard in a moving vehicle as their bigger counterparts.

Distraction could increase the risk of an accident, which is why an appropriate safety harness that fits correctly or a cage to secure the dog is paramount. Where is the dog? Exactly where you left it—there’s no need to keep checking. The dog is safe and so are you and your passengers.

If you have more than one dog, each dog needs to be restrained in a safe and appropriate manner, no different to that single dog. It’s important to ensure that any equipment is fit for purpose. If it’s too tight, it could rub and cause discomfort, making the dog unsettled. If it’s too loose, it may cause the dog to free itself and startle the driver, causing a distraction. If the dog is in a harness, it’s important that long leads aren’t draped loose as this could cause the dog to become tangled and lead to injury.

Louise: There are many ways to transport dogs. My preferred favourite is in a crate in the rear of the car as the dogs can move around and have space to change their positions for maximum comfort. When you have more than one dog, it eases stress as the dogs remain together all the time.

Dogs don’t have to wear seatbelts, which can aggravate some, particularly if they’re not used to wearing a harness and being restrained. Never attach a seatbelt to a dog’s collar as it can cause a neck injury or potentially strangulation. They also tend to be damage-limitation in the form of preventing the dog being thrown forward in the event of a collision and don’t really offer any protection to the dog.

Gemma: You must restrain your dog when travelling in a motor vehicle—failing to could invalidate your insurance if you have an accident, and land you an additional fine. Personally, I’d strongly advise using a crate, especially for younger giddy dogs, or where this isn’t possible, a doggy seatbelt. As a dog walker, I use multiple crates in the back of my van and on the whole have each dog crated individually. I do have some larger dogs that I’m unable to crate due to their size, so I have them attached to a short dog seatbelt to keep them in place, safe, and at no risk of getting tangled.

dog in seatbelt

Do you have any tips to help dogs suffering from travel sickness?

Ryan: The most important rule is to always plan your journey! Make sure you don't feed the dog immediately before or after as it may cause them to have an unsettled stomach.

Frequent short journeys are best and try to avoid lots of windy roads and roundabouts where possible. The most important thing in preventing travel sickness is enabling the dog to gain balance. The dog needs to feel secure. Lots of deep bedding will support the dog and allow it to feel far safer. Once the dog starts to realise it can regain balance with the movement of the car, you can start using less bedding.

Louise: If a dog suffers from travel sickness, it can help for them to travel in the front passenger seat provided they are well secured. I’ve found that driving particularly smoothly helps—for example, if stopping at traffic lights etc. brake slowly in anticipation and don’t pull off suddenly. Also ensure that the dog doesn’t eat for at least two to three hours before they travel. There are various medications or stress remedies on the market but I’ve never used them, finding the above combats all but the most serious car sickness.

Gemma: I’ve found that, like people, dogs can be travel-sick when they can’t see out of the window, usually when they’ve been positioned in low crates. Elevating the crates to enable the dog to see seems to help! Also, don’t give your dog a big meal before travelling—feed them literally nothing if you can help 

What problems (if any) have you encountered transporting dogs?

Ryan: I’ve never encountered any problems personally. I’ve worked with dogs for over 25 years and it has always been instilled in my mind to always expect the unexpected and have mitigations for every unexpected incident. Fortunately, prior planning has always prevented any incident. All of our franchisees we recruit have training at Wiltshire College and gain a City and Guilds qualification, which prevents any mistakes or misjudged acts. All of our franchisees and their teams follow our health and safety policy and training guides that we put together at head office, which dramatically reduces the likelihood of an incident occurring. In the unlikely event that an incident occurs, all of our team are pet first-aid trained, which means they can deal with emergencies swiftly and confidently.

Louise: I’ve never encountered any problems transporting dogs. I find they like the radio or music on and soon relax and enjoy the journey.

Gemma: No major problems to report.

dog eating outside car

Would you approach taking a dog on a long motorway journey differently to a local journey?

Ryan: I would always exercise and toilet-break the dog before any journey—long or short. If it was a long journey and the dog was fit and active, the exercise prior to leaving would be more significant. Feeding a dog before a journey or letting them drink lots of water could lead to complications. Whether the journey is long or short, a dog would benefit from not having a full stomach.

Louise: I would take more items to entertain a dog on a long journey, particularly if they do tend to find travelling stressful. Something for the dog to chew would be helpful as this both occupies them and helps relieve stress. Also if they have a favourite soft toy or blanket that gives them comfort, put that in the crate with them.

Gemma: On longer journeys I’d make sure that they are comfortable with a soft towel or a blanket on the seat or in their crate. If using a doggy seatbelt on a long journey, you obviously need to ensure your dog is safe, and on a leash which is not too long but long enough for them to relax and lie down and sleep. Ensure you break up the journey for a leg-stretch and toilet stop and bring plenty of water.

On shorter journeys, especially when I’m working, I still put towels in the crates to make the dogs more comfortable. It also helps to dry them off a little when transporting them home again. I always have water, which is especially handy on warmer days, but to be honest we generally go where the dogs can have a splash and a drink in the rivers.

Is there anything you could recommend to help ensure the dog is as comfortable as possible in transit?

Ryan: It’s always really important to ensure the car is well-ventilated on a hot day with either air conditioning or open windows, especially on long car journeys. No air flow and warm weather can be detrimental to a dog’s health.

Louise: Open the window slightly to let in some air, drive carefully and be responsive to the dog’s needs. A comfortable full-restraint harness if travelling on a seat and your dog is happy with this.

Gemma: In the summer, keep them cool and hydrated, and in the winter keep them warm and comfortable. The problem with crates is that the majority have a plastic bottom, so without a towel or a blanket dogs can feel like they’re slipping about. Also ensure you buy the correct size of crate for your dog, especially for longer journeys.

Has transporting a dog ever damaged the inside of your vehicle? How have you prevented this?

Ryan: Restricting a dog and not allowing it to roam freely in a vehicle will immediately reduce this risk. I’d always advise if you have a dog on a harness on the back seat that the dog is already familiar with the harness. Wearing the harness supervised within the house and normalising it will prevent the dog from chewing it. Dogs can get bored easily and release anxiety by chewing so don't leave the dog unattended for a long period of time.

Plan your route with suitable areas to exercise the dog and allow it to have a toilet break as this will help settle the dog. Familiarisation is key for dogs—new things can cause excitement or anxiety and both of these behaviours can trigger chewing.

Acclimatise your dog to the car by starting with shorter journeys closer to home before you start with longer journeys. Always look out for signs that your dog may be stressed such as panting, barking, fidgeting or panting heavily.

Louise: I’ve never experienced damage to the interior of my car due to the dogs being in a crate.

Gemma: I’ve used a material seat liner in the past that attaches to the front seat and then straps onto the back seats. Liners are a great idea, as they help to protect the seats then just lift out so you can shake them off and give them a clean.

The Best Cars for Dog Owners

For many dog owners, finding a car that is compatible with transporting their beloved pet is a top priority. Whether it’s taking your dog out to their favourite walking spots, away on holiday with you, or on day trips to see family, you’ll want a vehicle that both you and your dog can enjoy riding in.

Any car’s suitability for travelling with a dog, or dogs, can be enhanced by features such as quality boot protectors and mats that offer both comfort and protection. That said, it is still worth looking at the cars which come ready-made with the most dog-friendly format.

When look for the ideal vehicle for this aim, we consider features such as interior space, seating layout and ease of access for dogs who aren’t as mobile as they once were. We’ll also provide helpful links to the range of available items we offer, designed specifically for these leading dog-friendly car models. After that, it’ll be down to you to choose the car that suits you and your dog the best.

Skoda Superb Estate

Skoda offers a fine range of vehicle options, but we chose the Superb model here, because it lives up to its name when it comes to providing a great fit for dogs. There is a real focus on comfort, with the Estate option particularly spacious and the car able to cruise along in real ease even on long trips.

This model also has one of the largest boots of a car of its type, at around 660 litres capacity, so much so that you’ll probably be jealous of the amount of space your dog gets to enjoy! It also offers the benefit of a low loading sill in its boot that is easy for most dogs to jump into. An ideal fit.

Our range of Skoda Superb items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/skoda/superb

Nissan X-Trail

Offering a sleek and stylish look in a range of colours, the X-Trail is becoming an iconic model for those with an active lifestyle and taste for adventure, albeit with the comfort of such an elite vehicle. In terms of what it specifically offers to dogs and their owners, it is a comfortable and spacious option, with space consideration for a storage rack for leads.

This is a great looking car that gets better with every new model, whilst still being priced around £10,000 less than comparable options from Audi, BMW and Range Rover. The boot loading lip is a little higher than some, but overall it’s ideal for any dog owner looking to achieve luxury at a fair price point.

Our range of Nissan X-Trail items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/nissan/x-trail

Peugeot 308 SW

This is another vehicle with a fantastically spacious boot capacity, in fact matching the Skoda Superb at 660 litres, but doing so with a shorter and taller boot shape. This makes it an ideal fit for dogs who may prefer standing tall in a boot rather than lying flat. You’ll know your dog’s preferences and comforts better than us, but it’s worth noting the point that shape can often be as important as space.

A classic family car that, while offering a little less space than our other listed options for its rear seats, offers a low boot floor and loading lip that makes it comfortable for the majority of dogs to get in and out of. It is also a highly economical car for those looking for additional value when travelling.

Our range of Peugeot 308 items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/peugeot/308

Seat Leon Estate

A sleek car model that is as stylish as they come in terms of estate models, you can see the influence of Volkswagen construction methods alongside the unique Seat style. This car features a 580 litre boot, but comes with the benefit of an adjustable boot floor to help you find the ideal level for your dogs.

Providing a lovely balance of performance, style and economical use, this vehicle is sure to have your dog travelling in style while also giving you a range of benefits as a driver.

Our range of Seat Leon items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/seat/leon

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The latest range of Picasso models are the crowning achievement of the Citroen Grand range, offering a real style and innovation to their design. Equipped for a large family with its third row of seats, the makers also keep in mind that many families have a dog as a vital member, with the third row of seating able to be removed to offer a 540 litre boot capacity ideal for a dog to enjoy.

With its low lying boot floor and lip, it offers a comfortable space for any dog to climb in and out of, as well as a range of economical running features meaning you’ll also feel at ease whenever you use it.

Our range of Citroen Grand items are here: https://www.hatchbag.co.uk/boot-liners/citroen/grand-c4

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at some of our favourite vehicle options for dog owners. We’re continually casting our eye over the leading cars on the market so that we can ensure we offer custom boot liners and accessories for them all. We’ll report back if any new options make our list, but for now, these are the best options in our eyes and well worth considering as your next car selection.

The Best Dog Car Mats on the Market

As we move towards autumn, chances are that your dog walks are likely to become a fair bit wetter and muddier. That should never stop you from taking your dog to stretch their legs outside, but it may call for added protection for your car. Here at the Hatchbag Company, we know how important it is to find the right mat to protect your car, so we’re always looking to provide the best options.

Thankfully, there are a range of boot protectors and dog car mats on the market, so today we’re going to look at the best car mats you can get your hands on. Whether you’re looking to protect the car from mess, from smell, or just to give your dog a more comfortable ride, we’ll help you to find the best options to benefit your dog and keep your car looking its best.

Rubber Mats

A rubber mat isn’t specifically designed for dogs, but does offers a range of benefits for any dog who is likely to make your boot wet, whether because they’ve been out running through wet terrains, or are yet to be fully toilet trained. They offer waterproof protection to your boot, as well as being designed to reduce the chance of your soggy dog slipping around in the boot as you turn corners.

There are many options on the market, but here at the Hatchbag Company, we have developed our range of elite rubber mats to sit over the base of our Hatchbag boot liners, each designed specifically for an exact car make and model. While our rubber mats are only available in black, they’re able to complement our range of boot liners, available in colours including blue, brown, grey, pink and red.

We would recommend the rubber mat as a suggested dog mat choice for heavy use. The top surface of our rubber mats features a Penny/Stud design that is innovatively designed to reduce slip, but also allow objects to move across the mat’s surface without snagging or ripping it. Meanwhile, the underside of the mat is textured to eliminate any slip between the boot liner and the mat.

a Hatchbag rubber mat

Odour Control Mats

It is inevitable that your dog is going to get a bit smelly from time to time, especially when they get wet. As we’ve covered already, the autumn and winter months bring particular consideration for damp and dirt, which in turn bring a range of potentially ‘interesting’ smells!

There are a variety of odour control mat options for the home, designed for dog beds and other sleeping areas, but the options for cars are more limited. Or at least, they were. The good news is that here at the Hatchbag Company we’ve developed a quilted blanket-style odour mat which offers comfort as well as containing activated carbon that is built to absorb and eliminate bad odours.

Any odour control mat we produce will be tailored to fit perfectly inside the bespoke Hatchbag boot liner for whichever make and model of car you own. Additionally, all of the odour control pet mats we sell feature a special finish that repels both hair and dirt. The mats are available in black, which provides a stylish complement to the range of colour options our boot liners provide.

a Hatchbag odour mat

HatchBed Mats

We’ve covered dealing with wet, and with smell, but what if you’re looking to offer your dog the height of comfort as they travel? Here’s where we can offer another option that really sets us apart from the general market for dog mats.

We offer an option called the HatchBed – see what we did there? -  that offers a soft pile rug-style lining of around 25mm depth. Even better, they come in three main size options which are designed and tailored to fit inside the specific boot liner match for your vehicle.

HatchBeds utilise a unique non-slip ribbed rubber backing to ensure they stay securely in place and let your dog fully relax and even snuggle up on their comfy new surface. HatchBed mats are washing machine and tumble drier suitable and supplied in pairs, so you always have a clean/spare one.

It’s no wonder that our HatchBed mats are recommended by many Vets and pet care professionals, with many clients attesting to the fact that their dogs have never had a more comfortable ride. Our selection of HatchBed mats are only available in charcoal colour at present, but again, the classy colour and design combination allows them to fit perfectly with a range of boot liner colour options.

a Hatchbag Hatchbed mat

We hope this has provided a helpful overview of the best dog car mat options you can employ. We love seeing dogs well cared for and are aware that this has previously been overlooked when it comes to car journeys, which can be an anxious time for many dogs.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a range of car mat options that provide your dog with the best possible surfaces to make them comfortable, while providing your car with ideal protection. We hope you enjoy taking a look across our range and finding the ideal option for your car and your dog.

Protect your car boot from dog hair!

The question dog owners across the county face, irrelevant as to whether they have a brand new car or if they have had a vehicle for months/years is: How do I protect my car boot from being covered in dog hair?

We’ve all been there, following a day of adventure with our pet pooch, we arrive home, let the dogs out of the back and are faced with dog hair and muddy paw prints everywhere. And, so, the process of cleaning the car boot begins, even though we know that the next time you take your dog out, you are going to be faced with the same dilemma. So, here at Hatchbag, we appreciate your time is precious and have come up with a way to keep your boot, dog hair free!

Step 1: Clean your boot from pet hair

If you have a brand new car then your car boot will be pet hair free, however, for those whose pooches have been in the boot already, the first step is to remove the hair.

To do this, you will need to give the car a good hoover out and also either use a pet hair removal brush to remove the hair from carpet, or, wrap your hands in cellotape to remove the dog hair from the carpet.

To prevent you from having to repeat step 1 on a frequent basis, you may want to invest in a boot liner. All our boot liners are tailor-made to fit the contours of each specific car model and are made from tough, waterproof and non-absorbent fabric. Plus, they are wipeable meaning, if you want to give them a clean it will literally take a couple of minutes.

You can also customise your boot liner to suit you and your family and pets needs. So, if you need a boot liner to just cover the base, the sides and back of the seats then a Standard version will be more than suitable.

a blue boot liner

Step 2: Prepare their space

Should you wish to give your pet more space by folding your backseats down with the liner in situ then you will need to upgrade the Standard version with either a Rear Plus or Rear Split. The Rear Plus allows you to fold your backseats down altogether, whereas, the Rear Split offers more flexibility in that you can fold your backseats down individually or altogether.

an orange boot liner with folded rear seatsa grey bootliner with back seats partially folded

And, if you want to protect your bumper from being scratched or from muddy dog paws then we also offer a bumper flap, which attaches to a loop fastener strip at the end of the liner and can be rolled away in the boot when not in use.

an orange bumper flap

If you have big dogs that like to drool over the headrests then a Rear Seat Flap might be of use, which attaches to the top of the backseats and flaps over the headrests. And for pets that like to press their bum up against the boot door, a tailgate cover will not go amiss.

a grey boot liner

Step 3: Cleaning your hook and loop fasteners!

Inevitably no matter how much we try, some pet hair will be attracted to some of the hook and loop fasteners, especially owners who have more curious pooches. But, we have a few tricks to help keep the hook and loop fasteners pet hair free.

Before fitting your boot liner, you may want to squirt the hook and loop fasteners with anti-static spray, as this will prevent the fasteners being covered in hair.

However, should hair accumulate in the hook and loop fasteners then you can use either a lint roller, tweezers, a comb, duct tape or even a toothbrush to remove the hair. Then you can use the anti-static spray to prevent hair from getting into hook and loop fasteners again.

Step 4: Keep pet odour at bay

And finally, we all know how much our four-legged-friends like to jump in puddles, lakes, or roll around in mud and sand, not only covering them in muck but also giving them a distinct smell. So, in order to keep pet odour at bay, Hatchbag have come up with an odour mat, which is comfortable for your pooch to sit or lie on with the quilted material, but it also has a charcoal layer in the middle to absorb unwanted odours.

a black dog sitting in a car boot

Now, you can spend more time with your beloved pet than cleaning out your car boot. Don’t forget to send us your snaps of your pooch on the road, as we love sharing them on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page.

Top 5 Dog Breeds in England

As you may have all realised by now, we love our four-legged friends here at Hatchbag. Thus, we were interested to find out, which dog breed is the nation’s favourite. So, in this blog, we have compiled the top 5 dog breeds, as well as some interesting facts about each breed:

top 5 dog breeds in UK

Number 5 – English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel is friendly in character, as well as having the ability to learn quickly. With their happy-go-lucky nature, getting on with both children and other household animals, they make great family pets. Springers do tend to choose one person within the family to be 100% loyal to and they require a lot of exercise and activity to keep them entertained. If you are often away from home then springer spaniels are not the dog for you, as they cannot be on their own for too long.

Number 4 – Pug

Due to their small size, cute factor and squishable faces, the pug has become a firm favourite breed within the UK. They are charming in nature and are eager to please their owners, often following them about as they crave attention and affection. They make great family pets, as they are good with children. And depending on what you are looking for in a four-legged companion, pugs tend to be very lazy and like to sleep a lot.

Number 3 – French Bulldog

In recent years, the french bulldog has climbed the top dog breeds in England and is a strong contender for knocking the number 1 dog from its spot. But for now it sits at number 3. The french bulldog rarely barks and is good with children and other dogs, so, again making it a firm family favourite. They do not require too much activity and a few short walks a day will suffice. However, french bulldogs crave attention, so, they shouldn’t be left on their own for more than a few hours. And, you will need to get your french bulldog friend a jacket for winter, as they get cold easily.

Number 2 – Cocker Spaniel

The cocker spaniel is kind, smart and an all-round happy dog. They get on great with children, dogs and other pets. So, another great pet for families. They do tend to bond to one particular person in the house and that person tends to be the one who gives them food. Plus, it is important to bear in mind that they don’t like loud noises or being on their own. So, if you are a particularly loud person or are often not at home, then the cocker spaniel may not be for you.

Number 1 – Labrador

And the number one top breed in England is the kind and friendly labrador. Labradors have a strong sense of smell and are often used by the military, the police and as guide dogs. They are highly intelligent dogs and love company. They get along great with children and other dogs, so, make great family pets. They don’t tend to bark a lot, so, are very quiet in nature. But, you do have to be careful when it comes to food with these pooches, as they love their food and don’t have a switch-off button to stop eating.

It is fair to say that all us Brits love our four-legged friends and now we want to see your doggie photos. So share your snaps with us on Instagram @thehatchbagcompany, Facebook or Twitter @HatchbagCompany.

We wish you and your pet pooches a lot of fun together!

6 Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog

If you’re a regular visitor of our blog, you’ll know we’re somewhat enthusiasts when it comes to our four-legged friends. After all, like Frederick the Great of Prussia once said, “a dog is a man’s best friend”.

But, did you know just how much a dog can benefit from activities carried out with us humans?

There are many activities that can help a dog. For example, dogs that regularly exercise are less likely to become bored. Dogs that suffer from boredom are more inclined to carry out destructive behaviour in the home or worse still, suffer from mental issues.

At Hatchbag HQ, we’ve shortlisted 6 great activities you can enjoy with your pet pooch.

Dog parks  

Parks that allow dogs to roam free are becoming increasingly popular, especially in cities or built up areas. For the most part, parks are securely fenced, have safety signs posted with park rules and require you to pick up after your dog if it makes a mess, so be sure to carry doggie bags with you.

Dogs that are sociable enjoy meeting other dogs, and you might even make some new friends too? 

Doggy Day Care

If you work long hours or if you have just one dog that often spends long periods of time on his/her own, it might be worth looking into a doggy day care service.

Doggy day care can best be explained as a short-term boarding service for dogs. Usually, dogs will stay for the day, and the whole experience differs from kennels and boarding facilities. The whole day is centred around play, activities and exercise, keeping the dogs entertained rather than simply providing accommodation.

Fetch 

Playing fetch is a win-win for your dog. After all, dogs love both playing and pleasing their humans, and playing fetch involve both of these things.

Some dogs instinctively understand how to play the game, realising the need to retrieve the ball in order to run again, however, some don’t. So, you might need to do a little training with your pooch.

Here’s a great blog post that can help you train your dog to be a fetching pro.a dog sitting on the beach

Hiking

From moorland to canal towpaths, coastal walks to mountain peaks, the UK boasts a variety of stunning walks to enjoy with your four-legged friend. Better still, if you come across a National Park, you’ll more than likely come across rare wildlife too.

Check out the National Parks website to find a great route near you.

Holidays 

Gone are the days when you’d need to banish your beloved pooch to the kennels when you go on holiday. These days, dog-friendly hotels are aplenty, with some even offering pet services such as walking & playtime, just for dogs.

Go for a drive

For some dogs, a car ride can be the highlight of their week, however, not all dogs love the car. For some dogs, a car ride is one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences that leaves them shivering and tense.

If your dog does love the car, then be mindful that they might appreciate the ride if you’re just planning on going for a short drive.

Note: Please don’t ever leave your dog in the car alone and make sure you bring water, food and their lead just in case you do end up needing to stop anywhere.

Whatever activity you end up doing with your doggies, we would LOVE to see. Send us a snap or tag us in your picture by finding us on @HatchbagCompany on Twitter, @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram and The Hatchbag Company.

3 reasons why you should treat your pooch to a boot-liner this Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many of you will be thinking ‘what to buy’ the beloved pet pooch in your life? With countless ‘heart shaped gifts’ available, have you thought about the benefits a boot-liner has not only to your four-legged friend, but also to you as a car owner? We’ve shortlisted our favourite reasons why your doggie needs a Hatchbag item this Valentine’s Day.

Your dog can’t be blamed for muddy stains

The Hatchbag Company creates boot-liners specially designed to fit more than 521 cars, acting like a second skin within your boot so that no dirt, grit or fur can sneak through any gaps.

This is perfect for those post- walk scenarios where your dog is covered head to tail in mud. Simply pop him/her in the boot where your trusty boot-liner is fitted, and wait until you get home to give them a wash. The best part? You won’t find a spec of mud in your boot, all thanks to your boot-liner.

Dog comfort in the car

A car boot-liner not only provides aesthetic value to your car, it can also help to keep your furry friends safe and comfortable while they travel. With a secure fit, the liner will hold in place while the car is in motion and your dog is sat in the back. Why not upgrade your boot-liner by adding on one of our Hatchbed mats, recommended by vets and pet care professionals alike, to provide your four-legged friend with extra comfort during their car trips.

A HatchBed mat is designed and tailored to fit inside a Hatchbag Boot-liner. It has a unique non-slip ribbed rubber backing to fit comfortably and securely in your boot.

dog in a boot with a liner

No doggy smells

We offer tailor-made odour mats to fit on top of your boot-liner, or, if you want an odour mat to use in a dog bed or on the car seat , then why not opt for one of our pet odour mats which come in three standard sizes. Not only to they provide comfort to your furry friend due to their quilted material, but, they also trap unwanted odours both around the house and in the car.

Whatever you end up doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we would love to see pictures, especially if they include your pet pooches. Send us your snaps to @HatchbagCompany for Twitter, @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram & The Hatchbag Company for Facebook.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

5 reasons why we love dogs

If you know the team at Hatchbag, you’ll know we’re crazy about dogs. With a plethora of films, books and websites now devoted to all things canine, we’ve compiled a list of what we believe to be the best things about our four-legged friends.

weimaraner-puppy-dog-snout-97082 (2)

1) Endless love

If you own a dog, you’ll know the excitement and love you feel when you’re reunited with your pet. Whether it’s walking through the door after a long day at work or when a loved one brings the dog home after a long walk. They’ll dance at the door and become deliriously ecstatic to see you.

2) They’re the perfect exercise partner

Living in a world where we’re often strapped for time, it’s easy to fall into the couch potato mentality when we get home from work. One look at your dog’s little face, however, will have you reaching for the lead and marching out the door, trainers on feet ready to burn some calories.

What’s more, dogs need at least a half a half-hour walk most days, which is great for both us and them.

3) Dogs are the cheapest shrinks around

When you need a shoulder to cry on or a friendly face to offload to, you know you can always turn to your four-legged companion.

With most dogs loving nothing more than a good cuddle, you’ll feel instantly uplifted as they rest their head in your lap, reminding you that their love is endless.

4) A dog is a (Wo)Man’s best friend

No matter whether your dog is at puppy stage or within the regality of its later years, a dog will ALWAYS be there to supply you with love, support, happiness and gratitude – all the qualities we look for in a best friend.

5) Protection

A dog will always look to protect his/her owner & loved ones. It’s within a dog’s DNA to protect their territory, and from puppyhood, you can see a dogs desire to watch and be aware of anything coming into sight that might harm either them or their owners.

Just talking about dogs makes us excited to see ours. So, if you, like us, are planning to take the dogs out soon, be sure to pack your Hatchbag boot-liner to ensure that no unwanted stains or marks land in the boot of your car.

Also, if you do get out walking, let us know what you guys get up to by sending some snaps in. Check out @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram or @HatchbagCompany on Twitter.

Best cars for our canine friends

There is no doubt that some vehicles are better suited to dog owners than others. Whether it’s a lengthy journey or just popping down the road, you want your dog to be as safe and comfortable as possible.

So, when you’re looking for your new set of wheels, ‘paws’ for thought and take your canine friend into consideration. Here at Hatchbag, we’ve shortlisted the top three cars for dog owners.

Ford Kuga

Despite the feline sounding name, the Ford Kuga is a perfect car for dog owners.

This spacious, high riding SUV is ideal for carrying dogs, especially bigger dogs such as Labradors, Alsatians or German Shepherds. There is a large, flat load space with no boot lip which makes getting in and out of the car easier for dogs. There is  also a handy trick as well, as you can open the boot can by waving your foot underneath the rear bumper. So, if you have your arms full of dog walking essentials then you can still open the tailgate with a simple swipe of the foot.

Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai has a tall build and a roomy backend with a 430-litre boot. The luggage board system enables the boot floor to be raised or lowered and the boot lip can also be completely removed. This makes accessing the boot much easier and safer for your dog. The luggage boards can be flipped upside down to provide an easy-wipe surface, ideal for dog owners.

Citroen CS Picasso

The Citroen CS Picasso might not be the most obvious choice when looking for cars suitable for your furry friend but as they say, looks can be deceiving. Although, the boot space might not be the biggest, it is tall and boxy. This means that animals and cages are easy to load. The car boot has a low lip making access for your dog as easy as can be.

The boot has an underneath floor which allows you to separate your dog and your cargo by placing your luggage in the underneath section. This then gives your dog the room to stretch out and be comfortable during long journeys. If you want to create even more space, then the rear seats can be easily folded creating a larger loading space. The rear seats also slide backwards and forwards so you can even give your dog even more boot space to move around in.

Whichever car you go for, get yourself a Hatchbag boot-liner and keep your car paw print free! With boot-liners customised to each of these three models, check out our product range here.