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Dog friendly boating holidays

Your dog is welcome on board!

Every year, pet owners ask themselves, “What should I do with my beloved dog when I go on holiday?” Well, we have the answer - take your dog with you! You will find no better alternative because with Le Boat, dogs are welcome on ALL our boats. We all know that our furry friends are part of the family too, and a self-drive boating holiday with everyone on board offers you and your loved ones the chance to explore your surroundings and take a different walk every day. Here is everything you need to know before coming on board for a dog-friendly boating holiday.

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Why take your dog on a boat?

Dogs love boats, and we welcome canine companions on board all of ours. Your dog will love being out on the water and exploring somewhere new every day. You can stop off and explore local pubs and cafes, or moor up and go for lovely walks along the canals or in nearby parks.

Can I take my dog abroad?

Hunde an Bord

If you want to travel with your dog to a country in the European Union, your pet will need a valid rabies vaccination and an animal health certificate. If travelling to Ireland, your pet will also require tapeworm treatment.


For the animal health certificate, you must take your pet to the vet. You need to do this no more than 10 days before you travel. The certificate needs to be signed by an ‘official veterinarian’ (OV).

To be allowed back into the UK, you’ll need to visit a vet to treat your dog for tapeworm. This must be recorded in your pet’s animal health certificate. If you’re travelling back from Ireland to the UK, this isn’t required. Please always check official advice before travelling with your dog. 


Where to go on a dog-friendly houseboat vacation?

All of our boat rental destinations are dog friendly, which makes any of our cruising regions perfect for a boating vacation with your furry friend.

Canada – Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterway

Canoe on Big Rideau Lake, Canada

The natural landscape of the Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterways in Canada provides dogs with many trails and parks to enjoy and don't forget to bring a doggy life-jacket for your pooch to cool off in the pristine lakes. 

United Kingdom - The Thames and Caledonian Canal

Horizon boat on River Thames

Over in the United Kingdom, The Thames has many dog-friendly pubs which you and your pooch can enjoy together, plus excellent trails for walks and lovely parks in places such as Windsor. Or your four-legged friend may love exploring the unrivaled scenery of the Scottish Highlands on a trip along the Caledonian Canal.

France – Canal du Midi

Canal du midi waterways

If you’re thinking about traveling to countries in the European Union, then the canals of France are excellent for long walks together. The Canal du Midi is a great option: the towpath runs alongside making it the ideal destination to explore on foot with your dog. 

The River Shannon, in Ireland, is also home to lots of dog-friendly pubs, as well as fields, gardens and walking paths around lakes just waiting to be explored. Adventures may also await you and your dog in the woods of Mecklenburg and Brandenburg in Germany.


How many pets can I take with me?

A maximum of two dogs are welcome on board each boat. A pet cleaning supplement of £55 per pet applies.


Which boat should I choose?

If you have a small dog that you can carry, then access to any of our boats with your dog shouldn't be a problem. Unless of course you have limited mobility yourself, in which case you may wish to avoid our boats that have 'ladder-style steps, such as the Caprice and Sheba. For those with bigger dogs, you may wish to choose a boat that is easy for them to jump on and off of and you might prefer to have the saloon and cabin on the same level, without any stairs. In this case, we recommend SalsaTangoCalypso and all boats of the Vision fleet. We suggest you check out our boat pages, examine the images and virtual tours where available, and our sales team are on hand to advise as well. 

Tips for a dog-friendly boating holiday

  • Bring your dog’s favourite things such as their blanket, favourite toy and water bowl along for the trip, so that they settle in faster
  • Being able to have your dog settle in a specified place while underway helps keeps them safe and prevents distracted boat driving. You don't want your excited pup running about while you're launching your boat. 
  • Having a designated spot onboard can also help a more nervous dog feel better about riding on a boat. Invest in a comfortable anti-slip mat or pad that is big enough for your dog to lay down on. Fibreglass non-skid decks may provide a secure footing to you and I, but they can be quite slippery to a dog’s paws.
  • Pack a spare towel and a log lead in case they go swimming
  • Purchase a doggy life-vest to make sure your dog is safe when paddling. 
  • Some areas may be protected, and you may have to put your dog on a lead – always check beforehand
  • Take plenty of doggie waste bags and paper towels with you on your trip
  • Swim, run, jump – on a boating holiday everything is possible, just moor up and let your dog have fun!

Testimonials & further tips

Luna le Yorkshire Terrier

Luna the Yorkshire Terrier

“My name is Luna and I’m a Yorkshire Terrier who loves boating holidays! I joined my family on a cruise in France: it was brilliant! I wore a life vest and was able to move about on the boat during cruising: I took in all the beautiful sceneries and people along the Canal du Midi. Each morning, I went for a walk along the towpath with my human while the rest of the family enjoyed breakfast on the boat. I also loved running fast along my family while they cycled to the bakery. I immediately felt at home on board and hope to go on another boating holiday very soon!


With Jackie and Max on the Saône

With Jackie and Max on the Saône

"Both Jackie and Max quickly felt at home on our Vision. This type of boat turned out to be perfect for letting four-legged friends on and off thanks to the low step at the back.


On the lower deck, both dogs had their favourite spot where they napped for many hours while sailing. On the top deck took it was a pleasure to see Jackie and Max observing their surroundings. They were not at all afraid of this strange environment and moved deftly all over the top deck."



©Peter Soete (Travel Journalist for Roularta Media Group)

Chihuahua dog standing at the helm of a boat

Paul Wojnicki, author of France: A Woof Guide

“I'd never let Falco off lead abroad without a pet tracker, I'd hate to think I lost him anywhere let alone a foreign country. Make sure yours has European maps on it, my Garmin has this as standard.”


Read more from Paul in his book, France: A Woof’s Guide

Looking for more holiday inspiration?

Take a look at all our inspiration pages to see what else you could discover on your Le Boat holiday.