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Is a canal boat holiday a good option for a dog friendly holiday with Filou?

Every year, when we start planning our family holiday, it’s the same old questions. What are we going to do with the dog? Who will look after the cat and guinea pig while we’re away? Our neighbours love Filou but it’s not always convenient for them to look after him for so long, and although there are kennels these can be an expensive option. Cost aside, what’s more important is how happy our furry friend is going to be stuck with a stranger whilst the rest of us are enjoying a holiday away. So what if the solution was to take our pets with us. Is a boating holiday a practical option? Can a boating holiday be a dog friendly holiday?

A canal boat holiday is an ideal pet friendly holiday idea

My dog Filo is the 2nd captain aboard my boat (©Philippe Perriard)



At Nicols we welcome pets on board our boats

At Nicols we have the solution. We recommend you choose one of our dog friendly holidays on board a canal boat and take Filou with you. He will have just as much fun as the rest of the crew!

In fact it’s not only dogs that we welcome on board. Other family pets such as cats and guinea pigs are also allowed on our pet friendly holidays – all we ask is for a 40€* supplement per animal payable at the time of booking.

To help with the comfort of your pet while on board we recommend you bring items that they are familiar with from home – things such as their blanket, their basket, their food bowl... even their favourite toy!

We have no doubts that you’ll find taking your pet with you provides complete flexibility and that animals such as Filou, Biscuit and Caramel will enjoy themselves as much as you will.

* Note: this is the rate for 2017 holidays.

What to take for your boating holiday with your dog

Caramel, relaxing in his basket onboard the canal boat

Cookie has brought its food bowl



Which type of canal boat is suitable for a dog friendly holiday?

Space to move:

If your dog is on the smaller side then any of the Nicols boats would be suitable.

If however your dog is on the larger side, or maybe has an active nature, then we would recommend choosing a boat that has a large terrace that it can go out on. This would be boats from either our Estivale or Sedan ranges which have the main living area and terrace all on one level and no stairs to go up or down from.

Also, boats from the Estivale range benefit from having side gates which make it nice and easy for your dog to get from the boat to the river bank or pontoon after mooring up. No jumping or carrying from the owner required!

Pet friendly holidays with your dog

Captain Cook enjoys a safe holiday on his boat!

Safety for all:

We take the well-being of our customers extremely seriously and that extends to any pets travelling also. When you collect your boat our friendly base team will give you an in-depth introduction about the boat and life on the waterways and this will include advice on keeping your four legged friend safe.

All boats are designed with non-slip floors and a safety rail around the boat but it is of course important to act responsibly as you would at home and remain aware of your pet’s actions while onboard.



You choose – as restful or as active as you want it to be!

Relaxing for both you and your dog
A boating holiday gets you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Now your dog can travel with you and enjoy a quiet and tranquil pet friendly holiday also. Take advantage of spending time together relaxing onboard your boat – while you read a book your dog can sit on deck watching the world go by and listening to the lapping of water.

Read a book with your dog…

Great for a leg stretch whether two legs or four!
Ok, so a hamster isn’t going to need much exercising...but we all know that dogs both need and love a walk. Our dog friendly holidays on board a canal boat provide excellent walking opportunities and in such beautiful surroundings.

Set off on foot taking your dog with you

You’re the captain on board,, so have completely flexibility to go where you want when you want and do what you want when you want!

Set off on foot or by bike (you can hire these) taking your dog with you as you explore the many interesting places surrounding the waterways. This could be a countryside walk, a dip in the river, a game of football or a gentle jog along the towpath.

No previous boating experience or licence is needed to captain a Nicols boat and enjoy a dog friendly holiday.



Holidays in the countryside with your dog

Animal lovers are generally also interested in the environment and nature so a boating holiday is a great match as it takes you directly into some of the most beautiful flora and fauna around. The waterways have an abundance of interesting wildlife also. Both you and your dog will love the feeling of being in the great outdoors.

Quaint villages are only a short distance from the rivers and waiting to be explored by you both! Our dog friendly holidays really do allow you to savour these great experiences with your faithful companion.

Moore where you want and when you want with your dog!


Tips for a successful holiday with your dog

We’re firm believers that a boating holiday is a great idea for those of you who are looking for a dog friendly holiday. In our experience the most successful holidays with your dogs are those which have been planned properly…so the following tips will make sure you are ready and get the most out of your holiday.

  • Try and think about all of the day-to-day things that your dog needs when at home and then remember to bring them! Things like their food, bowls, bedding, lead, collar, towels and of course poo bags! There should be lots of places for you to dispose of full ones but it can be a good idea to also take container than can be sealed in the interim.
  •  Stop your dog from drinking from the rivers and canals as the water isn’t necessarily clean and you don’t want any upset tummies. Instead make sure that there is always a bowl of water within easy reach of your dog.
  • As you would at home, be mindful of others that you’ll meet when navigating on the waterways. This could be anything from walkers, cyclists and anglers. The same applies to the wildlife – you don’t want your dog to damage or disturb any of the wonderful nature that lives in and around our waterways.
  • Take a selection of leads – some with fixed lengths and some that are flexible lengths – so that you can fix them to the boat safely but also give the dog some freedom.
  • We don’t offer life jackets for dogs (there are too many shapes and sizes for us to be able to provide for all!) but we highly recommend you get one for your dog. If it is new to your dog get them used to wearing it before you travel. Most life jackets will usually have a handle on which can be useful for if you have to lift them out of the water!

Hopefully these tips will help you prepare for your holiday but if you have any questions you can ask our expert team who will be able to ensure you get the most from our pet friendly holidays.


So have we convinced you? We really do recommend that you experience a canal boat holiday with your pet.

Holidays by boat? Never without my dog!

You can see a full list of dog friendly holidays where you can take your pet with you here

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