As any dog-lover will tell you, our pooches aren’t just pets, but bona fide members of the family. This means that, when it comes to booking some time away, we’re much more likely to seek out dog-friendly holiday accommodation than any nearby kennels.
This brings its own set of considerations, though. Not only are there the typical thoughts to bear in mind – such as a holiday cottage’s location and number of bedrooms – you also need to think about how suited it is to your pooch.
So what does make the best dog-friendly holiday home?
The primary concern should be security, as this could mean the difference between your holiday being a success or a tragedy. If you’re renting a cottage, for example, is there a gate at the front entrance? How about the garden, is it fully enclosed? Are there busy roads or blind bends nearby? Even if your pet isn’t the escapologist type, the new surroundings of a holiday home could jolt them into uncharacteristic behaviour, so you really should consider dog-friendly cottages with secure gardens.
Staying with the garden, are there any plants that could be harmful if they were eaten? Did you know that daffodils, asparagus bulbs and foxgloves are all poisonous to dogs? It’s best to keep your pooch separate from these at all times to be absolutely sure.
So, even if cottages allow dogs, that needn’t necessarily mean that everything is safe for them. Think about their security, and everything else can fall into place afterwards.
For a remote property where your dog can run free, try Green Neuk in the Scottish Highlands. Set within two acres of woodland, this property is an ideal place for you to get away from it all – whilst letting your dog explore the surroundings safe from harm. www.ruralretreats.co.uk/Green-Neuk
Just having you around is likely to be all your dog really wants, but it’s worth making sure you have plenty of activities to be getting on with during your break. For example, dog-friendly houses within busy cities might seem like a good idea for a short break, but you’re likely to find that all the nearby activities aren’t quite so welcoming of your pooch. That famous scene from Lady and the Tramp might have won an army of fans over the decades, but unless you too fancy eating your dinner by the bins you won’t find many places to eat out where your dog is also welcome.
Instead, a rural break with plenty of long walks and dog-friendly pubs is much better for ensuring you don’t need to even think about leaving your pooch behind. This shouldn’t just improve the holiday from your pet’s perspective, but yours as well. After all, you took them with you to enjoy the time together.
A suitably rural location should also give you plenty of options for long walks. The time spent gambolling through the countryside off the lead will not only make your dog immeasurably happy, it will also help tire them out - perfect for a more chilled evening.
The Purbeck Heritage Coast is not short of dog-friendly walking routes. Plus, there are numerous pubs and eateries in nearby Swanage and Corfe Castle to enjoy some refreshment afterwards. For something really different, stay in Rowena Cottage, situated within the old Anvil Point Lighthouse, with stunning panoramic views out across the English Channel and countryside. www.ruralretreats.co.uk/Rowena-Cottage
No two dogs are the same, and they all have their own quirks. In few places is this more apparent than how they socialise. Some dogs are super-sociable and are never happier than in a large group of people all ready to smother them with affection. Others prefer to keep themselves away from such hubbub, instead spending time where it’s more peaceful and quiet.
These behaviours are also apparent in how they deal with other dogs. Does your dog like nothing more than seeing others and having a play fight, or do they run a mile when another one comes into vision?
All this should be considered when booking a holiday. Dogs that love peace and quiet will probably not enjoy a busy holiday park. Instead, a remote holiday cottage in acres of countryside will suit them down to the ground. Think too about how your pooch will react if presented with loud farm machinery or big horses, as these can spook dogs and cause them real anxiety – or even make them bolt, which in itself can be dangerous.
West Wales is an ideal location for getaways, whether it’s in the towns or country. For anyone seeking a little more activity, the High House is situated in central Tenby, with the beach, town and countryside all just minutes away. www.ruralretreats.co.uk/High-House. If something decidedly quieter is on the cards, a few miles away on the coast of the Irish Sea is Cwm Bach, offering views of the Pembrokeshire countryside and the sound of nothing but nature. www.ruralretreats.co.uk/Cwm-Bach.
These are just some of the considerations that it’s worth bearing in mind when booking dog-friendly cottages in the UK. Giving them plenty of thought will ensure both you and your pooch have an enjoyable time away. They’re family, after all. And you can take a look at some dog-friendly day trip ideas, to really ensure everyone stays entertained!