Dog Friendly Cottages for Holidays With Your Dog
'Dog friendly' or 'Pet Friendly' are terms that get thrown around a lot in the holiday cottage world. But like most labels, different levels of “dog-friendliness” abound. In this blog, we’re going to explore most of the ways that a holiday cottage owner will cater for your pet’s needs to properly justify its claim as a true dog-friendly holiday cottage. And we’ll also highlight the helpful actions they might take to save you a lot of time, effort, and potentially money!
In an ideal world, there would be two categories ‘Pets Accepted’ and ‘Pets Welcome’. At My Favourite Holiday Cottages we urge people to differentiate between the two! But in the real world they are used very interchangeably, with one sounding more appealing than the other! The question is, what makes a self catering cottage truly ‘Pet Friendly’?
In using the term ‘pets’ owners for the most part actually mean ‘dogs’. However, pets also refer to a host of other household pets such as cats, guinea pigs and even, in one case this year, a large boa constrictor. It’s always worth checking with the owner before making an assumption that your pet hamster or tortoise really is welcome. However, we’ll talk about dogs in this article.
One (of the many) advantage of using a site like My Favourite Holiday Cottages, is that, in addition to having a complete section for pet-friendly cottages in the UK, you can speak directly to a holiday cottage’s owner to check which facilities they can provide for your dog. If nothing else, this can save you a lot of packing space in the car. I should know - I once travelled to Kent and back with my knees wedged in a dog basket like some kind of vertical itchy toboggan. Becoming truly pet friendly is something that a lot of owners are beginning to strive for. Here are some of the considerations that you might find in a cottage that lives up to its name of welcoming pets.
How many dogs will a cottage welcome?
Talk to the owner! Bear in mind that every dog owner describes their dogs as ‘well-behaved’, so don’t assume this description will cut the mustard when asking to bring more than the stated number, (but hey, it’s worth a shot, right?)
Does the cottage provide a Collar ID tag with the cottage name and phone number?
Check that your dog hasn't lots its name tag, preferably with your mobile number, unless you want to wait until you get home before you sort out being re-united.
Some dog-friendly cottages may even provide a local name tag with the cottage details on it. Something as simple as this could be an absolute life saver if your dog gets lost in an unfamiliar area when on holiday. Owner’s might even make a feature of it and let you keep one. But it’s probably best if you leave it behind for the next pet-owning guests.
It’s still seen as a luxury these days, but dogs absolutely LOVE it! There is little better for drying off muddy damp paws effortlessly, then having them pad around on warm kitchen tiles for a while.
Speaking of flooring, how much of the cottage is dog friendly? Nobody wants to leave ‘Lil Lillykins’ in the kitchen all day because the lounge has just had a new white carpet installed! Make sure you ask before booking.
Most cottages will allow dogs all over the ground floor, but not upstairs. A great pet friendly cottage will help with this by providing a stair gate to stop Lassie from grabbing a quick nap upstairs in a pile of bath towels.
Throws, Towels, Beds and (poo) Bags!
As dog owners, we probably have twice as many throws, towels and rags lying around than a normal household. Check and see if these will be provided! It is generally accepted that throws should be put over any furniture before the dog goes-a-climbing on it. The same goes for towels by the door to clean muddy paws, or scraps in the bathroom to spread all over the floor in case Bozo takes a leap out of the bath prematurely!
Dog bowls and beds? When you are packing for a holiday, the last thing you need are these big (and occasionally smelly) space-hoggers in the car. Find out if the cottage provides them, how many they provide, and if they are big enough to fit your massive mutt!
POO! (bags). Are they provided in the welcome pack? You should take your own anyway in case of car emergencies, but it’s the gesture of a truly dog friendly cottage.
Doggie Welcome Packs
Another thing that you will be happy for in the welcome pack are dog treats. Something really special to make your pet feel welcomed in a scary new world! But you should probably find out what they are before giving them to your dog in case it doesn’t fit with their usual dietary regime. Nobody wants an explosive first night!
Is the Garden Suitable?
If you’re satisfied with the inside of the cottage, turn your eyes to the outside!
Is the garden secure? This is important if the cottage leads on to a road, or is surrounded by field full of gently grazing sheep and other livestock. Are there any ponds or lakes to fall in? Cliffs to fall off? Sheds to get stuck under? Fences to leap? But most importantly, is your fluffy friend going to have fun while you are indoors?
A truly dog friendly cottage will offer a list of places where your pet will be welcome, including beaches, parks and pubs. There’s nothing worse than booking a summer holiday by the sea only to find that dogs are only permitted on the beach between October and March. At the same time, a perfectly located cottage, from a canine perspective, will have a choice of walks from the front door. No need to jump in the car for those early morning or evening walks.
Check with owners whether there will be any livestock in the fields– and remember to pack leads. Pets staying at Yetland Farm Cottages in North Devon have their own 7.5-acre dog walking field (with superb sea views thrown in for good measure).
Bridesmere is a Dartmoor Holiday Cottage with countless idyllic moorland and riverside walks on its doorstep
Having walked your dog, and especially in winter, the chances are they'll be delightfully muddy when you return to your holiday cottages.
Check out the photos of a property's interior: Are the floors carpeted or are there some that are tiled, wooden or flagstoned?
These floors are much more easily cleaned than carpets and make life a lot stress stressful.
A lot of dog-friendly cottages will provide facilities for washing off muddy paws outside - an external tap or a hosepipe perhaps.
It's another question to ask the owner. They really won't mind as it demonstrates that you are a responsible dog owner.
Of course, some truly dog-friendly cottages will go the extra pampered mile to provide state of the art dog-washing facilities. After all, you never know until you arrive that the local village fete is holding a dog show for non-pedigree dogs.
Dog Friendly Beaches
Every dog loves a good beach - even if that love stops short of the waves. However, not every beach will welcome a dog. Many may have seasonal restrictions. If you're booking a coastal holiday cottage Google dog-friendly beaches in the area beforehand so that you know just where you can let them run free on the sands.
Just because a cottage welcomes pets this doesn’t mean you can abdicate your responsibility as an owner. Being in frequent contact with owners ourselves, we also know what they expect from you as a responsible dog owner! So for example, please try and keep your poopy pooch from… well… pooping where it shouldn’t. Using the the cottage’s lawn for this purpose, apart from being unsanitary, will also leave lovely yellow patches of dead grass and generally look unpleasant. Do make sure that you clear up the garden before you leave.
Don’t leave your dog alone in a strange cottage for hours at a time while you head for a ‘dogs-not-allowed’ beach for the day. If your cottage owner has gone out of their way to help you with your pets, then please help your pets maintain the cottage in its beautiful state for the next guests.
Don't forget that many country footpaths pass through fields with livestock. Do make sure you take your dog's lead so that you can slip it on when sheep, cattle or ponies are loose in a field.
And Finally...The Small Print!
Most cottages happy to welcome pets will have some terms and conditions that apply. Do make sure you know what you and your dog can and cannot do before signing on the dotted line to ensure happy holidays all round.
That’s about all we can think of! If you have any ideas of your own, or past experience of ‘Dog Friendly’ offerings that really appealed, then please send us an email telling us about them.
Remember, if in doubt, just telephone or e-mail the cottage’s owner. As well as earning you peace of mind before you book, it will help to persuade them that you really are the kind of responsible pet owner they are happy to welcome.