How dog friendly is the vacation house you are booking?

Are you planning to go on holiday and take your dog? If you think a self-catering holiday cottage is your best bet, you may well be right. Rather than having to comply with onerous hotel house rules that may end up spoiling what should be a nice break for your entire party, self catering accommodation offers a lot more freedom and privacy.

That said, don’t just assume that it’s OK to bring your pet, or that the accommodation will suit your pooch. You need to make sure that you choose a cottage that really is dog friendly, that actively welcomes four-legged as well as two-legged guests.

Planning and preparation is everything when it comes to booking a pet friendly holiday. Here’s a useful list of questions you should be asking to find out whether the accommodation is indeed suitable for you and your pet. Speak to the holiday cottage owner, take a look at directory listings and scrutinise promising looking websites to find all the necessary information before you confirm your booking.

How many dogs can you bring?

A cottage may describe itself as dog friendly, but how many pooches will they be happy to accept? If you’re planning to take more than one furry pal on holiday, this is essential information that will determine whether the cottage is right for you. Some landlords may have a maximum number of dogs that can be accommodated – and it should go without saying that all four legged holidaymakers must be well behaved!

Where in the cottage are dogs allowed to go?

It would be naïve to assume that just because a cottage is billed as dog friendly, there are no restrictions as to where Rover may roam. Check for house rules about where your pets may go. It is usual for dogs not to be allowed on furniture such as beds, sofas and chairs. Carpeted areas may be out of bounds, as may upstairs bedrooms. If a stairgate is provided to keep your dog from going up the stairs, make sure you use it.

Is there a secure garden that is suitable for your dog?

If there is a garden, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can breathe a sigh of relief and let the dog out. Check that the outdoor space is securely fenced in so that your canine companion can’t get out and run off, or get into trouble when you’re not looking. This is of particular concern if the cottage is near a busy road, a waterway, a field with livestock, a cliff edge or other potential hazard.

Will essential doggie items be provided?

The gold standard for a dog friendly cottage is that you don’t have to bring your own doggie bath towels, blankets to protect furniture, and food & drink bowls, while having to travel with a dog bed can take up valuable space in the car. You can tell a lot from the effort that’s been made to cater for the needs of your pooch to determine how animal friendly the accommodation really is.

Are pets welcome with open arms?

Just as we all appreciate a welcome pack containing staples such as tea and coffee, milk and eggs, bread and cheese, a separate doggie welcome pack will send a strong signal that your pooch really is wanted. From dog treats and poop bags to collar ID tags with the cottage address and phone number for your peace of mind, it all adds up to a lovely welcoming holiday accommodation for your entire party.

What dog friendly places and activities are nearby?

Finally, the most pet friendly cottage in the world may not be good enough unless there’s plenty of stuff to do for you and your best friend while you’re out and about. A truly welcoming cottage will have a list or folder containing local information of dog friendly places to go and things to do. From long sandy beaches and interesting country walks to pet friendly pubs and restaurants, there should be enough to do and see to make it a lovely holiday.

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