Shares the growing demand for dog-friendly UK holidays

<span>Haven offers guest lists of dog-friendly beaches near its resort parks.</span>Photo: Jono Blackham</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/″ data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ “/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Haven offers guest lists of dog-friendly beaches near its resort parks.Photo: Jono Blackham

Go on holiday without your best friend? For the growing number of dog owners, it is unbelievable.

Resort operators have seen a huge jump in guests booking dog-friendly accommodation in recent months, and the trend is set to accelerate this year.

Haven, which runs 38 holiday parks in the UK, saw bookings for pet-friendly breaks rise by almost 15% last year, from 74,000 to 85,000, with a further increase expected in 2024. Similar increases have been reported by other operators less.

Campsites and holiday parks are popular choices for dog owners looking for long walks, new friends and a relaxed atmosphere, but many B&Bs and even luxury London hotels accept dogs, from Ballyleigh Park to Hyde Park to Shangri-La in the Shard. . Around a third of UK properties listed on are now listed as “pet friendly”, and some even allow cats and rabbits.

The whole dog boom started after a spike in dog ownership during the lockdown. In the first year of the pandemic, 3.2m families got a pet, and there are now around 12m dogs in the UK. Around 70% of dog owners take their dog on holiday, according to the Dog Trust.

It is long, in my opinion. We have bought into this idea that dogs are allowed everywhere without regard for the rest of the community

Michelle Foulia, author

What makes whole dogs in the UK so popular but especially since Brexit is that it is expensive and complicated to bring a dog to Europe. British pet passports were no longer valid after January 2021, and now, for all trips, dogs need a certificate showing they have been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, which can cost up to £300 on the dog.

Martin Cox, vice-president of the British Town and Holiday Park Association, said 40% of bookings at its holiday parks in west Dorset last year came from guests with dogs, up from 31% in 2022. “More and more people bringing their dogs with them. ,” he said. “We also have a dog exercise area – four acres – and we’re looking at some dog exercise areas so they have some jumps to do. “The number of people with dogs has probably increased over the period of the pandemic. One of the hidden things that has happened as a result of Brexit is that it is now much more difficult to bring your dog into Europe.”

Simon Palethorpe, managing director of Haven, said the company had invested in more dog-friendly accommodation after seeing the reported rise in dog ownership. “Our calculation was that many families would be rethinking their holidays,” he said. It expects more than 100,000 dog bookings in 2024.

Haven now accepts dogs at nearly all of its parks and lists nearby dog-friendly beaches. Most of their pitches also have a “barkyard”, with barriers. “The owners are often more enthusiastic about this,” Palethorpe said. “They can be a bit lost on the dog, but it’s a good bit of fun for the families.”

Lounging on the beach with your pet and curling up in front of a pub fire might sound lovely, but not everywhere is dog friendly.

This is a good thing, according to Michelle Foulia, a former animal welfare worker and author of children’s books, Miracle of the Popes, based on the story of her own rescue dog. Despite her doggy bona fides, Foulia believes that too many owners fail to properly train their dogs, causing distress for neurodiverse people like herself and her daughter.

“For me it’s fashion, fashion. We’ve gotten into this idea that dogs are allowed everywhere without regard for the rest of the community,” she said. “I’ve had to leave cafes and meetings with friends because of noisy dogs. It’s not that I’m anti-dog; the only thing is that I want to go somewhere and sleep or relax in the garden or in a pub or a cafe. But people’s dogs bark at each other, or they’ll yell for food.”

She believes that establishments should only allow dogs that have completed the Good Citizen Club Kennel dog training scheme.

Good handlers find a balance between dog and non-dog, says Vicky Saynor, who founded Bethnal&Bec luxury retreats in Hertfordshire seven years ago with her husband Chris.

“When we went dog friendly, we quickly learned that there were a lot of people who weren’t going to stay with us anymore,” she said.

“So when we took our third retreat, we made it non-dog. If it was available during the week, we could fill it with people with dogs, but it’s important to have places where there are no dogs.”

They charge a dog surcharge to cover the costs of cleaning the rooms for an extra hour after each stay. “Some people find it unfortunate that you have to pay to bring a dog, but we also provide towels, blankets, bowls and poo bags,” she said.

The Saynors hadn’t given dogs a second thought until they got the rescue pointer, Hendrix. “We were surprised at how limited it was,” she said. “I travel with my dog ​​a lot now, on business, and I find it very annoying because I’m with Hendrix that I’m put in the worst room. Some of the biggest brands he didn’t think about. They say you’re not allowed to leave your dog alone in your room – which I would never do – but your dog can’t go to the restaurant or the bar. How can I do that?”

But it’s definitely easier to find places to stay. “One of my greatest joys is to go and explore the UK with Hendrix. Which I never did before I had a dog.”

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