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Walkies!

A dog is a man’s best friend. So, it’s no surprise that customers now want their furry friends beside them when they nip out for a pint or even have a week’s holiday.

The trend to make establishments dog friendly is on the up, increasing 6% a year according to a Euromonitor report.

The hotel chain Hotel Du Vin has been dog friendly for over 20 years (it stopped a few years ago but had so many complaints from dog lovers that it reverted back!) and Best Western even has a phone line dedicated to dog owners to book rooms. Visit Cornwall has just launched a ‘Dogs love Cornwall’ campaign so dog owners can now search for dog friendly pubs and restaurants on the county’s website. Wightlink Ferries, which operates services to the Isle of Wight, produces a travel guide to the island just for dog owners called Pawprint.

“Some hotels charge £10-£15 a night for dogs to stay and, while that’s a tidy profit for them, it’s also a price dog owners are willing to pay to take their best friend on holiday with them,” explains Jane Common author of Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain and editor of the dog travel website www.phileasdogg.com.

Welcoming dogs has turned the fortunes of The Compass Inn in Winsor after it was facing closure in 2011 due to slow trade. “We used a photograph of our Jack Russell puppy Boris on our Christmas message in the local paper and suddenly customers were flooding through the doors to meet him,” says Mop Draper, owner. “It was the busiest it had been in years.” Mop organised Sunday dog walks from the pub followed by a roast, and now The Compass is marketed as the dog-friendliest pub in the New Forest.

According to Common, “The Food Standards Agency rules are that dogs are allowed inside any catering establishment at the discretion of the proprietor, as long as they don’t go into the kitchen itself.”

Here’s what you need to do to make your establishment dog and people friendly:

  • There is no legal requirement to advertise your business as dog friendly but it’s at the discretion of the owner
  • Think about a separate room for customers with dogs so this doesn’t put off customers who are not necessarily dog-lovers
  • Most places allow dogs in the bar but not in the restaurant
  • Make sure certain bedrooms are allocated for dogs and that customers without dogs are aware of this
  • You’ll need big outdoor bins for poo bags and plenty of water bowls available

Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain is out on May 15, published by Constable and Robinson.

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