The “Pets Welcome Charter”

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
bulldogs on sun loungers

Yes, their own sun-loungers!

Taking pets on holiday has never been that easy. In the past, readers have told us that pet-friendly guesthouses, campsites, caravan parks and hotels have turned out to be anything but. Pets welcome the sign might say but unwelcome is the additional £20 cleaning charge that owners make to clean after a pet has stayed.

In the UK it is estimated that 46% of all households have a pet. Some research from Visit Scotland suggests that about 30% of holiday-makers base their holiday around how suitable a destination is for their pet, and 72% of dog owners say they would take more holidays in the UK if attitudes towards their canine companions improved. That there is a growing demand for holidays where pets can be taken along is shown by the fact that Visit Scotland says that that there are 95% more searches for “pet-friendly” holidays on its website than there are for “romantic” getaways!

To cater to this growing market, Embrace Scotland, has launched a “Pets Welcome Charter”, to make it easier for guests, holidaying with their pets, to find properties where pets are actively welcomed as opposed to tolerated.

If you haven’t come across the name, Embrace Scotland is a directory of 100% quality assured self-catering accommodation throughout Scotland.  The website features over 3,000 properties from city pads and beach chalets, to farm houses and country cottages and, of these, about a third will take pets.  They will welcome not just dogs, but cats, horses, parrots, rabbits and hamsters. One or two take owls as well so pets aren’t just limited to those that you might immediately think of.  If I haven’t listed the pet you have, ask. Holidaymakers book directly with the owner/managers with no fees or commissions. You can identify the properties that are pet-friendly by ticking the “pets welcome” box in the search function on the website.

two bulldogs laying on a sun lounger

and don’t they look satisfied with their holiday.

The “Pets Welcome Charter” sets out a range of standards that the holiday homes in its collection must meet in order to be classified as “pet-friendly”, and to celebrate those that really go the extra mile for pets, Embrace Scotland has also launched a “Paws for a Break Awards”.  For humans, members of Embrace Scotland are committed to the core principles of quality, cleanliness, comfort, courtesy, efficiency and integrity.

Those that qualify as “pet-friendly” under the new charter, all provide a water bowl, suitable disposal equipment (poop bags), details of suggested local dogs walks, contact details and directions to a local pet shop and vet, pointers to suitable exercise areas nearby and details of the local pubs and restaurants, where pets are accepted. Staying with facilities for dogs for a minute, many properties also provide towels for drying off wet dogs, food bowls, blankets, dog tags, a lead, a dog walking service, day kennels, treats and dog grooming.

To give readers an idea of what might be available, the Cromore Old Mission Hall on the Isle of Lewis provides outdoor pet sun loungers, a dog first aid kit, a waterproof sheet to protect beds and sofas for humans, as well as the basics such as pet beds and bowls. Prospective guests can apply to take any type of pets, pending approval from a manager. In Argyll, Treshnish Farm will let dogs, cats and guinea pigs stay free of charge. They even claim that they have had pet birds of prey staying but they slept in cages in the gardens rather than in the rooms!

The initiative by Embrace Scotland is a start in making pet-friendly holiday properties available to the wider public. In England, Ireland and Wales there are similar places that pet-owners can stay but not, I think, available at a single source. Most places just say that dogs are accepted. When you find one that says “pet goats accepted” my sister might be interested!

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