A cottage-based holiday may be the ideal choice for a pet-friendly getaway in the UK: many of them are set in picturesque areas ideal for doggy days out, while an overall lack of staff or supervision allows guests to set their own schedule and make their cottage a home away from home. That said, there are still plenty of little things to look out for to help make your cottage holiday run as smoothly as possible.
What To Expect With A Dog Friendly Cottage
Many owners of holiday cottages will be well-used to guests with dogs booking their properties, but that isn’t to say you should expect a free-for-all. There’s a very decent chance you will already have noticed the first key impact of taking your dog with you, simply by checking your bank balance. A lot of holiday cottages will charge additional fees for pet owners to cover cleaning or any other additional expenses. There is also a good chance that the cottage will stipulate how many dogs are allowed to stay or even any breeds that are considered off-limits.
Once you arrive at the cottage to begin your holiday, it’s a good idea to get to know any additional rules for pets. Many holiday lets will ask that pets are not allowed upstairs, for instance, or that there are areas where dogs must remain on a lead.
And while a lot of holiday cottages are happy for dogs to stay as guests, do remember that it is always sensible to pack everything that your dog is going to need: bowls, food, treats, toys and bedding. Some dog-friendly cottages even go as far as to provide their own beds, but as we all know, some dogs don’t want to sleep in someone else’s bed and prefer to stick to their own.
The best thing to pack of all: extra blankets, sheets or throws. These can be used to cover anything you suspect your dog is likely to want to stink up and are likely to save you any number of moments of anxiety or panic.
What To Look For In A Dog Friendly Cottage
A big part of choosing the right cottage for your holiday is knowing what sort of thing your dogs like to do. If they’re happy to lounge for hours in front of a fireplace, there’s one answer. If they want to yomp and romp over every single square foot of land they can find exploring, there’s another. So, step one, get to know your dog. That done, you can start looking at cottages, seeing their facilities and their rules and start to whittle down the options.
What Dog Friendly Facilities Does The Cottage Have?
One of the best things about a cottage holiday for dogs is that the accommodation is likely to already be set up in what they consider to be a conventional home-style setting. If you’ve been sensible, you will already have brought everything your dog will actually need and as such everything else can be treated as a bonus.
Beds may be provided, for example, as could blankets or throws to protect furniture. The most important thing is to make sure that your dog will have enough room to live their regular life comfortably, because a happy dog will help make a happy holiday.
Perhaps the most important facility to check is available is whether or not there are the means on site to wash your dog. Cottage holidays are bound to bring out all your furry friend’s most playful instincts and as such, having a garden hosepipe or a downstairs shower room could prove to be the best decision you ever made.
Does The Cottage Have An Enclosed Garden Space?
However much of a home away from home your cottage becomes, of course, your dog will still be very aware that their surroundings aren’t quite what they’re used to and as such it is always a good idea to be extra vigilant to make sure of their safety. Keeping them away from any busy or unfamiliar roads goes without saying, but a similar level of attention should be paid to them when they are within your cottage grounds.
One key selling point for a dog-friendly holiday is the enclosed garden. One of these is incredibly useful: a place for your pet to safely play, exercise and also use for its elaborate toilet needs. However, they shouldn’t be taken for granted: they don’t come as standard with all holiday cottages and if you’re lucky enough to find one that has one, a normal amount of care and supervision needs to be taken to ensure your dog remains safe and happy.
How Many Dogs Are Allowed In The Cottage?
Cottages, famously, tend to be on the smaller side and as such it is important to look into and abide by any limitations set by the owners of the property. If they tell you it is too small for two labradors, it is always safest to believe them. They probably found the fact out in extremely trying circumstances that they are not keen to see repeated.
Are There Any Off-limit Areas In The Cottage And Cottage Grounds?
Similarly, there is likely to be guidance about where in the property that dogs are not allowed to go, or shouldn’t be left unsupervised or off their lead. The temptation is always there to dismiss these rules as not applicable to your own, extremely obedient or heroically tiny, dog. But they exist for a reason and should always be respected. Remember, in the eyes of the people you have rented the cottage from, you are the official representative of dog owners everywhere for that week. Don’t let the side down!
Are There Local Walks Or Pet-friendly Beaches Nearby?
However nice your holiday cottage is and however difficult it is proving to scrape your dog away from sleeping in front of the open fire, it’s going to be difficult to rattle around in there for the entire duration of your holiday. This is where your research will come into its own.
Don’t just assume that all walks and beaches are pet-friendly because they are outside: many beaches have seasonal rules about where dogs can and cannot go. Some fields may be accessible but private and dog owners are expected to keep pets on a lead. Get to know your local area and abide by the local rules.
Are There Dog-friendly Restaurants, Pubs, And Attractions Nearby?
The same goes for mealtimes and the nightlife. A (frankly baffling) number of pubs these days don’t allow dogs, or at the very least ask that they be kept on their lead. These are all important things to know about ahead of time, not least because if you are going to need to leave your dogs unattended in the cottage for a couple of hours while you get something to eat it will be far safer to be prepared well ahead of time.
Make sure to check out our guides prior to planning a trip:
Is The Cottage Carpeted, Have Rugs, Or Underfloor Heating?
The rustic splendour of a wood-panelled or stone floor has been known to send some interior designers into fits of unconfined ecstasy. And beyond their aesthetic charm, they are also much easier to keep clean than their carpeted brethren.
However, they’re a rather harder sell if you happen to be a dog. A wooden floor might be a recipe for slipping, sliding and splinters. A stone floor is both rock hard and as cold as ice, not necessarily ideal if that is where your bed is tonight. Dog owners would be sensible to make sure there are rugs, carpeted areas or underfloor heating, in order to keep their furry friend as comfortable as possible. Failing that, there’s nothing to stop you bringing something from home, even if it is as simple as a dog’s favourite towel.
How To Find The Best Dog Friendly Cottages
People seeking pet-friendly holidays are very well served in looking for holiday cottages. Both Pets Pyjamas and Canine Cottages exist solely to find pet owners and their four-legged friends good holiday spots all over the UK, be it in the remote Scottish Highlands, beautiful Lake District, the Jurassic coast of Dorset or anywhere in between. Even more satisfying might be to book your getaway with Dogs Trust Holidays: find your ideal holiday home while also supporting a good cause.
Your best bet, as always, is to focus on the sort of things your dog likes to do and the places they enjoy going, and choose based on that.