Whether you’re going shopping, planning a day at the beach, going to the pub or out for a meal, the dog-friendliness of our social lives has never been more important. The pandemic has had a significant effect on our relationship with our four-legged best friends. 

Research by Statista shows that dog ownership jumped by more than 40% in 2020, and although that number has tailed off a little from its peak, the share of households owning dogs in the United Kingdom remains a third higher than it was before lockdowns were first put in place at the start of 2020. This in turn has led to a growth in demand for more inclusive spaces, where people can take their best friends with them. This, of course, makes perfect sense. Why would we leave our best friends at home when we go out to socialise?

dog sitting by a man in a pub

Why Look for Dog-Friendly Places?

People have long looked upon dogs as ‘man’s best friend’ and increasingly, we have come to recognise our dogs as a part of our families. Animals are included in family events and become important to all members of the family. And this is good for us, our dogs, and businesses that can allow us to spend that precious time with them.

This has been found to be particularly significant for single-parent families, where a pet can be an important companion to children. Children with pets may have higher levels of empathy and self-esteem compared to those who do not have pets. 

It’s even been found to be good for both our mental and physical health. Dog ownership has been linked to a decreased risk of coronary artery disease, a reduction in stress levels and increased physical activity. The presence of a pet during stressful activities has been shown to lower the blood pressure of couples taking part in a stressful task. Owning a pet remains good for us as we age, as well. It has, for example, been associated with an improved cardiovascular disease survival rate among older adults (between 65 to 84 years old) being treated for hypertension.

It’s not just about your physical health, either. Levels of endorphin, oxytocin and dopamine – three of the four ‘feel-good’ hormones which help promote happiness and pleasure while reducing depression and anxiety – increase in both humans and their dogs during caring interactions, demonstrating that time spent together is physiologically beneficial for both species. 

dog on a lead sitting outside restaurant

How Do I Find Dog-Friendly Places Near Me?

The best way to find out whether somewhere you’re interested in visiting is dog-friendly is to do a little research. Try checking their website or Facebook page, or a quick phone call can do the trick. If you don’t have anywhere specific in mind and are just browsing, town/city guides or review sites such as Tripadvisor can be great places to start.

UK Pet Guide Dog Friendly Guides

We have lots of dog-friendly location guides to help you plan your day trips, visits and holidays around the UK.

Online Reviews and Directories

Websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Maps often have user reviews and filters that can help you find dog-friendly establishments.

Local Websites and Blogs

Local blogs or community websites often have articles or lists of dog-friendly places.

Social Media Groups

Join local Facebook groups or forums dedicated to dog owners in the area. Members often share recommendations and experiences.

Ask Locals

If you’re already in the town, city or area, asking local dog owners or staff at pet stores can be a great way to get personal recommendations.

Check with Restaurants, Bars, Shops and Attractions Directly

Sometimes the best way to find out if a place is dog-friendly is to contact them directly, either through their website, social media, or a phone call.

Group of Spanish Water Dogs

How do I Find Dog-Friendly Hotels?

The best place to start if you’re looking for a dog-friendly hotel is with a little research. In the first place, you should look at the big chains to find out what their policies are in the area that you’re intending to visit, though there are other more specialist websites, too. 

You may even find that you want to decide where to visit in the first place based on how dog-friendly it is. If that’s the case, we’ve got good news for you! UK Pet Guide has already published a series of comprehensive series of city guides, covering the major cities in England, Scotland and Wales. 

How do I Find Dog-Friendly Cottages and Caravan Parks?

It is as essential to check the dog-friendliness of private lets such as holiday cottages and caravan parks as it is with hotels. Although hospitality is generally more amenable than ever to dogs staying on their property, you shouldn’t assume it will be fine. Always check first. There’d be nothing worse than being turned away from somewhere you’d planned to stay because you hadn’t! 

How do I Find Dog-Friendly Shops?

There remain some shops which still restrict entrance to dogs to guide dogs and assistance dogs, even though there are no specific laws which require this. Independent retailers will have different rules which you’ll only be able to check on a case-by-case basis, but we have a guide to dog-friendly shops in the UK which covers all of this country’s biggest retail chains. 

Remember that this doesn’t only apply to individual shops themselves. Shopping centres have differing policies which vary from centre to centre. The good news there is that we also have a comprehensive guide to these as well!

A dog stares longingly at his owner's meal in a Brighton pub

How do I Find Dog-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants?

Restaurant and cafe owners have listened to the growing demand for dogs to be allowed into their facilities, but you should never take it for granted that this will be the case. UK Pet Guide has comprehensive guides to both dog-friendly cafes and dog-friendly restaurants to help you make more informed decisions over whether you might want to visit. 

How do I Find Dog-Friendly Pubs?

While UK pubs are increasingly adopting dog-friendly policies, as with most other public places, UK law doesn’t stipulate that pubs have to allow entry to dogs, other than assistance dogs and guide dogs. Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to dog-friendly pubs to find out more!

How do I Find Dog-Friendly Beaches?

Taking your dog to the beach can be a great way to spend quality time with them. The exercise is good for you and them, and it’s something that you can involve your whole family in. Each beach has its own rules on whether dogs are allowed, and it’s always best to check first whether they allow them before you leave.

Dog in Harness Lying on the Beach

Tips for Dog-Friendly Day Trips

The key to enjoying a stress-free dog-friendly day trip is planning in advance. The better you plan ahead, the better the experience will be for both and them. 

Days out with your dog can be good for both you and them if you plan them properly, and the hospitality industry is more amenable to entertaining them than it ever has been before. With a bit of forward planning, there’s a whole world out there for you to explore together!

Remember, policies regarding pets can change, so it’s always a good idea to confirm with the establishment before visiting.