Rather than make an expensive mistake, check the details before making a firm booking for pet-friendly holiday accommodation. Cottages are often described as pet-friendly but that can mean anything from ‘dogs allowed’ to ‘dogs most welcome’.
Does the accommodation have a fully enclosed garden where the dog is able to pee?
We have encountered complaints from holidaymakers who have booked pet-friendly accommodation that merely has a balcony and the dog has to be taken for a walk. Double check so that you are not left disappointed. 'Pets welcome' merely indicates that you can bring a dog and states nothing about the size of the garden.
How many dogs are allowed?
There are always limits on the number of dogs permitted in any holiday cottage. Do not ever exceed this number, or you may find that your booking is cancelled because you have not complied with Terms and Conditions.
Is my breed of dog welcome?
Always phone or preferably email the property owner prior to placing a booking to ensure that your breed of dog is acceptable. Cottage owners don’t want to upset their other guests on-site, so do check or you may be very unpopular.
Do dogs always have to be kept on lead when in the grounds surrounding the holiday cottage?
It is worth having a conversation with the holiday owner to establish restrictions for dogs on their premises.
Are dogs forbidden to enter certain rooms in the accommodation?
There is generally a rule that dogs are not allowed on beds, or in bedrooms, in self-catering holiday lets.
Are dogs allowed in the swimming pool?
Dogs are not permitted in swimming pools at holiday cottages for hygiene reasons. The alternative is to book a seaside cottage near a pet-friendly beach. There are plenty of such beaches in Scotland. The same rule applies to hot tubs.
Are dog beds provided?
Dog beds are occasionally provided by certain ultra-dogs-welcome cottage owners. Mostly, they are not. Ask if this is important to you. Hire of a dog bed may incur an additional cost because it has to be washed between guests.
Are dog bowls provided at the accommodation?
Again ask. The super pet-friendly cottages provide a selection of canine accessories such as bowls, spare leads, disposal bags and dog bins.
Is there a dog-sitting service on site?
A small number of cottage owners offer this service and will look after your dog very well.
Where is the nearest vet?
Be prepared in case your dog falls ill or suffers an accident. Having the phone number and address of the nearest vet may help prevent panic, especially if the cottage owners do not live close by. The better self-catering cottages will have a guide book with details of useful services, places to visit etc. It is best to be prepared and not leave the well-being of your pets to chance.
Dog owners look for information about pet-friendly places to visit, beaches that dogs are allowed on all year round, pet-friendly pubs. It is always useful to have a chat about the area and any concerns that you may have before booking that holiday. It is not so easy to obtain a refund on cottage breaks. Once you have booked, you are likely to be committed to paying the full amount. Holiday rental insurance is advisable although that will generally only pay out when a human medical emergency is concerned.