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Finding the best multi-dog accommodation for you...

As an owner of not just one or two but more dogs, Gail Adams knows firsthand that it can be a real nightmare trying to find truly dog welcoming accommodation when you are away on holiday or at an agility event or a show. She has written the following guide to what to look for and the questions you should ask before booking. Read on to the end to find out more and why she's written this article.

Let's face it. Our dogs are everything to us. Their comfort and safety come before ours. The reason you are reading this is probably because you have several dogs and you know that the challenge of finding accommodation for more than one dog is significantly higher than for pet owners with just one dog. The truth is that many UK cottages accept only a limited number of what they call 'well-behaved' dogs - often meaning small fluffy dogs.

Do your research
Step one in finding the perfect holiday place for you and your dogs is to do your preparation. That way, you'll stand a better chance of finding exactly what you want for both you and your dogs.

First, ask your friends and club mates for recommendations. They know you and your dogs and, no doubt, they'll be happy to talk about their good experiences. Another option would be to join a Facebook group. There are several that actively promote multi-dog accommodation.

If there are no appropriate suggestions, start searching the internet for accommodation, using terms such as 'multi-dog accommodation' or 'multi-dog friendly accommodation' or 'unlimited dog accommodation.' Make a shortlist of those companies and those places that actively promote their cottages for owners with several dogs. But do be careful as some of the larger online travel agencies put these search terms in to come higher up the search and don't always tell the exact truth. Do check out the smaller providers/small agencies who are bespoke and might cater to your specific needs.

Before you go
Be sure to check out the website for details of location, security and rules. Read the Terms & Conditions carefully. If there are rules about dogs, you'll find them there. For instance, does the owner charges for dogs? Sometimes this can only be found in the Terms & Conditions which may be held separately on their website. Don't forget to do your financial research, too. Not all cottages that say they accept dogs welcome any number free of charge.

Once you've short-listed your search, here are some other things I would advise you to do. Please note that I use the word 'welcoming,' not friendly. There is a difference. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Email or phone the company or owner. Ask whether the owners have dogs themselves and thus can truly understand your questions and why you need the answers. A truly dog welcoming provider will be happy to answer questions about their property and what they offer.

Book in advance as soon as you know your dates and destination. Multi-dog welcoming cottages tend to book very quickly. If it's a short break you are looking for, do check that they offer this option. Don't assume that they will be able to offer you an any day arrival or a one or two night stay.

And don't forget to take out travel insurance in case of cancellation.

Be aware
This is where you will find out whether the cottage of your choice really is dog welcoming or just dog tolerant.

Best to check the rules carefully before booking. Some cottages accept dogs, but they are restricted to certain areas of the cottage and have rules regarding dogs on beds or on furniture. In my opinion, a truly dog welcoming cottage should welcome dogs in any area of the cottage and have transparent and detailed information about outside space, how secure that space is and highlight whether the cottage is suitable for dogs.

To summarise, here are some of the things to check before booking your dog-friendly holiday:-

  • Are dogs allowed in bedrooms?

  • Are dogs allowed on furniture?

  • How secure is the garden?

  • Is the garden grassed?

  • How busy is the location?

  • Does it have farm animals next to the cottage?

One of your primary concerns may be security. Some dogs need six feet high, solid fencing or a grassed garden (no patios), and mesh and post and rail fences are not good for a jumping dogs, Whatever your dogs' requirements do ensure you check with the owner what the garden is secure.

If your dog is reactive or noise sensitive, you'll want to know things like if the cottage of your choice has other dogs on staying nearby or if it is a more built-up area with lots going on. If so, it might not be suitable for your pack.

Other examples of dogs with special needs are those that don't like to walk on laminate flooring such as older dogs and certain hounds. Or possibly one of your dogs have an aversion to a certain layout or style. It is best to check with the owner to see whether something can be done to assist.

It is also worth checking what the cottage provides beforehand. This should help enormously with your packing. For instance, does the cottage provide throws for the furniture and beds and do you need to bring your own bed linen. Some cottage owners would probably prefer that you bring your own bed linen if your dog(s) sleep on the bed with you.

Most dog welcoming cottages will provide dog bowls, poo bags and dog beds, but don't assume this is always the case. It's a good idea to ask how many of each item they have, just in case there aren't enough for your pack.

If you crate your dogs, some cottages will provide crates upon request so ensure you book crates well in advance - and don't forget to tell them what size you need for your stay. Some owners will also provide dog buggies if one of your pack is elderly. It's definitely worth checking as it saves quite a bit of space when packing.

And importantly, remember to check with the owner that they have a list of emergency vets and local vets visible in the property just in case you need it!

During Your Stay
Now that you have found your perfect holiday place, it's time to relax and enjoy. Hopefully your pack will be welcomed with some tasty doggy treats on arrival!

On the practical side, the cottage should provide you with cleaning equipment, a good vacuum cleaner and some cleaning supplies. I know you will leave the cottage as you found it. Don't forget to do that last minute 'poo check' in the garden.

Why did I write this article?
Yes, I own a number of dog-friendly holiday cottages, but it's more than that. I have several dogs of my own - not just two small dogs but active, noisy and reactive border Collies - so I understand the challenges of staying away with your dogs. I do not want other people to experience the same problems that I did.

After 10 years of experience, I feel confident that I know what my guests require, and I really want to make their holiday happy, Managing their expectations is my life's work!

By doing your preparation and questioning in advance, you have a better chance of enjoying your holiday from the day of arrival. Ultimately it should make your life and mine - as well as those of other multi-dog welcoming cottage owners - easier.

Have a great holiday.

About the author...
Gail Adams came to dogs in her mid-30s with a Retriever, but she found her calling with rescues and with Border Collies. And she has not looked back.

She currently has two rescues from Ireland - one from Ainmithe and one via Norfolk Greyhound Rescue as well as a rescue cat.

Gail has run Pack Holidays since 2014. She currently has 40 properties to offer, ranging from coast to rural cottages to those on the outskirts of market towns - all of which are super dog friendly.

 She tries to give back as much as she can with donations to Ainmithe, PPBC, She also does home checks.

Gail is a plant-based lady.

Pack Holidays
Most of Pack Holidays' cottages are in the Norfolk area but there are some in Staffordshire, the Peak District and Scotland.

All are assessed for security, dog safety and provide reactive friendly ratings - which are explained on the website - to allow guests to make the best informed decision about the cottage of their choice. All dogs free of charge and provide a crate and buggy delivery service. Dogs are welcome everywhere on the premises. Throws, dog towels, poo bags and bowls etc. are all provided as well as some Mud Daddys. There are showers in some cottages.

If you are thinking about a multi-dog holiday, ring Gail on 07935 375899. Quote Agility5 for a 5% discount on your booking.

www.packholidays.co.uk : Says what it does it's all about bringing your pack with you!

First published 7th May 2024

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