With temperatures hitting record highs this summer, whether you're heading abroad or sticking closer to home for a staycation, you'll need to consider your pets.
SoGlos spoke to Visit Gloucestershire about the options available when holidaying as a pet owner - and why Gloucestershire is the ideal staycation destination if you're taking your four-legged friends with you on your travels.
About the expert – Steve Gardner-Collins from Visit Gloucestershire
Steve Gardner-Collins is the director of Visit Gloucestershire — a non-competitive platform which brings local hospitality and visitor economy businesses together to share experiences, resources and support.
Improving accessibility for all; championing local food, drink and hospitality; and encouraging both residents and visitors to think and buy local are just some of the organisation's goals, with the overall aim of creating a responsible and sustainable tourism industry for Gloucestershire.
There’s been a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic. Now restrictions have eased and more people are planning to holiday again, what does that mean for Gloucestershire’s pets?
There are so many options for Gloucestershire’s pets, lots of exciting opportunities to bring the family pet out for the day or for a staycation away, with many businesses having adopted pet-friendly initiatives — so its an ideal time to holiday in the county and bring your furry friend along with you.
If people are heading further afield and don’t have friends or family to look after their pets while they’re away, what options are there?
Traditional care options are available, such kennels and catteries; some boutique pet hotels are now becoming popular, too. Gloucestershire is home to a couple of these swish options like The Luxury Dog Hotel in Cheltenham and Hattie's Dog Boarding in Gloucester.
If families aren’t able to holiday abroad due to pet care commitments, should they consider a staycation instead?
Absolutely, never before has there been more options and opportunity to travel with your pets. There is plenty of pet-friendly accommodation and many restaurants and bars now operate in a pet-friendly way, so there is always lots to do and nothing holding you back from staycationing with your pets.
How dog-friendly is Gloucestershire as a destination?
The good news is that Gloucestershire is very pet-friendly. It's traditionally rural in so many ways with its history and connections to farm life, the countryside and animals.
In pretty much all cases, you have options available in all settings. Times have changed so much and businesses have adapted and adopted pet-friendly measures which makes such a difference for pet owners. SoGlos has some great options for people travelling with their dogs, with hot lists of dog-friendly Cotswold attractions, pubs and places to dine for some inspiration.
What accommodation options do dog-owners have?
Not only can you find lots of hotels offering pet-friendly rooms, there are so many more options too, from glamping and camping to self-catering holiday cottages — so you don’t have to look far to find lots of choices.
For some inspiration of where to stay with your four-legged friend, SoGlos’s hot list of dog-friendly hotels in Gloucestershire has loads to choose from.
What can Gloucestershire’s hotels do to make themselves more dog-friendly?
To be pet-friendly it is really important to set the scene — be clear what you are offering, what pets you will accept and what the rules are.
There is no doubt, gardens to roam in and dinner supplied in the form of hypoallergenic dog food, served both dry and wet, is a great option. Hotels also need to consider whether they need to designate areas, to help pet owners by having clear, easy-to-understand zones where it is OK to take pets.
Be clear about prices for pet owners up front, to fully understand costs when booking; and of course, play with your service options by providing treats and play areas for guest's pets.
You could always put together some information about your local area, too, so visitors can discover great places they can take their pets nearby.
What can Gloucestershire’s restaurants and bars do to accommodate people’s pets?
For food service areas, it is critical to be clear for everyone where people can sit with their pets, where pets can play and let's face it, they'll need the toilet at some point, so where they can go for that, too.
In restaurants and pubs, pets can get bored quickly, so consider what options you can offer to make pets and their owners comfortable.
What I love about this subject is that restaurants and bars can play with so many options on the experience, with dedicated pet menus, dog-friendly desserts and so much more, so there is no excuse for anyone to go hungry.
If people have their heart set on a holiday on warmer shores, what advice can you give pet owners in Gloucestershire struggling to find care for their animals?
Demand is always a juggle, but the good news here is that right now we’re not seeing demand like 2020 and 2021 for staycations, and not everyone is going abroad, so pet boarding is available in most places. Although planning early is probably the easiest way to guarantee the accommodation you want for your pet.