Lhasa Apso puppy sitting on grass

Are pet friendly holiday venues all that they say?

When considering a holiday as a dog owner, there is always the same dilemma. Do you leave your dog in kennels or do you bring them with you? For dog owners who choose not to leave their dogs in kennels or pet minding services, there are a number of pet friendly holiday venues to choose from. We returned from a dog friendly holiday recently and we thought we’d share our experience.

Our choice was a popular holiday park in Dorset. It offers pet friendly caravan accommodation in a beautiful setting. Unfortunately, our experience was not a positive one for a number of reasons. That said, the park was in a great setting and the staff were very helpful and kind. Let me make one thing clear though. This was just our experience of a dog friendly holiday park and others may have had different experiences.

Arrival at our destination

It was clear on arrival that the top of the range caravans were not available to pet owners. The old-fashioned accommodation had a particularly unpleasant smell. The caravan was supposed to be deep-cleaned before arrival but this was not the case. The lighting was poor and all the units were badly in need of refurbishment. Despite all of this, we paid more for our caravan than many of the high end caravans on site.

Alternative accommodation

Following complaints, the staff organised an alternative caravan. However, this change took up two days of our one week holiday. The alternative was a big improvement but it still wasn’t top range. An added problem was in respect of parking. It was impossible to park a car in our allocated space, because the adjacent caravans were restricting our access. There were also overgrown trees which were dropping green debris all over the car. However, the park staff were quick to respond and dispatched a gardener to deal with this problem.

How ‘friendly’ is pet friendly?

Taking all this into account, we feel that the holiday park management discriminate against dogs and dog owners by the standard of accommodation provided. We believe the term “pet friendly” is not appropriate in this case and should be changed to “pet tolerant” to reflect this attitude. Most responsible dog owners regard their dogs as family members who have the right to be treated fairly and properly by those who advertise this type of holiday.

Check reviews and research wisely

The holiday park is in a beautiful location and the staff are very responsive to feedback. If you do choose to take a your pet, you may experience some of the problems mentioned above. The advice was to book privately next time to get the best accommodation. Also do lots of research on websites like TripAdvisor and filter on things like ‘pet-friendly’ or ‘pets’. That way you can get the reviews from other dog owners. I would also add that the staff on duty understood our issues and ensured that we had a satisfactory conclusion. If anyone has had any experiences of their own, good or bad, please let us know.

Eric Armstrong

Eric is an author, content writer and dog owner from the UK.

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