What makes a pub dog-friendly?

Everyday, pubs up and down the country are filled with friends and families enjoying each others company. With UK pubs offering an ever-greater range of real cask ales or craft beers, plus an extensive menu of delicious delicacies, it should come as no surprise that pubs spend a lot of time thinking about how to best serve their customers. But, how many of them think about the needs of their four-legged regulars too?

With the help of two of our judges – Lisa Hens, Senior Scientific Officer at the RSPCA and Ed Bedington, the Editor of the UK’s leading pub-lication (sorry!) the Morning Advertiser, we’ve created a comprehensive list of the dog-friendly basics, plus a few bonus dog-friendly features for those who go the extra mile.

Dog-friendly pub checklist

  • Are water bowls always available – inside and outside?
  • Is there clear signage saying that dogs are welcome?
  • Does the website make it clear that dogs are allowed?
  • Are owners and their dogs generally being made to feel welcome?
  • Is there somewhere shaded during warm weather for dogs to lay?
  • Is there somewhere owners can eat inside with dogs?

Going the Extra Mile

  • Does the pub offer dog treats behind the bar?
  • Does the pub offer a quiet area for the dogs away from the main noise of the pub?
  • Is there a separate area where people can go if they’re not comfortable around dogs?
  • Are there any ‘pet etiquette’ rules e.g. dogs should be under control whilst at the pub?
  • Is there a place for muddy boots and wet paws to be left/dried (especially if the pub is near a walking route)?

What do dog owners want?

Pub landlords, take note! Our recent survey of 3,000 UK dog owners notes that:

  • 60% of dog owners believe that having a water bowl for their dog was very important
  • 14% said that dog-loving pub staff were an important factor
  • 14% also claimed that having outdoor space was a very important consideration
  • 10% added that freebies such as treats or toys were important to them (well, their dog)

And what asked what else they looked for, dog owners had the following suggestions:

  • Signage to advertise the pub is dog-friendly
  • A warm welcome for owners and their dogs
  • Special dog-friendly food offerings on the menu
  • Designated bins for dog poo (plus complimentary poo bags too!)

Why is being dog-friendly important?

It’s probably not surprising that discerning pub visitors often do their research before heading out to a pub with their dog in tow. In fact, 64% of UK dog owners research dog-friendly pubs before paying a visit. However, it’s worth noting that 1 in 3 of them struggle to find a suitable dog-friendly pub, and 24% of the dog-owners we surveyed have actually left a pub because it wasn’t dog-friendly, despite claiming to be so. In short, being dog-friendly is essential to making sure the UK’s 9M dog owners (and their dogs!) enjoy spending time in their local pub.