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In 2017, more dogs went on holiday with Sykes Cottages than children. The popularity of dog-friendly cottages in the UK has been increasing steadily over the past three years and this trend looks to be continuing.
We recognise that holidaymakers wishing to take their dogs away with them are as concerned about the comfort of their four-legged friends as they are about their own. With this in mind, we have created a guide to pet proofing your property and providing a safe and happy environment for each and every one of your potential guests.
When considering pet proofing the interior of your home, it could be useful to take a dog’s eye-view, getting down on all fours and seeing your surroundings from a pet’s perspective. It may be easier to spot any potential hazards or concerns from this viewpoint.
Dogs like to chew things, so perhaps providing a few toys as happy distractions would be an option. Make sure there are no belongs on show that could act as potential choking hazards or be poisonous, such as children’s toys, remote controls and house plants.
Keep any chemicals or household cleaning items secure and out of reach. The smells pervading these bottles is enticing and dogs will try and drink them if possible. They are extremely harmful and toxic to dogs and if a large enough quantity was to be ingested, the consequences could be fatal.
If you have low-level cupboards, they may be susceptible to some canine investigation. The best action to take to prevent your cupboards being ransacked would be to fit them with child locks. This stops any items inside being damaged and prevents any potential harmful foods from being ingested. There are many human food items that are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, avocados and garlic.
It’s your decision as to whether you provide pet-friendly amenities, or whether you leave that responsibility with their owners. If you choose to include pet-friendly features, providing a designated space for their bed and toys would be useful and could help to contain them to a specific room or area of the house if you desire. To ensure that pets are kept on the ground floor, installing a baby gate on the stairs would be a great method.
Exposed electrics and cables are likely to be chewed and the consequences could be unsavoury. Prevent any electrical malfunctions by securing all wires and sockets, preferably out of reach. This may involve blocking access to any cables with furniture, or securing them at a height that is unreachable. You can purchase plastic plug socket covers and protectors, which can be easily removed when necessary, and at a relatively inexpensive cost. Cables can be secured to the wall and covered by a lightweight rubber protector.
When furnishing your property, keep pets in mind. They shed a lot of fur, which can alter the appearance of your furniture and be extremely difficult to remove. They also like to scratch and claw at furniture, so look for materials that are easily cleanable and very resilient. Perhaps an older, pre-distressed leather could work well or a removable and machine washable fabric, which can be regularly cleaned.
Similarly to the furniture issue, carpets can become saturated with fur, matted and damaged by clawing, chewing and inevitable spillages. It would be wise to avoid laying down carpets in your holiday home, particularly on the ground floor. If you choose to install a baby gate on the staircase, then carpets on the upper levels would be perfectly acceptable. Laminate flooring may be a cost effective, easily cleanable alternative, but be aware that it can be scratched and spoiled quite easily. A suitable alternative would be Vinyl. It is resilient and hard wearing, plus you can choose a thicker vinyl for added comfort. It has the added benefit of maintaining heat insulation, which is ideal for the cold winter months and could save you money on your energy bills.
Many people can be apprehensive about opening up their homes to pets, as they can be known to emit unpleasant odours. This is easily rectified with an air freshener. You can opt for plug-ins, ideally for sockets that are located out of reach of pets, or choose from a selection of sprays that have been specially designed to be pet-friendly and safe to be scattered freely.
The most important aspect of pet proofing your garden is ensuring a safe, secure space for dogs to run around in and enjoy. Making sure your fence is tall enough to contain an energetic dog is important, as is keeping your borders secure. Dogs like to dig underneath fences and try and scramble through small holes, so having your fence firmly secured at the base is vital.
Dogs love to dig and during this process, the lawn can easily become disposable. To prevent any damage to your lawn, it’s a good idea to create a suitable distraction. A sand pit is a great alternative for dogs as it provides the perfect digging conditions without resulting in destruction. Having clearly marked pathways and defined boundaries could also help to keep them in a specific area. Steer clear of using slug pellets, weed killer and rat poison as they are all extremely toxic.
If you wish to keep plants and flowers, then you need to ensure they are pet-friendly in every sense. Be aware that there are some species that are poisonous to dogs, including daffodils, hydrangea, wisteria and hyacinth. There are many pet-friendly alternatives to choose from, including honeysuckle, lavender, sunflowers and roses. It’s also a good idea to select sturdy shrubbery that could withstand a barrage of dogs and or children, such as rudbeckia, lavender and viburnum. If you would like any further garden-themed inspiration, take a look at our Guide to Low-Maintenance Gardens.
By making these small enhancements to your property, you are opening yourself up to a wide audience of dog lovers wanting to holiday with their four-legged friends. More than 50% of our properties are now pet-friendly and this number looks set to continue to rise. Hopefully this information can assist you with creating your own pet-friendly paradise.
But the question still remains: Will you benefit from pet-proofing your property? The infographic below delves into the data to give you an idea of the value of a Sykes pet-friendly holiday let.
Fair use: We’re more than happy for you to share the graphic above, but we ask that you please give attribution by providing a link back to this page so that your readers can find out more about our low-maintenance research.
*Based on a 7 bedroom property in the Lake District with bookings between October 2017 to September 2018.
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