Posted 3 months ago ago
After months of ongoing closures, non-essential shops up and down the land welcomed customers back with open arms once restrictions were lifted, and not just of the human variety.
A growing number of stores, including the likes of high street favourites John Lewis and Wilko, now welcome all dogs through their doors, not just assistance ones, which is happy news to the millions of owners who are often left in a conundrum as to what to do with their canines when they pop to the shops.
“From a commercial point of view, with one in three families now owning a dog, they represent a big proportion of their customer base, so it’s great to see they’re starting to welcome the whole family into their stores and of course many shops now have pet products available in store, including John Lewis and White Stuff,” says Steve Bennett, founder of DogFriendly.co.uk, a database of places to stay, eat, and visit that welcome our four-legged friends.
Since non-essential shops have opened, Bennett and his team have seen an increase in searches for shops of 169%, and the number of dog-friendly shops listed on their database has already increased by almost 10% this year, to more than 2,300.
“With the increased popularity of staycations, hotels, self-catering, pubs etc are recognising that their customers want to bring their dogs with them and that they want to be treated as part of the family,” says Bennett. Searches in the same period for dog-friendly days out have seen an increase of 165%, and cottages and self-catering have had an increase of 152%.
(credit: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)
“Whilst on holiday, families will want to go out and about and spend their money in the high street and those stores that welcome dogs are in the best position to attract that spend.”
He does appreciate the hesitancy that some stores have had about relaxing their pup-related policies, but takes comfort in the fact that the mood is clearly changing.
“Some stores have been nervous of dogs going to the toilet inside, or of visitors being nervous around dogs, or suffering allergies, or that dogs might cause damage to stock. However, some of the stores have run a trial and found that this has not been the case and have opened up fully.
“In fact, I believe many stores have recognised the fact that having well-behaved dogs in store can be very good for business. There has been research that has shown the positive effect of having dogs around on mental health and also the general atmosphere.”
It's Bennett’s hope that in time an even greater number of stores will welcome canine customers.
(credit: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
“Dogs are members of our family; we want to be able to take our dogs with us. With dog theft on the increase, tying up your dog outside the store is just not an option and they cannot be left in the car if the weather is hot, so we would like to see well-behaved dogs welcomed everywhere,” he says, and provides a few tips on what responsible owners can do to help the cause.
“Firstly, ensure that if you have your dog with you in a dog-friendly store that your dog is well-behaved and always under control. Be considerate to other customers in the shop. Also, contact stores that aren’t dog friendly to let them know that you would be more likely to go into their store if they were.”
Below is a sample of dog-friendly brands that’ll welcome you and your pup, but for a full list, visit DogFriendly.co.uk.
Cafes such as Neros and Starbucks have many branches that are dog-friendly.
Many garden centres, including Notcutts and Dobbies