When embarking on a holiday or short break, dog owners are increasingly reluctant to leave their much loved pooches at home – and why should they? For many, dogs are part of the family, and quality time with your faithful canine companion is just as important as all the other opportunities for rest and relaxation when you are on holiday.
Better still, your dog’s needs are simple, and they will love every minute that you spend exploring the great outdoors. There’s good news if you are considering a walking holiday in Scotland or a weekend exploring hiking routes in the Caingorms National Park: your four-legged friend is as welcome as you are.
Things to keep in mind for holidays with dogs in Scotland
When planning a pet friendly holiday in Scotland, you need to be aware of local guidance on ensuring your dog is responsibly controlled at all times.
If you are taking advantage of the opportunity for adventure in Scotland’s amazing countryside, you will be amongst a considerable amount of wildlife and potentially walking near or on private land, such as farms and country estates. Clearly, worrying or injuring animals is strictly prohibited.
You also need to be confident that your dog can join your walks without disturbing resident animals or birds, and nor should it be allowed to run freely through crops and orchards. Understandably, extra vigilance is requested during bird breeding season in Scotland, which is usually April to July.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is a great reference source to help you understand your responsibilities as a dog owner when you’re taking advantages of Scotland’s incredible open spaces.
With all this in mind, the opportunities for individuals, couples or families to have adventure-filled walks with their furry friend are abundant. There are acres of forests and moors and long trails and pathways, offering a variety of sights, sounds and smells for your dog. If you fancy a more strenuous work out for you and your dog, why not follow rugged paths to see incredible views from Scotland’s Cairngorm mountain sides?
Perhaps you have a sea dog who prefers to have a good run along Scotland’s majestic coastline? For some canine chums, no holiday would be complete without doing doggy paddle in one of the country’s beautiful lochs.
Warm welcome for dogs in venues
After a wonderful day exploring the splendours of Scotland’s great outdoors, you will not be short of places to eat or sleep, either.
There has been a growing awareness of the power of the ‘paw pound’ within the tourism and hospitality sectors in Scotland. Self-catering options in Scotland often include accommodation that welcomes dogs and cafes, pubs and hotel lounges are increasingly opening their doors to canines, too.
Not only that, you will find many Scottish hospitality venues go out of their way to cater for dogs, as well as their owners. Bowls of water and even treats (such as special dog-friendly ice cream) are a common offering.
Ideas for dog days out in Scotland
Apart from walking, there are many tourist attractions and castles peppered around Scotland’s array of cities and rural destinations that welcome well behaved dogs. This includes many of the properties managed by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
For example, if you want to ramble around Melrose Abbey or Dryburgh Abbey at the Scottish borders, your four-legged companion could be right by your side. They can also join you in exploring Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, or Hermitage and Black Linn Falls, where you can witness the leaping salmon.
If your preference is for more of an urban landscape on your pet friendly holiday to Scotland, you can be sure of plenty of beautiful parks that welcome responsible dog owners, too.
Pet friendly accommodation in Scotland
The choice of pet friendly self-catering holidays in Scotland is extensive. Some do make a small charge for your four-legged family member. However, one of the advantages of a self-catering holiday is that you and your dog can stick to your own routines and relax in your own home from home, with freedom to come and go as you please.