Pooch Power: Ashleigh Mackenzie reports on dog-friendly holiday park venues….
Historically, holiday park operators have not been shy of reaping the benefits of pet-friendly holidays.
With an estimated 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK, the ‘pooches welcome’ concept is a lucrative market for many holiday operators.
In fact, latest figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) reveal that 24 per cent of all households own a pet dog, with a high proportion of those seeking to holiday away without the hassle of organising kennel stays.
For the park owner, a few simple measures can go a long way in providing a comfortable stay for four-legged friends and their owners.
Whitehill Country Park in South Devon has set tails wagging following the recent launch of a series of dog-friendly initiatives.
The Paignton holiday park has added to its pooch appeal with a boutique range for hounds looking to holiday in style.
Better still, the family-run holiday park has also introduced a warm doggy shower, brand new for 2016, which offers pooches privacy when cleaning their muddy paws. The new shower is one of many dog-friendly facilities found at the park, along with its dedicated dog exercise area and complimentary doggy bags.
Whitehill Country Park Marketing Director, Claire Jeavons, said: “It’s estimated that around 12 million households in the UK own pets, including 8.5 million dogs, and our holiday park has certainly seen a great demand for dog-friendly holidays in recent years.
“Dogs are very much part of the family and our aim at Whitehill is to make them feel just as welcome as their human counterparts and the introduction of more dog-friendly caravans, coupled with the new doggy shower, are proving a hit among owners and dogs alike.”
Guests holidaying with four-legged friends at Whitehill have a wide range of dog-friendly accommodation to choose from including caravans, luxury lodges, touring and camping pitches. All guests holidaying with dogs are given a Whitehill Doggy Information Guide on arrival which promotes all the local dog walks and attractions found in Devon.
“In previous years, Whitehill Country Park welcomed dogs on select dates throughout the holiday season, however, in 2015 we updated our dog-friendly policy by opening our doors to dogs throughout the entire season which typically runs from Easter until the end of September,” says Claire.
“Being a dog-friendly site means we can accommodate the growing number of guests looking to holiday with their dog – cutting out the frustration that was felt by many dog owners who previously had to pay for expensive kennel fees when heading off on holiday.” The biggest challenge is ensuring that the park meets the needs of guests who choose to holiday with their dog and those that don’t in equal measure.
To ensure both can enjoy their holiday to the fullest, Whitehill requests that dogs are kept on leads at all times, with the exception of the designated Dog Exercise Area, as well as not accepting dogs under the Dangerous Dogs Act. There is also a strict policy with regards to guests cleaning up after their dogs and the Grounds Team are always on hand to monitor this throughout the season.
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