So-called ‘staycations’ – holidays booked by Brits in the UK as opposed to abroad – are on the increase. And not just in the summer season – but autumn/winter also. Searches and bookings for UK-based holidays have increased by almost a quarter in 2017 compared with last year, according to Sojern, a travel marketing company.
There are many reasons for this including uncertainty over Brexit, the weak pound and the terrorism threat.
But this is also good news for our dogs. People who holiday in their own country, and especially campers, are far more likely to take their pet with them, something that John Burns, veterinary surgeon and owner of Burns Pet Nutrition, a family company in Wales that makes specialist foods designed for the health and well-being of pets, welcomes.
Here, John highlights five reasons why staycations are not only beneficial for dogs and their owners, but for the UK economy.
1. Reducing dog obesity
With more than 3.8 million dogs in the UK classed as obese or overweight, there is a growing concern among vets that this statistic is set to rise. Results from a study carried out by the British Veterinary Association shows that more than 60 per cent of vets say obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern for UK pets.
Taking dogs on holiday provides a boost to the standard daily exercise they are used to. Additionally, it will allow dogs to benefit mentally from experiencing and walking in a new environment. And with staycations on the rise for the autumn/winter season, dogs are getting additional exercise which they may otherwise have been limited to due to weather conditions at home.
Aside from choosing the correct nutritional food, exercise is vital to ensure your dog remains at a healthy weight.
2. Improving the human-animal bond
The human-animal bond is something which is often taken for granted, however its importance should not be over-looked or underestimated.
Ensuring that the human-animal bond is strong, mutually benefits the well-being of both humans and their pets. Not only does it help your dog to lose weight and become healthier, it’s also a great bonding exercise.
When you go walking somewhere new there are lots of exciting smells and surroundings to explore, providing excellent mental stimulation and exercise for both dog and human. Win, win!
3. It can be much cheaper
In addition to avoiding the additional travel costs of flights and airport parking, overseas holidays have also become more expensive because the value of the pound has fallen so sharply since the UK voted to leave the European Union. Conversely, this means it is also cheaper for tourists to come here – 37.2 million people visited the UK in 2016, a three per cent increase on the previous year.
While this may be hiking the costs of hotel rooms in the UK, a break at home is still significantly cheaper than travelling overseas and it may also prepare the family for any restrictions that do emerge once the Brexit process has been completed.
Furthermore, more and more UK residents are choosing an autumn/winter staycation as an alternative to a summer one. Why? With Halloween, Bonfire Night and of course, the run up to Christmas, there are lots of staycation destinations putting on family and dog friendly activities and events celebrating these occasions.
4. Businesses more ‘dog-friendly’
While exact statistics are hard to come by, there has been a steady rise in recent years in the number of hotels and other forms of businesses willing to accommodate pets. Some have discovered this can be a lucrative and relatively niche market; others are simply responding to a growing demand from pet owners hoping to take their dog on a staycation.
When it comes to campsites, it’s even easier. Most sites now welcome well-behaved dogs, though no matter where you stay, it’s normal to have to keep your dogs on the lead and walk them only in certain areas. According to research conducted by The Kennel Club, many businesses are already seeing the economic benefits. Some 97 percent of dog-friendly pubs believe that making dogs welcome has greatly improved business.
This trend makes life much easier for pet owners wanting to share a break with their canine friends. It is not just about accommodation: more restaurants, cafes, pubs, beaches and other tourist attractions will allow dogs now making a holiday more enjoyable for all.
5. Appreciate the UK
The UK is home to some of the most idyllic scenic views in the world, so why travel far and wide when extraordinary experiences are on your doorstep?
With numerous dog-friendly beaches and national parks at popular locations such as Cornwall, Wales, Devon and the Lake District, holidaying in the UK with your pet is the perfect opportunity to gift them with exercise they can enjoy, while taking in breath-taking views yourself.