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Can pups save pubs?

With the Be Dog Friendly Week (24-28 July) underway, the Kennel Club has released the results of a survey across the UK's hospitality industry, showing that a whooping 98 per cent of pub managers with dog friendly policies believe these policies have contributed to their business' improvement. The survey found that "82 per cent of all pub managers questioned stated that they noticed an increased level of social interaction between guests when dogs were on the premises, and 79 per cent also attributed an improved overall atmosphere to the presence of dogs".

These factors encourage clients to stay longer, and spend more on each visit. With 21 pubs forced to close in the UK each week, catering to the nation's 8.5 million dog owners is more important than ever. The Kennel Club believes it may be the key to survival for many pubs, and is urging business owners to give dog friendly policies a try.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said, “This new research proves just how effective a dog friendly policy can be in ensuring a business’s survival. British pubs are an integral part of our society and whilst it is important that the public should support them, it is also essential that pub owners do everything within their power to make their venue the kind of place people will want to visit time and again. Dog owners and their pets are a key part of any community and as these statistics show, they have proven themselves to be an asset to many pubs across the country by spending their time and money as well as helping to create a nicer atmosphere.

“With one in four British households owning a dog, the general public will always be in need of places where their four legged friends are also made to feel welcome. The Kennel Club strongly encourages businesses across all industries to learn more about the benefits of being dog friendly and our Be Dog Friendly Week is the perfect time to give dogs a chance to prove they can be a great addition to any client base.”

There is a persistent myth that health and safety laws do not permit dogs in to venues. When interviewed for the Kennel Club survey 76 per cent of pub, café and restaurant managers believed that health regulations meant animals - with the exception of assistance dogs - could not enter their premises. That is simply untrue, and the Be Dog Friendly campaign is working to dispel the misconception.

Colin Valentine, National Chairman of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), says, "CAMRA welcomes the Kennel Club’s research into the positive impact of dog-friendly pubs across the UK. Pubs play a vital part in many people’s lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of their community. It therefore makes sense that in many cases a dog-friendly policy will help attract footfall to a local, particularly when paired with some great walking routes nearby," he says.

“There are a number of different factors forcing British pubs to close, ranging from high business rates to competition from supermarkets. We support any measures that help publicans remain in business, which can sometimes be achieved by diversifying a pub’s offering so that more people visit. There is, however, no simple solution to solving Britain’s pub crisis, and it is up to the individual publican to decide what the right business decision is for their pub.”