Main photo: Best Caravan Park winner Nash Farm
With many owners opting for a ‘staycation’ rather than travelling abroad to avoid leaving their pets behind, Pembrokeshire has become a popular holiday destination for dogs and their owners.
The Dog-Friendly Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards has been searching for the best businesses in the region and this year, 11 winners have been crowned in a special judging ceremony hosted by Burns Pet Nutrition and Pembrokeshire Tourism.
Judges looked for businesses who went out of their way to welcome dogs with categories including the best pub, town, beach and hotel.
Cwm Connell Coastal Cottages took home the award for Best Self-Catering Accommodation Provider thanks to its forward-thinking approach to dog guests. As well as dog treats and dog beds, Cwm Connell has also introduced special showers, doggie dryers and washing machines fitted with a net to catch dog hairs. There’s also a gated patio so dogs can exercise safely.
Fuchsia Caffe in Tenby won the Best Cafe category and offers table service so that diners do not have to manoeuvre around tables and chairs with a dog in tow. They also have a doggie menu, free biscuits and blankets.
The Brewery Inn Cosheston won Best Pub, winning over the judges for its impressive dog toileting facilities and treat selection.
Best Campsite category winner was Coastal Meadows which allows two dog guests to stay for no extra charge and has its very own complimentary Barking Guide with a list of dog-friendly places to visit in the local area.
Wolfscastle Country Hotel & Spa was awarded the title of Best Hotel, boasting a resident dog hotelier named Freddy as well as designated areas for guests to relax with their pooch.
Welsh pet food maker, Burns Pet Nutrition, judged the awards and is on a mission to promote responsible dog ownership and help pets and owners lead happier healthier lives. Burns Founder and Veterinary Surgeon, John Burns, said, “We are extremely passionate about developing the bond between humans and animals. These awards allow us to celebrate this and praise Pembrokeshire for its efforts in ensuring its facilities welcome holiday makers and their animal friends.
“Taking your dog with you on holiday eliminates the need to find care arrangements, which is often a major concern for pet owners when embarking on a holiday.”
Recent research suggests UK dog owners are increasingly opting for staycations instead of holidays abroad, to avoid the distress of leaving their pets behind. The surge also coincides with the uncertainty surrounding EU travel post-Brexit. Defra has announced that in the event of a no deal Brexit, owners may have to contact their vet at least four months before travelling to get the latest advice.
Commenting on the awards, Dennis O’Connor, Tourism Liaison Officer at Pembrokeshire Tourism, said, “Pembrokeshire is a very special place for visitors and we are delighted to have been able to recognise the work of dog-friendly businesses throughout the county as well as our fantastic towns and beaches.
“Many people now take two or more holidays a year and tend to have a week abroad and a week exploring the UK. Increasingly, visitors are looking for dog-friendly destinations to avoid the distress of leaving their pets in kennels.”
Currently, dogs can holiday throughout Europe via the pet passport scheme, but Brexit could result in blood tests, vaccinations and vet visits with up to a 30-day wait before travel.
Full list of winners from the Dog Friendly Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards
Best Dog Friendly Town – Saundersfoot
Best Dog Friendly Beach – Freshwater East
Best Dog Friendly Pub – The Brewery Inn Cosheston
Best Dog Friendly Cafe – The Fuchsia Caffe & Caterers
Best Dog Friendly Caravan Park – Nash Mountain Farm
Best Dog Friendly Attraction / Day Out – Carew Castle and Tidal Mill
Best Dog Friendly Campsite – Coastal Meadows, Amroth
Best Dog Friendly Hotel – Wolfscastle Country Spa Hotel & Restaurant
Best Dog Friendly B&B / Guest House – Moreton House
Best Dog Friendly Self-Catering Accommodation – Cwm Connell Coastal Cottages
Best Dog Friendly Marketing Campaign – FBM Holidays