What does pet-friendly mean?

The pet-friendly movement has been spreading all over the world in recent years and, today, lots of different kinds of establishments have added this distinction to their business.

Let’s have a look at what pet-friendly means and why it is so important for pet owners.

The meaning of pet-friendly

As the words suggest, pet-friendly translates into Spanish as “a friendly welcome for pets”. A business or establishment that gives itself this description is prepared to welcome guests to its premises accompanied by their pets, which are usually their domesticated dogs.

This movement began in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century, but today it has already gone worldwide. It is about public places, such as hotels, restaurants and transport facilities, where you can legally take your animal companion with you and get proper treatment.

The number of places and businesses that call themselves pet-friendly has not stopped growing year after year, thanks to greater demand and requests by dog owners who want to take them into the various places.

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Rules to remember in pet-friendly establishments

Businesses and establishments showing the pet-friendly label have prepared a series of rules that dog owners must observe and abide by when they want to enter and stay in these establishments.  Some of the commonest are the following: 

  • Only enter with well behaved dogs that do not show any sign of aggression that may upset other clients of that establishment.
  • The animals must be clean, up to date with regulation vaccinations and pest control treatments, free of skin problems such as fleas and ticks.
  • Dogs must be clearly identifiable wearing a collar and lead.
  • The animals must always be with their owner, never allowed to wander about the establishment independently.
  • In pet-friendly hotels you are not allowed to bathe your dog in the bathroom designed for the hotel guests.
  • You must be able to control the dog when it barks or shows any kind of aggressive behaviour.
  • Use a muzzle for dogs known to be potentially dangerous.
  • Do not allow dogs to use furniture prepared for the hotel guests, such as chairs or sofas or the restaurant tables.
  • If the establishment has a special place for clients with pets, it is important to stay in those places.
  • Accept the expenses of any possible damage that the dog may cause in the establishment.
  • Be responsible and clean up in the event that your dog leaves droppings or makes puddles inside the establishment.

The pet-friendly situation in Spain

In Spain the number of pet-friendly establishments has been growing steadily year by year for a long time. It is estimated that more than 5 million families in our country have at least one dog at home, and businesses do not want to lose the opportunity of trade with these customers as many of them travel and go about accompanied by their dogs.

In our country there are lots of pet-friendly places which are worth mentioning in cities, such as the following: 

  • Madrid: the capital has opened a pet-friendly line on the Metro where you can take your dog, whatever its type or size.
  • Barcelona: in this city you can go into the Metro with your dog without needing to use a basket or box. There is also an aqua park for dogs.
  • Seville: the capital of Andalusia has arranged various cultural and thematic routes that you can explore with your dog.
  • Zaragoza: the city has public swimming pools where you can go with your dog and there is even a taxi service which will take you around the city with your dog and without needing to use a basket or box.
  • Gijón: this city has launched a “Yes my can” campaign which many establishments have joined, allowing animals into their premises. 
  • Valencia: the case in Valencia is remarkable because it has become the first tourist city to win distinction as a pet-friendly destination, making clear the city’s commitment to welcoming dogs.

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A movement that can go on growing

The pet-friendly movement is conquering more and more places and more cities worldwide. For this expansion to continue it is essential for dog owners to cooperate and be responsible when going into establishments and places that have already this label.

When you take your dog with you it is essential that it is clean, well behaved, fully vaccinated and pest-free in order to prevent problems and cause the kind of nuisance that could make the business give up being pet-friendly. As companions of our dogs, we need to ensure that the rules are kept, since this is the only way to get other places, establishments and businesses to join the pet-friendly movement and allow us to enjoy many more activities with them.

More and more people and families keep dogs and want to spend time with them during their holidays away from home, going shopping or spending time in a bar. We are all potential customers for those establishments that adopt the pet-friendly option in order to gain more clientele.

Without a firm commitment by dog owners we shall not be able to demonstrate that living with dogs is wonderful and that we can share our lives with them in places where until recently they were not welcome. Only together and by keeping to the rules can we show society that it is possible to change attitudes towards a greater integration of our animals into our day-to-day lives away from home.

Now that you know what pet-friendly means you only have to make sure that your favourite shops and establishments are already part of this movement so that you can take your dog with you wherever you go.