Should Britain be More Dog Friendly?
There are more than 8 million pet dogs in Britain. Each of those dogs has an average of two owners. So, that’s 16 million people whose everyday lives are shared with their canine friends. We are an animal friendly nation and yet there are still many areas which remain no-go areas for dogs.
Step out of your front door with a pooch in tow and you are sure to find one of those no-go areas, if not several. Shops, restaurants and other establishments will be displaying "no dogs allowed" signs and you will even come across public areas where dogs are not permitted. Other countries are far more liberal in their approach to pooches and there are many good reasons why we should be too.
Better for Business
Shops and restaurants may have concerns over hygiene and the potential for mess but, the fact is, dogs would be good for business. There are no laws to restrict dogs from areas where food is served and a dog friendly policy is sure to attract custom from grateful animal lovers. Dogs will boost morale and so shop and restaurant workers may prove to be more productive and happier in their work if they are able to meet and interact with dogs.
Better for Health
Time and time again, research has shown that interacting with dogs helps to lower human blood pressure and to relieve stress. Welcoming dogs into more businesses and public areas would engender the feel-good factor. Some people are scared of or are allergic to dogs but there could be dog-free areas established in any business or public place to ensure that these people are catered for too. Stroking a dog boosts serotonin and dopamine, the happy hormones, so the presence of dogs could even help to reduce the likelihood of violent behaviour.
Pet friendly Town
The Kennel Club is promoting a more open-minded approach to dogs with their Most Pet friendly Town Award. It is hoped that this initiative will inspire more businesses to welcome dogs through their doors and that the result will be greater well-being for the people who live in these areas. Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire is being supported by Mars Petcare to enable the town to become a model for a more dog friendly environment.
The projects being undertaken in Melton Mowbray include The PAW-Some scheme which highlights local dog friendly businesses via door stickers and a guide to the town. Pets as Therapy are working in the town bringing dogs to care homes to lighten the lives of the residents. The Pet Ambassadors Programme is being run in every primary school to teach children more about pet care. Finally, Melton Mowbray Country Park is creating activity trails for pets and their owners to enjoy together.
The Kennel Club will soon be looking for nominations for several categories including pet friendly pubs, high streets, campsites and entire towns. If your town or village really pampers its pooches, everybody will benefit.