Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Anyone for a pet-icure? Owners lavishing their companions to make them 'feel better'

Up on the fourth floor of this vast emporium, past shelves spilling over with designer sunglasses, a crowd of French tourists gather excitedly in front of a floor-to-ceiling window.

They’re staring open-mouthed at the luxury spa on the other side of the glass where a smug, pampered client is wrapped in a fluffy white towel, enjoying a signature blueberry and vanilla facial and pedicure.

You see, this is not your normal spa-goer. It’s Monty, a two-year-old British bulldog. On the next table, Silver the Persian cat is being treated to a blow dry, white fur flying everywhere, while a bearded shih-tzu called Gizmo looks rather surprised that he has been daubed in spa mud and wrapped in cling film.

Photo: Nick Holt
Glamour pooch: Jenny (far left) helps with bulldog Monty's treatment
Welcome to the Pet Spa at Harrods, Britain’s first animal spa and the only place to be seen for pets of the rich and famous. Tamara Ecclestone is just one of the celebrities who has been spotted whisking her five dogs in for pedicures and a shimmer spray (yes, that’s one of the 42 treatments on offer) since its opening in November 2010.

I’m here to spend a day behind the scenes at the spa, learning to paint doggy nails, shampoo cats and pamper the four-legged prima donnas to see if I’ve got what it takes to be a pet beauty therapist. It doesn’t take long to realise the clientele — and their owners — inhabit an entirely different world to the rest of us.

Head of Pet Spa Stephanie Mehanna says it’s not just bonkers billionaires who come through the spa doors, though she admits it does attract a particular kind of customer. ‘They tend to be those with homes in London and the countryside who bring their big dogs in to be cleaned up after a muddy weekend,’ she says.
‘And then we have the locals who book their pets in every week — our prices aren’t that high for the area and we do have the best pet stylists in London.’
Ah yes, the locals. This is Knightsbridge, a favourite second-home spot for oil tycoons and Middle Eastern royalty where the average asking price of a property is £3 million.

Photo: Nick Holt
Centre of attention: Shih-tzu Gizmo gets a facial and his head washed 

The Pet Spa looks like an exclusive salon with its large open room littered with treatment tables and static hairdryers. To the right is the ‘fitness suite’ complete with a Fit Fur Life doggy treadmill — where cocker spaniel Maisie is busy enjoying a workout, while a flat-screen television shows doggy films Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians and Hotel For Dogs on a loop.

On the left is the physiotherapy and massage area where candles line a shelf along the back wall. On Fridays, the spa hosts an Animal Communication and Reiki therapist who, for £175, will use the laying of hands to channel energy into your mutt. Yes, really.
On the therapy table at the moment is the first spa-goer of the day. It’s not a dog or even a cat, but a four-year-old tortoise called Georgina who has popped in for a £29.95 Olive Oil Treatment and Pedicure. Preparing a tub of lukewarm water is qualified veterinary nurse Donna Wills, the spa’s physiotherapist and masseuse, who charges £99-£155 per session.

Showing me how to scrub Georgina’s shell with a brush while keeping her tiny head above water, Donna says: ‘They usually like the feeling; they get vibrations through the shell.’

But instead of basking in the attention, Georgina seems slightly perturbed today, and tucks herself away as she’s dried off and has olive oil applied to her feet. Perhaps luxury takes a bit of getting used to.

One pet who clearly enjoys it is Donna’s own border collie, Logan, who she has brought in today for a treat. He sprawls out on a big pink cushion before Donna begins to massage him using a soft, circular motion.

It certainly looks relaxing, but why on earth would a dog need a massage? Stressed after a hard day of walkies? ‘It makes dogs feel better, just like it does for us,’ she explains. ‘Massage releases endorphins and encourages circulation which can cut down on injuries in the future.’

As I leave Logan to his massage, I head off to meet Silver, the first feline customer of the day. This floppy Persian cat has been coming regularly since he was a kitten for his weekly 11.45am wash and fluff dry. As I’m shown how to shampoo Silver using a foamy purple pouf, I’m reassured (sort of) that he has only given the occasional nip or scratch. He seems to be coping quite well until he tries to throw himself out of the tub, covering us in a spray of soapy water.

‘We would never bathe an adult cat that wasn’t used to it,’ says Stephanie. ‘It would be cruel.

‘We can use a waterless foam shampoo which is just brushed out as an alternative.’ While Silver is set up under a blow dryer, it’s time for the dogs to have their turn.

Monty and Coco, British and French bulldogs respectively, have come in for a full body groom which involves dead-hair removal, nail trim, ear cleanse, two shampoos, warm blow dry, custom coat styling and a spritz of Harrods pet perfume.

After Monty’s wash, stylist Jessica attaches him to the frame above a table with a lead to stop him from falling off. She shows me how to clean right inside his ears using specialist pet eye and ear wipes and inside the folds in his wrinkly face.

Shih-tzu Gizmo, on another table, is getting ready for his mud bath. These specialist products mostly come from the U.S. and Japan, where people are potty about pet spas. I help stylist Dione rub gloopy mud all over Gizmo, before he is wrapped in clingfilm for five minutes to let it sink in. He’s lined up for a blueberry facial next.

Photo: Nick Holt
Dog's life: Gizmo, gets his coat moisturised whilst British Bull Dog Monty is attended to in the rear of the saloon
‘It’s not as frivolous as people think,’ says Stephanie. ‘The mud bath conditions the skin as well as the coat. Our blueberry facial helps remove tearstains, and the fresh breath treatment — where we brush the teeth with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste or spray in minty foam — speaks for itself.’

Something must be working as Stephanie says they get a lot of regulars, including Toffee, a crazy cocker spaniel who comes in twice a week — ‘I think her owner would pay us anything just to take her off her hands for a few hours’ — and a couple of German shepherd guard dogs belonging to a well-known Russian businessman (the spa is much too discreet to name names).

Feeling blue: Gizmo getting a blueberry face wash during his treatment
Wash and go: He is then scrubbed from head to toe using a special loofah

As each dog is finished off throughout the afternoon and flounces off with a goody bag containing a Canine Cookie Company biscuit and a chewy bone, there’s no denying they look adorable. Would they have had just as good a time rolling around in the mud instead of having it massaged in?

Probably. But, at least this way, they won’t leave muddy paw marks all over the limo on the drive home.

Article by By Jenny Stocks for the Mail Online

Monday, 27 February 2012

How to teach … responsible dog ownership

The Guardian Teacher Network has a wealth of resources from Dogs Trust, Battersea and others for teaching children how to behave safely around dogs and how to look after them properly

Cha Cha at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London: Battersea has produced resources to help teachers educate children about dogs. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Caring for animals is a great way for young people to learn about commitment and responsibility. Knowing how to behave around animals – especially dogs – also has an important role to play in keeping children safe. This week the Guardian Teacher Network is highlighting a range of resources about responsible dog ownership.

Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, has created a variety of materials that span all age ranges. Paws to Learn is a pre-school resource that teaches children the importance of behaving safely and kindly around dogs. The resource includes an activity sheet and templates for puppets so that children can role-play a variety of scenarios involving dogs. There is a certificate to track children's learning and a poster that illustrates some key principles of dog safety.

Younger pupils will also enjoy the Dogs Trust Character Booklet, which contains illustrations for colouring in, cutting out, or using for a display.

For primary pupils, Dogs Trust has created a citizenship resource that explores issues of animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. Activities include describing a day in the life of a well-cared-for dog and identifying harmful behaviour towards dogs. The resource can be adapted for use with pupils aged 5-7 or 7-11 and includes links to the curricula of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For secondary pupils, the Dogs Trust citizenship resource uses peer-led learning to help groups of pupils to prepare and deliver an assembly, workshop or display about the work of Dogs Trust and the importance of responsible dog ownership. Other useful resources created by the charity include leaflets about staying safe around dogs and owning a dog, and a poster outlining the responsibilities of looking after a dog.

Take the lead with Batt and Zee is an online film created by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home for use in schools. It was commissioned in response to a worrying increase in the number of dog attacks in the UK and is aimed at five- to 11-year-olds – the age group most at risk of a dog attack. It includes information to help children better understand dogs so that they are not accidentally hurt or frightened by them.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has also created a selection of fun activities about safety around dogs. These include word searches, crosswords and colouring sheets suitable for pupils aged five to 11. There are also art activities – make fingerprint cats and dogs; drawing cats and dogs, recipes for dog and cat treats, and a quiz about safety around dogs. It covers topics such as: how you should approach a dog, what to do if you see a stray dog and how to tell if a dog is angry.

Article by  for The Guardian

Monday, 20 February 2012

Moving Abroad with your Dog

Moving abroad with your dog is a big decision for several reasons. For some, the need to move abroad is exactly that, a need, not a choice. For others it’s a lifestyle choice. For many, the whole idea of moving abroad is dedicated by domestic responsibilities such as dogs, family and work. In this guide we’ll go through the practicalities and considerations you’ll need to factor if you’re in the thinking or planning stages of moving to another country with your canine family members.

Not too long ago a London man was issued with a fixed penalty fine for illegally parking his car. The man in question became annoyed by this. So he emigrated. He had had enough of England, so he left. An over reaction you may think, but take into account that on that day, the man in question would have had a one in one hundred and twenty six chance of being mugged, he would have been breathing some of the poorest quality air in Europe, he could have been subject to council tax tantamount to over £6 a day, and he would have been subject to congestion charges for entering his home town by car, not to mention the ‘big freeze’ that brings our roads to a standstill each year.

To move or not to move; there are simple criteria to help with this decision. Do you want to live in a country that charges you twice to commute through Birmingham? Does the stress of relocation potentially outweigh the stress of staying? If no, you are a prime candidate for relocation.

So now we are left with those to whom relocation is a viable life choice. You people fall into two categories, those who are planning to move within the next eighteen months, and those who are reading this from a Spanish villa that cost the price of a Land Rover Discovery. To those of you planning to emigrate in the next year or so, don’t bother. Do it now or it will never happen. And don’t even think of using your pets as an excuse.

There are two things you should know right now. You can buy a large Italian country house for £40 thousand, and you can take your dogs without any fuss. So forget about a few months time, if you want it start doing it now.
If you already have an idea of where on Earth you want to live, you should consider some of the following in relation to your pets. If you have no idea, these may help you to narrow down the search.

Is the country similar in climate to Britain, or will I need to take steps to ensure my dog’s comfort on arrival? Most dogs will adapt without too much fuss, but a dog with a weight problem or even a skin problem could suffer if moved to Northern Australia, South Africa, or even Southern Spain. Consult your vet before you make any firm decisions regarding location if you are concerned about your pet.

Are dogs a welcome member of the community in the country I intend to move? Are you considering France where dogs are treated like children and are welcomed into nearly all public places, or is it Spain where stray dogs are considered vermin and pet dogs are cherished?

Are you moving to a place where your dog is safe or are there potential or hidden dangers? Some parts of Australia are home to the world’s most poisonous animals, we know this but our dogs don’t. Are there more specific problems such as your favoured property being on a steep hill or near a river? You will need to visit the property and surrounding area before even thinking about getting your wallet out.

You may want to get to the other side of the world as soon as possible, but what if you need to come home urgently. Can you get your pet home as quickly as you got him out there? Do you need to get him micro chipped? Is you new home served by an animal airline? You need to check these things out before moving.
You also need to be sure of what function your relocation will perform in your day-to-day life before you look at property. For example, are you going to be moving an existing business to a new location? Are you going to be starting up a new business? Will the property you seek be an investment property? Or are you looking for a new home? All of these factors can and will affect the relocation process.

The first thing you and your family need to settle on is which country best suits your needs. Once you have done this you should start thinking about area and property Once you and your family have settled on an area or town and are keen to acquire property, you really need to think very carefully about legal aspects regarding property acquisition. There are many, many different things that could catch out an unwitting buyer.
You need to take into account currency fluctuations between the time that you settle on a property and the time that you actually hand over the cash. In some cases you will experience discrepancies of as much as 2.5%.

Now is certainly the time to start seeking legal advice if you haven’t already. As with any property purchase it is essential that you have legal advice at all stages but this is even more crucial when dealing with foreign property laws. It is advisable to find a solicitor who is not only bi-lingual, but also conversant and familiar with property law relevant to the country in which you are thinking of living.

It is imperative to bear in mind that other countries, even those in the EU have very different laws regarding property and acquisition. France is a particularly prickly pair when it comes to buying property. The process can be disconcertingly complex and can easily lead to legal mix-ups.

For example, if after purchasing a property it is discovered that, prior to your acquisition of the property, planning regulations had been breached, you as the property owner are responsible for returning the property to its original state and for the cost of doing so. Also beware of getting too excited when viewing property.

An oral expression of intent is legally binding in France (even if you do it English), so refrain from saying or implying verbally anything until at least after the searches have been completed.

With regards to your pets, it is now a lot easier to relocate with dogs and cats in tow without quarantine. As long as your pets are up to date with immunisations and vaccinations, the pet travel scheme (PETS) allows pets to travel almost as freely as humans. Provided that certain regulations such as worming and micro chipping are in hand, free travel is no longer a problem for pets.

One thing it is important to understand is the amount of financial outlay involved in relocation.

Once you have exchanged contracts and readied your pets for travel, you will need to move yourself and your possessions. This is the stressful part; you can however ease the pain by following a few simple steps. It makes sense to have your belongings hauled out of the country before you leave. You can always borrow from friends when you are in this country but if you are arriving in a new country without your things, life will be a nightmare.

There are plenty of things you need to have in place ready for your arrival such as schooling, registration with doctors, employment, notification of authorities that you are a new citizen, registration with utilities firms and much more. It is strongly advised that you do seek professional help in order to ensure that your relocation runs as smoothly as possible.

Article and photo from K9 Magazine

Articles of interest -
Pet Friendly Manchester

Friday, 17 February 2012

Dogs are a woman's best friend too! Female pet owners more likely to meet recommended activity levels during pregnancy

Researchers have proved that dogs are an unlikely ally for pregnant women - showing that expecting mothers who own one are more physically active than those who don't. 
Joint research found that the pet commonly known as 'man's best friend' can be significant in keeping pregnant women fit and healthy.
Through brisk walking, an obvious side-effect of owning a dog, pregnant women were around 50 per cent more likely to achieve the recommended 30 minutes activity per day.

Pregnant paws: An international research team has found that dog walking is an effective way for pregnant women to achieve 30min of exercise a day
There is growing concern about the health risks connected to gaining excess weight during pregnancy, for both mother and child. Some studies have linked maternal obesity to childhood obesity.
The research studied the health and lifestyles of more than 11,000 pregnant women in the UK - using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
By helping pregnant women stay active, dog walking could form part of an effective strategy for managing weight gain during pregnancy.
Vested interest: Dr Sandra McCune, of the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, with her own best friend Winston

Dr Sandra McCune, research programme manager at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, said: 'We are increasingly seeing that exercising with a dog can lead to improved motivation and effectiveness.
'As a low-risk exercise, dog walking can help women who may otherwise find it hard to meet their exercise targets, keep active and fit during pregnancy. 
'Together with a balanced diet, it could therefore help towards ensuring a healthy pregnancy.'
The research was conducted in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, University of Bristol and University of South Carolina and theWaltham Centre.

Pet Friendly Hotels: A Word of Caution

I walked into a famous high street store on Oxford Street recently. As a visitor to our nation’s capital city I undertook to do all of the usual touristy things which included taking a stroll around this world-renowned shopping emporium, examining merchandise I could neither afford nor had any intention of purchasing. Truth be told, I only wanted to look at the price tags of the items for sale for my own sense of self-amusement, writes Julian Griffin.

Whilst coughing up a less than stifled choking sound when confronted with the price of a very ordinary pair of white cotton gloves, it occurred to me that my shopping experience was being closely observed by a rather anxious little man who seemed to have, if I may borrow a phrase from a recent TV commercial, ‘got my number’.

Although he didn’t actually ‘tut-tut’ out loud I could sense from his glare and arms-folded posture that he would rather I made a swift exit, never to return than continue to wretch at the expensive items on display. Fine, I thought. How was he to know that I wasn’t some eccentric Billionaire intent on relieving his shop of some £30,000 worth of daft hats and obscenely priced Bermuda shorts? I obliged and left sharply.

He knew all right. He probably had to deal with my type all the time and could spot a tyre-kicker a mile off. Later on, whilst taking more time than usual in trying to get value for money out of the most overpriced and ridiculously named cup of coffee in the world, I thought to myself; ‘fair enough’. I was never going to purchase anything, he knew it, I knew it and I was probably making the shop look untidy by having the audacity to be there in the first place. Yes, the effeminate shop assistant with the up-turned nose and rapidly receding hairline. (If you happen to be reading this, you know who you are) was quite reasonable in expecting me to vacate the store. After all, his £4.20 per hour wage should exempt him from having to stoop to the level of entertaining the likes of me, a non-paying, non-interesting, non-entity. Ahh, only in England could I make a defence for the actions of this horrid little man.

They say a smile goes a long way and costs nothing. It’s true. Try it today. Just give someone you don’t know a big ear to ear grin and see what happens.

Good customer service, like that smile, goes a long way too and costs nothing especially in the leisure, entertainment and tourism industry. Us Brits have to tolerate an awful lot of bad customer service. We are, in fact, famous for putting up with it all over the world. Fawlty Towers is funny until the day you actually have to experience that same level of customer service for real.

Hotels have a habit of seeking your custom by telling you how great they are and what extra features they offer over and above their competition in order to encourage a booking from you. Most of us have stayed in hotels good and bad but I’ll let you in on something about the industry that may surprise you. Not all hotels, no matter how smart, plush or basic they may be in terms of bricks and mortar or additional facilities do NOT always offer good customer service. Shocking I know.

As the owner of two well-behaved, non-toxic, non-plague bearing, non-rabid dogs I tend to feel a certain compulsion to take them out and about with me whenever the chance arises to do so. They enjoy it that I do this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those infernally annoying dog owners who forces my dogs on other people or allows them to jump all over you and then give you a lecture about how they won’t hurt you or do you any (serious) harm despite your obvious state of fear and discomfort (come on people, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about here). No, I’m just a normal bloke who likes the company of his dogs and the enjoyment of making them happy by loading them into the car to come with me whenever possible.
This applies to holidays too. I don’t use boarding kennels. Absolutely nothing against them at all, they’re just not for me. I like my dogs to experience the joys of a short break from the usual routine, see new places and dig holes in new ground where holes had previously never been dug. I like my dogs to have the same sense of relaxation as I do and to come home feeling they have had a new experience in a new place, met new people and left lots of new holes in new locations.

I’m not a ‘campsite or caravan’ person. As with boarding kennels, nothing against them I just prefer bricks and mortar surrounding me when the rain starts to lash. This means whenever I go away I have to find a pet friendly hotel, bed and breakfast or similar accommodation. Luckily for me with the Internet and all the publications filled with pet friendly accommodation I can go anywhere I like and take my dogs too.
The problem I have, and it is a BIG problem, is that far too many of the hotels and other accommodation providers that describe themselves as pet friendly are, when it really comes down to it, completely un-friendly towards pets. A contradiction in terms you might think so let me put it another way.
What some establishments mean when they describe themselves as ‘pet friendly’ I prefer to translate as ‘pet tolerant’. In other words they accept pets under duress but when you turn up in reception with your bright-eyed, ready to relax pair of Labradors, the receptionist may not throw you out but she should be perfectly entitled to serve you last, make you wait away from proper customers, scowl at you, hold her nose, make a big fuss about any extra cleaning coming off your bill, give you a list of places where you ‘may not bring those in’, warn you about bothering other guests, advise you about basic hygiene issues and pretty much make you feel like a second class citizen carrying the bubonic plague rather than a couple of genuinely well-balanced companion animals.

I have a strong message to any establishments who describe themselves as pet friendly when they actually mean pet tolerant. Don’t. I mean it. I am on a personal crusade to un-cover businesses who are infringing on the trade descriptions act by using the words friendly and pets in the same sentence in order to convince would-be customers that you are actually friendly towards people who stay with pets.

I am not a disease carrier, a second-class citizen, a menace to public order or in fact public health – I am a dog owner. My dogs live in my house with my family and they fit into society perfectly well, some would say they add to it.

Either live up to the description of pet friendly or don’t allow pets at all. I don’t have a problem with banning pets anywhere, it’s a free country and I respect that. But hotel owners, be warned, I am, for the next 12 months, going to be travelling the length and breadth of these Great British Isles and I will be bringing my dogs if your literature tells me I can do so. I am expecting a FRIENDLY welcome and so are my dogs.
Through the pages of K9 Magazine I will bring news of the good, bad and indifferent establishments who describe themselves as pet friendly in order that the millions (yes, millions) of people just like me can enjoy stays at hotels free from the stigma of feeling they’ve done something wrong by simply involving their extended family of the four legged variety to experience the delights of a genuine family holiday in an establishment described as pet friendly.

Hoteliers. You have been warned. If you call yourself pet friendly, make sure that you genuinely are.

Article and photo taken from K9 Magazine

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Deals of the Week

Deals of the Week
An addition has been added onto our Deals of the Week...  The ever popular Doggles ILS, in Racing Flame flavour, a necessity for the "cool".

Doggles are the first and only eye wear made especially just for dogs!  With 12 years experience, these Doggles interchangeable lens (ILS) -

                                              Get your Doggles ILS Racing Flame now

Doggles ILS Racing Flame

  • will allow you to change the colour or just replace the lens if scratched or worn out 
  • have a deep lens cut
  • wide nose bridge
  • padded & flexible rubber frame
  • soft elastic & adjustable head & chin straps
  • anti-fog
  • shatterproof
  • 100% UV protection.    
So what are you waiting for, get yours now - cause your best friend's worth it! 

"What u looking at?!"

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Deals of the Week

Deals of the Week

New products added to Scruff's Deals of the Week.  When shopping at Scruff MacDuff don't forget to check out the "Offers and discounts" page to see if you can get more discounts!  

If you haven't heard yet, you could win a West Paw jacket by entering Scruff's competition.  Details can be found in the "Competition zone" page.  

Vibram K9 Stick with Rope
Vibram K9 rope

Have fun with this Vibram® Stick, made by My Good Dog in the USA, from natural rubber (nitrosamine free) for durability and toughness. Vibram is used in the manufacture of quality walking boots and athletic shoes. This toys is extremely tough, yet soft & flexible in your dog's mouth.  

A great toy for chewing, tugging, fetching and rewarding, get your K9 stick now!


Like humans, dogs also suffer from the consequences of growing old i.e. arthritis, aches and pains, stiffness etc.  But dogs need not suffer alone as magnetic therapy has arrived for dogs as well.  Using the same method to help humans, magnetic therapy uses the field of magnets to ease pain.  

Magnetic Dog Collar
This magnetic dog collar is made from a highly durable poly-cotton material, which means that it is suitable for use with a lead.  And contains a magnetic strip (300 gauss in strength) which is north towards the dog's body.  

This Magnetic Dog collar will not effect security chips, is drug free and non invasive healthcare product, recommended for aged pets, and those suffering from rheumatic or arthritic disorders.  What's more, it's guaranteed by Scruff for 12months!  

West Paw jacket

(Sky Blue) 

Just as the name suggests, this jacket is perfect for those shower burst & misty days!  What's more the West Paw Cloudburst Jacket is also eco-conscious as it's made from 100% recycled polyester fabric, is light & comfortable to wear, & is easily cleaned as it's machine washable (cold).  

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dog amused as he watches table tennis

Funny dog watching table tennis

Time to get your dog some brain training toys? 

Nina Ottosen's Dog Magic Game
Scruff offer a selection of dog brain train games. 

When shopping at Scruff MacDuff don't forget to check out the offers and discounts page on this blog before checking out of the shop, you could add some extra discounts!!! 

Monday, 6 February 2012

TreT in Russia

TreT returns to action but this time in Russia! 

TreT is sponsored by Scruff MacDuff. 

TreT is Scruff's Parkour dog friend from Ukraine.  TreT has great agile skills, and your able to watch him tackling different obstacles in a series of TreT videos which can be found on Scruff MacDuff's Youtube channel!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Pet Friendly Manchester with Kate Lawler

Welcome to the next instalment of our pet friendly travel feature with the lovely Kate Lawler and her two dogs, Baxter and Kevin. Over the next few issues we will be taking Kate, Baxter and Kevin on a tour of different pet friendly hotels and areas across the UK. This issue we travel to Manchester!

Meet Kate…
I’m on a mission to find the best Dog Friendly accommodation in Great Britain.
So far my travels have taken me to Brighton and Essex. The next stop is Manchester. I love this city, for many reasons. It has great restaurants, wonderful night life, but most of all the people are lovely. The journey with my boyfriend and two beloved pet pooches, Baxter and Kevin began in Birmingham.

We had a stress-free 90 minute journey and arrived in Manchester around 2pm on Saturday afternoon. We decided to head straight to Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, a suburban area of Manchester before heading onto The Malmaison Hotel where we were to enjoy our pet friendly stay.

Chorlton is about 4 miles from the city centre and takes around 11 minutes by car to get to from Manchester Piccadilly Train Station. After spending 4 hours there I’m completely in love with Chorlton.

We ate in The Horse & Jockey Inn, a dog-friendly pub that serves the most delicious roast pork, stuffing and apple sauce baked french bread with home-made french fries! I wanted another… The pub staff welcomed Baxter and Kevin with open arms, gave the doggies lots of fuss, and treats! They even served ‘Dog Beer’ behind the bar which I found hilarious. The dogs drank all of it! We then went for a walk in the meadows where we met my friend Amy and the dog she rescued 4 months ago.

His name is Lebowski. Baxter, Kevin and Bowski ran and played for a good hour on the meadows then Amy walked us all to a new Pet Boutique that had opened not far from The Horse & Jockey Inn. The boutique was called Betty & Butch and opened in November 2011. It was fabulous. I bought Kevin a new really good quality coat for just £14.99, he looked so smart when I tried it on him. After shopping for dog coats, sprays and treats we walked to The Parlour, another dog-friendly pub. It was gorgeous inside. Apparently they serve award-winning Sunday Lunches but unfortunately we couldn’t go back on the Sunday as we had to get back to Birmingham. We enjoyed a nice glass of wine and met lots of people in the pub with their dogs too.

We arrived at The Malmaison Hotel, about 6:30pm and for those who have never been, I can only describe it as a luxury boutique gem! The moment we arrived, the staff were happy and helpful. In our room, we had a living area section, as well as the bedroom area and a gorgeous modern bathroom. Out in the living area, next to the L-Shaped Sofa, were two doggy beds, bowls and treats for Baxter and Kevin. We dined downstairs around 8pm in the ‘Smoak Bar & Grill’ which is the hotels superb restaurant. The service was 10 out of 10.

The staff were extremely well mannered and well informed. The food was better than some five star restaurants I’ve eaten in. We had a really enjoyable meal, the restaurant was very busy with a really cool vibe and situated next to it was a bar with people enjoying drinks before and after their meals. We headed straight to bed after dinner and had the most amazing night sleep. The bed was HUGE and really comfortable. Having black-out curtains meant we slept for almost 9 hours (a long time for Adam my boyfriend and I).

The next morning we were up, showered and out of the hotel by 11am, not before a delicious and mouth-watering breakfast though. A wide range of choices at Breakfast is what makes a hotel stay super enjoyable for me and The Malmaison makes sure that every area is covered. If you’re trying to be healthy, you’ve fresh fruits, yoghurts, cereals and juices to choose from. For those who like to indulge on carbs (like myself) there are croissants, muffins and danish pastries aplenty! I chose Porridge from the menu with honey and I ate every mouthful. We shared a croissant, a blueberry muffin and Adam my partner had an omelette too. Inevitably we both got food envy when the couple next to us were handed a full english breakfast and eggs benedict! I know for next time to order something a little more hearty.

Everything about The Malmaison I love and so I’d give it a 9 out of 10. The only reason I didn’t give it 10 out of 10 is because we were put on the 3rd floor, and whenever we wanted to take Baxter and Kevin out for ‘pee pees & poo poo’s’ we had to go down in a lift and then once we were outside, it was city centre as you would imagine i.e. concrete pavements and roads, traffic and lack of parks. Having nowhere to let the boys off their leads or go do their business (Baxter will only go on grass!) was a bit of a hindrance. Maybe if the Malmaison had a small patio or garden area within the hotel grounds it would have been nice for the doggies to go out and have a sniff, a wee, and a walk around with the leads on.

Other than that our stay was wonderful and the doggies had an amazing time too. I was shocked to discover that a city centre boutique hotel like The Malmaison was pet friendly. I doubt a lot of people knew this either but if you’re planning on going to Manchester and you can’t bare to be apart from your four legged friend, then head to The Malmaison and they can enjoy the trip too!

See you next time…..

Article by Kate Lawler for K9 Magazine

Scruff MacDuff recommends the Clix car safe harness for safe car travel with your dog(s) - 

Other articles of interest:

Pet Friendly Brighton with Kate Lawler
Pet Friendly Hertfordshire with Kate Lawler