Following a leap in demand for pet-friendly travel, Embrace Scotland, has launched a 'Pets Welcome Charter', to make it easier for guests, holidaying with their beloved furry friends, to find the purrfect property.

The move comes after the leading Scottish holiday home provider saw a 35 per cent increase in bookings from guests with pets at its more than 3,000 self-catering properties, in the past five years.

Similarly, VisitScotland research shows that 30 per cent of holiday-makers base their holiday around how suitable a destination is for their pet, and 72 per cent of dog owners say they would take more holidays in the UK if attitudes towards their canine companions improved. VisitScotland also reports that there are 95 per cent more searches for 'pet-friendly' holidays on its website than there are for 'romantic' getaways.

There are an estimated 12 million households (46 per cent of all UK households) in the UK who have one or more pets and, of this, there are an estimated 8.5 million dogs. In addition to the heartache of leaving a pet behind to go on holiday, there’s the expense to consider, with kennel costs averaging £140 per week.

Embrace Scotland’s 'Pets Welcome Charter' sets out a range of standards that the holiday homes in its collection must meet in order to be classified as 'pet-friendly', and to celebrate those that really go the extra mile for their four-legged guests, Embrace Scotland has also launched a 'Paws for a Break Awards'.

“We’re delighted to be launching both the Pets Welcome Charter and our very first pet-friendly awards,” says Fiona Campbell, chief executive of Embrace Scotland and The Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers.

“Many of our holiday homes provide a hugely warm welcome to guests with furry friends and we want pet-owners to be more aware of what’s available to them – from dog-sun-loungers and dog first-aid kits, to important local information such as pet stores, vets, dog-friendly walking trails and cafes that accept canine companions. And it’s not just dogs that we cater for – many of our holiday homes welcome cats, horses, parrots, rabbits, hamsters and even the odd owl too!”

Embrace Scotland holiday homes that qualify as “pet-friendly” under the new charter, all provide a water bowl, suitable disposal equipment (poop bags), details of suggested local dogs walks, contact details and directions to a local pet shop and vet, pointers to suitable exercise areas nearby and details of the local pubs and restaurants, where pets are accepted.

Many properties also provide towels for drying off wet dogs, food bowls, blankets, dog tags, a lead, a dog walking service, day kennels, treats and dog grooming. Holidaymakers can identify the properties that are pet-friendly by ticking the “pets welcome” box in the search function on the website and, under the new charter, holiday homes will display an ASSC Pets Welcome Charter logo to make them simple to spot.

The Paws for a Break Awards launched in September to celebrate those properties that go above and beyond to cater for man’s best friend. Holidaymakers wishing to nominate can do so by going to: