Are you moving to London with your pet? Brilliant! Your furry companion will be most welcome, because the British just love dogs and cats. But here’s the thing: good manners matter to the British, and that includes petiquette. So your dog or cat will be expected to put his best paw forward.
The British love the outdoors, so if your pet is a dog, you’ll find endless places to go for walks and hikes to take in the air and enjoy splendid views. Beautiful diversity of countryside from the Scottish moors to the White Cliffs of Dover. Of course, there’s plenty of sophisticated urban excitement, too. Wherever you move or visit in the British Isles, it’s not hard to find pet-friendly accommodation.
But finding a hotel to rest for a few nights with your pet is not the same as finding a place to live. You’ll want to nail that down before you leave. Popular as pets are in Britain, not every landlord accepts them. And we know you’ll want to be known as a great neighbor. Our article on finding dog-friendly housing in London will help.
What will help the most? Making sure you know the British rules of petiquette.
Professional dog trainer Kama Brown says British canines are better behaved than their American cousins. She believes that’s because Americans encourage exuberance in their dogs, whereas puppies in Europe and the UK are brought up to behave more like service dogs – calm, quiet, above the fray when it comes to the distracting world around them.
For instance, she says people in the UK are not likely to randomly approach your dog on the street to pet him. Nor are their pets likely to approach yours. Keep that in mind, because you’ll want to emulate that “mind your own business” behavior when you and your pooch are out in public.
With all that good behavior, it’s no wonder pets are accepted in more public places in the UK than you might find in the US. Just as an example, when you visit Stonehenge (you really must visit Stonehenge!), your dog may join you in the museum. What dog doesn’t like to take in a bit of ancient history?
And while you’re in London (practicing your best petiquette), you may want to visit a pet café. Do note that you’ll find pet cafés that welcome your kitty (or feature felines of their own) in London as well as other towns throughout the UK.
Universal truths about petiquette
As a pet parent, there are certain aspects to good manners that remain the same no matter where you live or travel. Your pet is expected to be clean and quiet, at home and out in public. That means no growling or barking. It means a leash that’s short enough for you to retain total control. And it means you need to be armed with poop bags for emergencies.
Beyond good manners, it’s important to observe local rules about licensing for cats and dogs.
Mind your own manners, too
Just because English is the official language of the United Kingdom doesn’t mean everything there is the same as it is in the US. Differences can be literal – Brits and Americans use different words for many common items. But social customs differ, too.
This is especially true if you are headed to Scotland, Ireland, or Wales. These countries are part of the United Kingdom, but they have their own unique language and social customs. Here’s a good list of things you should know while visiting anywhere in Britain. And since you’ll probably be spending time in London, even if you’re moving to some other part of the British Isles, Lonely Planet offers this advice about do’s and don’ts in London.
As a foreigner, you’re allowed to make some mistakes. But learning what’s what with local etiquette and petiquette before you go will earn you “4 paws up” when you get to the UK.