Let’s talk about something we all know about, we all hate, but we all have to put up with.
The dog tax.
What is the dog tax?
Put simply, this is what we call it when you, as a dog owner, are charged extra for simply having a dog. You will probably have experienced this before if you stay in a dog “friendly” hotel, except it’s not that friendly as they will likely want to charge you an extra £10 per dog per night - sometimes more - just for the pleasure of taking your business to them.
It’s hard to justify this charge. We walk, feed and pick-up after our dogs, we even bring their bedding! Dogs aren’t going to be swigging mugs of weak tea with manky tubs of UHT milk, are they? Or spending hours basking in the glorious power shower with questionable full-body shower gel, surely? I mean, this extra charge can’t be because they’ll be calling up room service at 4am for some liver cake and a dog chew, right?
No, the most common reason, we are told, is that it is for all the extra cleaning that dogs bring with them. On the surface, this might sound fair - dogs do tend to be pretty hairy after all. But think this through - how much more work is it to vacuum a floor with dog hair than one without?
How much more work to polish a desk in a room that had a dog, compared to one that didn’t? Even if the dogs are allowed on the bed, I would still expect the covers to be washed to the same standard than if it were just humans using it before the next visitors arrive.
It takes no more work, and that’s our issue here. We don’t object to a doggy deposit, where you pay a reasonable returnable fee for any chew damage or copious mud shakes all over the walls. That’s only fair that if your dog causes damage, you pay for it. If your dog causes no damage, what is there to pay for? Are hotels really giving your room an extra £10 per dog-worth of cleaning each day?
We don’t get on many holidays any more, and that’s by choice. When we do go away however, we are selective about where we stay. We won’t pay extra to have our two stay with us - that, to our mind, is a dog tolerant hotel, not a dog friendly one.
If we were to stay somewhere for a week with our two, that’s an extra £140 we’d have to stump up. Now really, does it cost any hotel or B&B an extra £140 a week to clean up after two little well behaved dogs?
We object to this dog tax, and we think you should too by refusing to pay any extra for your dogs. Offer to make a refundable deposit instead - that’s much more fair.
By taking your business elsewhere to somewhere that truly welcomes dogs deserves your custom, we believe your stay will be made all the better for it. Just because we own and love dogs doesn’t mean we should be taxed for it.
And if you think that's bad...
These days, we tend to nip away for a couple of nights in our wonderful little caravan. Beautiful surroundings, peaceful countryside, starry nights in beautiful Scotland. Surely there can be no additional dog taxes here, right?
Well, obviously, wrong. Some sites, beleive it or not, do charge extra to take dogs with you in your own caravan. I mean...what? In what world does having a dog in your own caravan cost the campsite any more? As responsible dog owners - as we all should be and, if you are reading this, probably are - we pick up after our dogs and nobody would ever know they were there.
Why do some campsites charge extra? Well, you'll have to ask them and whilst we don't want to publicly shame anyone for this, the next time you come across this charge at a campsite why not ask them what it's for? It might make them think twice.
Technology Dog Taxes
It’s not just in holiday accommodation that we see such dog taxes arise.
Take, for example, the security cameras we use here at Happy Home Dog Boarding. They are from Motorola, and don’t get us wrong, they are very good and let us keep an eye on the dogs at night or when we pop out, but have a look at these, both taken from the UK Motorola website.
Spot the difference:
These two cameras are, other than their colour, completely identical in size, shape and function. Completely. Identical. So why would the one on the left cost more than the one on the right?
The dog tax, that’s why.
The Motorola Scout 85 is promoted as a pet cam, to keep an eye on your furry pals when you’re not around. As it says, it is to "...keep an eye on your pet". At time of writing, it costs £95 at Pets At Home and £95 at fetch.co.uk and £89.99 on Amazon (when not on sale, as it fortunately is now).
Compare this to the functionally identical Motorola Focus 85, available for £59.99 on Amazon, £79.99 at Argos and £79.99 from Maplin and marketed as a general household security camera, to "...keep an eye on your home".
Again, let me repeat - the only differences between them is the colour, and the fact the more expensive Scout is targeted towards pet owners. Seems a bit dodgy, right?
No more stealthy taxes for dog owners!
The worry is that the dog tax is a stealthy tax, where we don’t even realise we’re paying more than we should or, in the case of hotels, may not be able to refuse if it’s the only place available.
We’re fed up of being taken advantage of. We’ll happy pay more for a premium service, but businesses please - don’t try to fleece us for a few extra pounds. We’re onto you, and if there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s don’t upset dog owners!
We’d really love to hear any instances where you felt you have been taken advantage of, just because you own a dog. Let us know below, or over on our Facebook page.
And remember, if all else fails and you can't take your dog away with you...well...not to blow our own trumpet, but we do know two pretty awesome home dog boarders you could use. Yes, we're talking about ourselves.