OPINION - Make London a paradise for our pets: every business should welcome dogs

I’m not being funny but… I’ve got to bark on about dog friendliness in London. As we have rolled into Pet Month, today’s piece is going to be all about bigging up the amazing places you can take your dogs in London. No disses, just a big round of applause.

London is the dog friendliest it’s yet been, and while it has a long way to go to catch up with other major cities, it’s great to see the progress. With more pets than probably ever before, we need to shape a society where everyone feels safe and integrated, including our animals.

As we remember a dog isn’t just a dog, it’s practically a family member for most of us, eating together is one of the basic pleasures we can enjoy. If you wanted to splash out a bit you can head to one of my favourite spots: Colbert in Sloane Square greets your dog with their very own dog biscuits.

The Nest at Treehouse Hotel, near Oxford Circus, allows you to take in stunning views of London while your dog gets given their own blanket and treats. The Maine and the new Dovetale by Tom Sellers in Mayfair have got to be the most exciting dog-friendly places when it comes to the quality of food. Same with the Michelin-starred Pied à Terre. Absolutely exquisite. Do you want a more personalised experience? The Love My Human cafe has a menu made for you and your dog, so that you can basically eat the same thing. That might seem a little much, but it’s a fun experience every now and then and you can order your dog’s birthday cake there too.

London is the dog friendliest it’s yet been and while it still has to catch up to other cities, the progress is great

The Drake & Morgan group of restaurants is entirely dog-friendly and has some wonderful, well-priced locations throughout London.

For 24-hour snacking? Balans on Old Compton Street is legendary — although I’d avoid taking my pooch on 4am walkies in Soho! My local in Pimlico? The Artist Residence, always. It welcomes dogs with open arms.

Are you staying in the city for the weekend? There are so many wonderful hotels that you can stay at. Mama Shelter in Shoreditch is a stylish, affordable, super dog-friendly stay that can do no wrong.

Are your pals visiting from out of town a little on the pretentious side? I was pleasantly surprised to find out The Athenaeum and The Lanesborough hotels have packages that make your dog and even your cat feel just as welcome as you. How about doing something different? Surrey Docks Farm allows well-behaved dogs for a fun family day out. I’ve never golfed a day in my life, but apparently a number of great courses allow dogs too.

You can even sail down Regent’s Canal on a picnic boat. There are so many activities where we can enjoy our dog’s company this summer and I can’t wait to try them out.

How do we get around London? Most of you will already know this but TfL is one of the world’s most pet friendly public transport systems. While Ubers might be hit-and-miss when it comes to journeys with your pets, the vast majority of black cabs will happily pick you up to take you to your destination.

An article I wrote many months ago got picked up and saw businesses including Selfridges change their policy to make the space dog-friendly and it’s great to see this shift continue.

While there’s still work to do, it’s great to admire that there are some businesses that aren’t just dog-friendly, they’re dog lovers through and through.

The one thing that I wish could be a little more simple is travel. I shape my schedule in order to not leave Reenie on her own, but it would be so much better to take her with me on the longer stays.

Since leaving the EU, it’s become very difficult to travel with your animal and the amount of paperwork required is a pain in the arse. A lot of airlines don’t take animals anymore, whether it’s in hold or cabin. That’s a big shame and miles behind US airlines.

But hey… one step at a time. To all the businesses out there that open arms to our four-legged friends — a big round of applause from me. See you next Wednesday.

Track Of The Week: Love Come Down (Nudisco Clubmix) — Block & Crown, All About Islands

Fat Tony is a DJ and bestselling author