Dog-friendly service station

I will shortly be travelling solo with my little Cockapoo for the first time driving from Dorset to Cornwall and I am apprehensive about toilet breaks. I have, therefore, started to look online for service stations which are dog-friendly which will allow both Ellie and I toilet breaks and a much-needed coffee. Ellie doesn’t drink coffee unless it is a puppachino and it is doubtful that these are provided at a UK service station!  To my horror, I discovered very little information online and only one service station. The Hog and Hedge in Okehampton, which my husband and I stumbled upon last year when travelling down to Cornwall.

I also found an article written by Moto Service Station, stressing the importance of keeping your dog safe, but with no information or mention of people travelling solo with your dog! The article states that you should and I quote, ‘tie them up in a safe place to a secure fixture’ outside!  It is a well-known fact that dog theft is spiralling throughout the UK, while evidence shows that over 2000 incidents were reported to the police last year, so an article of this nature is both irresponsible and downright dangerous!

It takes but seconds to steal a dog, let alone the time it takes for someone to find a toilet and return to your car.  Ellie is extremely bonded to me and leaving her outside would cause her extreme stress, which could lead to aggressive behaviour should anyone approach and under no circumstances would I ever leave her unsupervised.  

Toilet breaks for a solo traveller

This brings me back to my original dilemma when travelling solo, what to do when taking a toilet break!  Ellie has a cool mat, ideal in hot weather, fresh water, and a nice comfortable bed. She is harnessed safely for our three-and-a-half-hour journey.  and there is usually ample green space for her toilet breaks outside of service stations, but WHY is there no consideration for dog owners who are travelling solo?

Poo bags are definitely out of the question, and I think if squatting on a patch of grass would be deemed indecent exposure and I would be hauled in front of the magistrate before I had a chance to pull up my knickers! Neither would I leave my dog in the car, for the reason I explained earlier.

A spokesperson for Roadchef told The Independent that it does not allow dogs due to hygiene and safety risks.  The exceptions are small dogs who are in carriers, so isn’t it about time that all service stations started thinking about solo travellers with their dogs and arranging for a safe space where we can go to relieve ourselves with our dogs and at least grab a coffee?  In Dorset where I live and Cornwall my travel destination, there are more cafes and pubs that allow dogs, than those that don’t, so what makes the service station food any different to theirs?

Check out more tips here travelling with your dogs in a motorhome and can you take your dogs to Center Parcs and best places to visit as a family with a dog in lincolnshire

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