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Your ultimate guide to pet-friendly fun

The last estimate was that there are nine million dogs and seven million cats accounted for as pets in South Africa. This is to say that roughly one out of every three South Africans has a pet (cats and dogs).

For many these pets are family, loved and adored like any other household member. No surprises then that pet owners are increasingly demanding accommodation, restaurants, getaways and even beaches and parks that are pet-friendly.

When it comes to where you rent or buy your first line of defense as a pet owner is to ask outright what the complex or estate’s pet policy is. Do not just assume that your pet will be allowed because the property listing did not state “No Pets” and when living in a pet-friendly complex remember to be courteous to your neighbours. Clean up after your pets and minimise noise and other nuisances caused by your pets.

What can pet owners do to address the growing problem of over-full shelters?

As for the rest, Google is your friend; your beloved pet never needs to stay home again.

FeastDog at cafe

EatOut’s  101 dog-friendly restaurants lists the eateries where your pet is welcome by city or area (Jo’burg, Pretoria, Durban and surrounds, Cape Town and Winelands and surrounds). The great thing about this list is that it not only ensures you, and your dog, will be welcomed it also leaves you with no doubt of what to expect:  Leash at all time? Water bowls available? These are all things that are important to know before venturing out with your best friend for lunch.

PlayDogs on beach

The friendly people over at Love Cape Town has gone through the trouble of setting up a list with all the dog-friendly beaches in the Mother City. Some are doggy beaches, others are only open to dogs during certain time periods while others beaches should be avoided as they are not pet friendly. When looking at the list don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom and remind yourself of the beach etiquette for pet owners.

Eden on the bay is a pet-friendly mall! Imagine that, now your favourite can go grocery shopping with you, watch you try on new shoes (for walking the dog of course) and then have a quick bite to eat with you.

ExploreDog in car

Whether you are planning a two-week annual family holiday or trying to organise an impulsive weekend escape, Pet-Friendly.Info is a very handy resource to find and book your accommodation. The site provides you with listing of available pet-friendly accommodation across South Africa as well as clearly stating the requirements and expectations before you even book a stay.

How to pick your pet sitter for those times a pet-friendly holiday is just not possible

Budget Getaways is an excellent option for Capetonians looking for a pet-friendly weekend getaway. The site lists accommodation options all within 500 kms of Cape Town with your detailed filters applied; what you’re looking to spend, whether it needs to be ideal for kids or a romantic getaway, close to water or not, and then, of course, whether the place is pet-friendly or not.

Go mobileCouple taking selfie with dog

The mobile app DoggyDo helps you find dog-friendly restaurants, parks, shops, accommodation, events, puppy training, trails, vets, animal shelters and more. It has over 700 dog-friendly listings and growing daily, making it a definite gem when you need to find a dog-friendly solution fast!

Email mariette@hometimes.co.za if you want to review pet-friendly services you’ve used or if you are a pet-friendly service and you’d like to wag some tail


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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