The awards will recognise the pubs that go above and beyond to accommodate dogs, as well as aiming to encourage other pubs to up their game.
DogBuddy runs an app and website connecting dog owners with nearby trusted dog sitters.
An inaugural Doggy ‘Think Tank’ marked the launch of the awards, with dogs testing different elements of a dog-friendly pub, at the Woolpack, Bermondsey St, south London.
Dogs played with five different stations testing treats, dog beds, doggy bears, dog bowls, and toys.
Richard Setterwall, chief executive and founder of DogBuddy, told The Morning Advertiser (MA): "We started the Dog-friendly Pub Awards because there are a lot of pubs that say they are dog friendly and then you bring the dog and there's no extra to it; there's no real space for the dog to run around.”
"To be dog friendly is just a little bit extra effort."
He added: “Not only will the awards show some well-deserved appreciation of existing dog-friendly establishments, but they also aim to promote dog-friendly values across all pubs nationwide, inspiring dog owners in the UK to discover and visit their local pubs.”
Good for business
Last year’s winners, the Fox & Hounds in Theale, Reading, Berkshire, went the extra mile by raising money for animal charities and even greeting pets before humans.
Gareth Griffiths, licensee at the Woolpack, told MA that being dog-friendly was a “no brainer” as it was beneficial for business and the community.
He said: "So many local residents have dogs and love to go out to drink and have a bite to eat. We accommodate for that.
“We have an amazing beer garden for dogs to roam around. It brings people into the doors and brings people together, they can have a chat and the dogs do what they want in the garden.”
“They would have gone somewhere else otherwise.”
Woolpack regular and dog owner Marianne said "dog friendliness as opposed to dog tolerance" was hugely important to her.
She said: "People who are welcoming, who won't object to me putting the dog on my lap. That makes it feel so much more inclusive.
"Any acknowledgement of dogs, such as doggy treats, even if they're just for sale, will always be a draw.
"We've been in many pubs where we've been told it is not dog friendly at all and they are not allowed to enter the premises, which is sad."
For every vote cast in the awards, the company will donate 50p to the RSPCA for their work rescuing and re-homing dogs.
Lisa Hens, senior scientific officer at the charity and awards judge, said: “It’s great to see establishments considering the needs of the dogs that might visit them and the Dog-friendly Pub Awards is a brilliant way to recognise this.
“While letting dogs decide what they want from a pub in the ‘Think Tank’ is all just a bit of fun, it is important to consider the well-being of dogs in a busy, sometimes crowded, environment such as a pub, and to ensure that all their needs are catered for while there.”
Voting for the awards will open this Sunday (26 August), to coincide with National Dog Day and will close 28 October. The winners from 12 regional categories will be announced 9 November.
You can vote for your favourite dog-friendly pub at dogbuddypubs.com.