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Stay in pet-friendly hotels with your well-behaved pooch
IMG: Pets
Who let the pets out?
Affordable vacations for pet owners and their “best friends”
By Adam Hunter
    July 30 —  Boarding a pet while you go on vacation ain’t kibbles and bits. A good kennel can cost upwards of $20/day; if you prefer to have a sitter visit your home it can come to a whopping $90/day. So, many pet owners are doing something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago: taking Fido with them when they vacation.  

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       MOST HOTELS still do not accept pets, but there’s a growing segment of the travel industry actively courting pet owners with special rooms, facilities and even tours for animals and their masters. Finding these specialized lodgings and programs has never been easy, but recently a spate of pet-centric websites have emerged, some of which can be quite useful.
       Pets welcome is the web’s largest resource for pet friendly travel, and it’s absolutely free. An informative site with a strange sense of humor (the “management” link reveals those in charge of the site to be dogs and cats who, among other things, are upset peeves are called “pet peeves”), it lists 25,000 pet friendly hotels, B&B’s, campgrounds, and beaches in the US, Canada, France, and Great Britain. You didn’t know dogs can shop in Paragon Sports in New York City? Or get served food in a doggie dish at the Empire Diner? PetsWelcome lists these and other pet-friendly department stores and restaurants. Does Mr. Bigglesworth, Orson, or Bobo want to share a cultural experience with their owner? The Boston Pops and a baseball game in Chicago are just two of the events listed. Online booking for many hotels is available, and claims to provide discounted rates.
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       This next site lists 6,000 accommodations around the globe that are pet-friendly; and it provides more international listings than PetsWelcome (want to go to Ireland with your Irish setter? No problem, there are three hotels listed there where pets stay at no charge). Travel Pets also offers a free newsletter that contains travel tips and pet travel ideas. Pet owners booking online receive a discounted Internet booking rate through, which sometimes (but not all the time) saves money.

       Run by Dawbert Press, the publisher of “Pets on the Go Travel Guides” (’s #1 Best-selling Pet Travel Guide), Pets on the Go lists 18,000 pet-friendly B&Bs, inns, motels, hotels and resorts. Advice, travel tips, pet-events and tours are archived. There is a membership available for $14.95 a year, but most parts of the site are accessible to non-members. Members receive “enhanced” features on the site (access to some more articles and information) and discounts up to 50 percent off accommodations, rental cars, and pet products.
Image: Budget Travel Today

       Our final site only lists lodgings, but differs from the rest in offering private homes and apartments for rent. There is also an emphasis on bed and breakfast accommodations. Sometimes these more private, personal lodgings may be more comfortable for pets not used to travel.
       No matter what site you use, always check directly with the “pet-friendly” place you select, in order to make sure the pet policy hasn’t changed (Toto doesn’t like getting rejected at the door).
       But what about a trip geared toward dogs, the pet most often traveled with (according to the ASPCA) and one of the hardest to travel with. We’ve found two companies geared toward active trips for both dog owners and their best friends:
“We like to share the company of people who don’t apologize for letting their dogs run around and play”
Co-Founder and Guide, Dog Paddling Adventures
       Dog Paddling Adventures (, 416/992-2216). Based in Ontario, Canada, Dog Paddling Adventures has been featured on the Learning Channel and BBC radio for organizing one, two and three day weekend “adventures” for dogs and their owners canoeing on lakes and rivers in and around Ontario’s wilderness. It also has 4-7 day customizable boating trips. A guide who has first aid certification and advanced wilderness training leads every adventure. And Dog Paddling Adventures promises a barking good time for frisky friends. “We like to share the company of people who don’t apologize for letting their dogs run around and play,” said Eren Howell, who founded the company with his wife Kathryn and their husky-mix Jesse and is also one of the group’s guides.
       Each adventure is fully outfitted with all the supplies you’ll need, including tents. The cost: Around $100 dollars a day per person (dogs are included in the price). In winter, dogs and their owners can go skijoring (a combo of cross-country skiing with dogsledding) and, in the fall and spring months, they can hike on nature trails in various provincial parks. Winter and fall accommodations include a three-bedroom log cabin with a shared bath and kitchen. There are also several pet-friendly lodgings nearby.
       Rovin’ With Rover (, 888/757-4584) This small tour operator, based in Ohio, focuses on day trips but has also conducted tours to destinations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia at very reasonable prices since 1998. It draws clients mainly from the Midwest; many are single women.

       Typical tours visit museums and historical sites, or landmarks such as Niagara Falls. Some of the day trips include hayrides, ferryboat cruises and steam-engine trains. For long distance tours, dogs sit next to their owners on a luxury motorcoach and stay in pet-friendly chain hotels. You must bring your own dog food and supplies. “You can’t do this by yourself,” said owner Janice Wenig, “We work out special arrangements. A lot of the places we go don’t normally allow dogs.”
       The cost: About a $100 a day, much less for day trips.
       Finally, be sure to inquire about extra pet fees or deposits at any hotel or lodging before you book. Often, a hotel will require a deposit, refundable if there is no damage to the room. These can range from $15 at a bed and breakfast to $500 at some of the more luxurious hotels. However, sometimes a non-refundable fee is required; at some more expensive properties, this may be excessive (up to $500!). Some places will require an additional cleaning charge. Also, be sure to ask about any restrictions (some properties don’t allow pets to be left alone in a room).
       When travelling internationally, make sure to find out what restrictions and requirements apply for animals before you leave. You must obtain a health certificate filled out by a veterinarian accredited by the U.S. State Department of Agriculture. Other countries, especially island nations, have strict quarantine laws that can hold your pet for up to six months.
        One exception is the UK, which has recently eased their quarantine laws. Your dog or cat can now enter the UK without being quarantined provided that it is fitted with a microchip, is up to date on its vaccinations, undergoes a series of blood tests and has a health certificate. Fulfilling those requirements doesn’t come fast or cheap. Check the USDA’s website for other restrictions that may apply and for an accredited vet in your area:
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       So pets, tell your owners they don’t need to leave you behind. With a pet carrier and a reservation at a pet-friendly hotel, animals and their owners can say goodbye to kennels and pet-sitters. From watersports and skiing to sightseeing and beachcombing: There’s a vacation out there for both the animal and the animal lover.
       {Have you ever traveled with a pet? Do you have an instructive anecdote, tip or horror story to share? We’d love to hear it and possibly reprint it in our letters to the editor column. Simply click here to send a letter to our editors.}
       Copyright © 2003 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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