Traveling with Your Pets

Leaving home doesn't mean you have to leave your pets behind. Follow our guide to the best ways to travel with your four-legged loved ones, and you'll reduce the collective anxiety about how Rover's fairing in your absence.
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traveling with pets
Have pup, will travel: From the beach to the boutique hotel, don't let your doggie drag you down...take him with you! (PhotoDisc)

According to the Travel Industry Association of America, of the 62 million people in the U.S. who own dogs, over 29 million travel with them. In response, many savvy hotels now cater to this growing demographic, offering almost as many amenities for their four-legged guests as their owners, from doggie massages and pet-sitting services to private dog walkers and turn-down doggie biscuits.

Of course finding the right hotel for you, your family, and your family pet is only half the battle-you still have to reach that hotel. Let us help you get where you're going with your entire family in tow. Just remember to pack that leashÂ…

Choosing a Hotel
To be sure your four-pawed family member doesn't turn your trip into a series of faux pas, pick a pet-friendly property. Before booking, call ahead and confirm that the hotel is pet-friendly, and that it has the proper canine accommodations. You'll quickly find that there's as many options for your doggie as there are for you.

The Loews Hotels (1.800.23.LOEWS, chain, which has properties across Canada and most major U.S. cities, welcomes cats and dogs of any size without adding a cleaning fee as part of their Pets Welcome program. Pet walking and pet sitting services are available, but cost extra. The hotel often runs Houndly Holidays and Valentine's Day packages for people and pets, which includes an in-room pet meal and dinner for humans.

Starwood LTD's Love That Dog program, however, may be leading the pack when it comes to canine accommodation. Westin (888.625.5144, offers dogs weighing 40 pounds or less, food bowls, a dog version of the their "Heavenly Bed," and dog-specific room service menu choices including German Shepherd Pie, Shih-Tzu Sushi, Schnauzer Sausage Pasta, and Scooby Stew. Sheraton (888.625.5144, accepts dogs up to 80 pounds, and provides canine toys and specially-designed beds, while W Hotel (877.W.HOTELS; welcomes all dogs up to 80 pounds as well as larger, friendly dogs at the manager's discretion. A $25 cleaning fee is required at all properties.

The Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. (800-424-8577; welcomes dogs of all sizes and requires no extra fees. Pooches bed down with their people on the pet-exclusive 14th floor. Guests receive dog-walking maps and in case of rain or snow, the animals get sweaters and other foul weather gear.

The Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa (800.228.9290; in Dada Point, California, welcomes dogs of any size to its 40-acre property, where the dogs romp on lawns and in nearby parks while the owners are pampered at the hotel's spa. Dog walkers can be arranged, and all owners must pay an additional $50.

Just as a massage soothes our aching muscles, a doggy rub-down does the same for our four-legged pals. After all, traveling is tough on them, too. As with most things, the services in New York City have set an industry standard. Lisa Veyka offers pet massages at the New York Dog Spa & Hotel (212.243.1798,, and at the W hotels in the city. She also makes house calls in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Elsewhere, check with the concierge at your pet-friendly lodging and treat the pooch or cat to some tender touching.

Additional Info:
Check out these web sites for more information:,, and's resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from

Published: 11 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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