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Pet-Friendly Lodging Becoming Uncommonly Common
Hotel and Motel Chains Welcome Pets

by Mitch Kaplan

You're heading out on vacation, and the first question that needs to be answered is this: What to do with poochie or kitty?

Time was when our family would simply shuffle over to the local vet and board our dog. But, it's no longer that simple. First of all, the cost of simply boarding your pet at a kennel can run as much as $20-$30 daily. And that's just for leaving the poor animal in a cage somewhere. No matter how well attended the pup or cat may be, that's not like being home.

Or, you can actually leave Fido at home. We found a wonderful dog walker who comes in three times daily and exercises our ageing canine. But, that kind of personal attention costs even more.

Or, you can send the critter to a "camp" or "spa". That means a better situation and probably a happier atmosphere, but the price can be prohibitive.

So, more and more dog owners - pet owners in general, actually - are taking their four legged pals on the road with them.

Two such companies are Motel 6 and Loews Hotels. At participating Loews ( properties, for example, guests are provided upon check-in with information on hotel pet services, local dog-walking routes, puppy pagers, and area pet services like veterinarians, pet shops, groomers, pet attractions, and pet-friendly restaurants. Amenities include place mats with food and water bowls, toys and treats. Also, veterinarian-approved pet room service menus have been developed, including vegetarian entrées. The concierge desk will arrange pet walking and pet sitting services, as well as necessities like dog and cat beds, leashes, collars, pet toys and videos, litter boxes, and even pooper-scoopers.

Motel 6's Pet Policy ( states "properties allow one well-behaved pet per room unless prohibited by state law or ordinance. Service animals are always welcome. Pets must be declared during guest registration. In consideration of all Motel 6 guests, pets must be attended at all times. Pets should never be left alone in a room or vehicle. If a pet is left unattended in a room, our housekeepers are not allowed to clean your room due to safety concerns. Pets must be kept on a leash when outside your room. Please be considerate of other guests: when walking your pet on property, please clean up after your pet." The company also offers tips for safe pet travel.

Among the other hotel chains that can be considered hotel friendly: Amerisuites, Crestwood Suites, Red Roof Inns, Sheraton and Westin.

Want to make it owner-pet weekend? Mid-Atlantic residents can take advantage of something called Blue Sky Dogs - The Pet Adventure Company, based in New York City ( This organization puts together "Best Friends Weekends" to places like the Berkshires, and day trips for owners and their dogs, as well as providing "Dog-Friendly Travel Planning," and "Adventure Days" and "Slumber Parties".

It's a dog's world, after all.

The number of services and sites available to traveling pet owners and their canine and feline charges - or other kinds of pets - seems to be endlessly growing. Three web resources seem to stand out.

Pets On The Go ( offers massive amounts of information. Their Resources page includes comprehensive information on international travel, domestic travel, transportation and emergency information. Consider this often-overlooked bit of info from that page: "Dogs and cats need health certificates before traveling to any of the 50 U.S. states, and especially Hawaii. Most states have specific laws on the books that require appropriate health documentation for your visiting pet." The site's "Pet-Friendly Hotel Search" is remarkable, covering 30,000-plus lodging facilities, domestic and international. The list of pet-friendly hotel chains is especially helpful ( .

TravelPets ( is devoted solely to pet-friendly lodging around the world.

Pets Welcome (, too, presents a wide range of lodging listings, as well as travel tips and other information.

Seems like, for well-behaved animals, a kennel stay is less and less necessary.

For more on traveling with pets see our PET TRAVEL section.

...... Mitch Kaplan is the author of "The Unofficial Guide to the Mid-Atlantic with Kids," a contributor to "The Unofficial Guide to New England & New York with Kids," and the author of "The Cheapskate's Guide to Myrtle Beach" and "The Golf Book of Lists".

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