2007 Dog-Friendly Travel Report Card
Where do Travelers with Dogs really stand?
The February Newsletter
Dog-Friendly Travel Report Card; Where do
travelers with Dogs really stand?
- AKC Dog
- Doggie Dining
|This year we will start an
annual report card on Traveling with Dogs in
the U.S. and Canada. We
will look at various areas of travel and rate
them. Hopefully, this will become an annual
listing that will show improvement over time.
Any comments are welcome. They
can be sent to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1998, DogFriendly.com has researched places
that you can take your dog. During that nine years a
lot has changed. Some aspects of traveling with dogs
have gotten much easier; some have gotten more
difficult. Traveling with dogs consists of the entire
travel experience, not just hotels but how you can
spend your quality time together. Having contacted and
re-contacted tens of thousands of lodgings,
campgrounds, parks, beaches,
attractions, museums, gardens, historical sites,
dog parks, stores, transportation systems and more we have a comprehensive view of
this field. Here is our 2007 report card for the dog travel field in the U.S. and Canada.
|About 1/3 of all U.S. and
Canada lodging rooms allow pets of some sort.
This category is easily the top performing
category for pet travelers. This is the best
example of what can be done by the private
sector when the government doesn't interfere
with laws and regulations preventing private
businesses from making competitive business
decisions. Pet owners are able to select among
luxury and economy hotels, B&Bs and
|In years back, it was taken for
granted that dogs were welcomed in private
campgrounds. Now, there are more rules such as
breed restrictions, not allowing dogs to stay
unattended in your own RV, and restrictions on
where you can walk your dog. Public
campgrounds often allow dogs but many times don't
allow them in parts or all of the
surrounding parks or trails. While most of the states and provinces
allow dogs in some or most campgrounds, the states of New Jersey and
Connecticut inexplicably don't allow dogs in
any state campgrounds. In the final analysis,
people with dogs need to be selective in their
choice of where to visit and camp.
|This category needs to be
divided for very small pets and medium to
large pets. If you have a dog (or a cat)
that is very short and light (less than 8
inches tall and less than 15 pounds) you may
rate this category a B since you can bring
your dog in the cabin. However, you are forced
to leave the dog in the carrier under the seat
for the entire flight. If your
dog, like over 80% of dogs, is too big for
these carriers your only option is
cargo. We don't consider this a reasonable
option at all (D- at best). Most dog owners
would pay for a seat for their dog; it would
be nice to see the airlines recognize the
business being left on the table and
accommodate them. In our surveys, over 90% of respondents
said that if an airline allowed them to buy
seats for their dogs they would use this
airline for all travel, even business travel
without their dog.
|Trains and Buses
|There isn't much to say here.
No dogs are allowed at all on Amtrak and
Canadian Rail even if you wanted to charter
the entire train.
Greyhound Bus should be required to change its
name as it doesn't allow any size dogs, much
less greyhounds, on any of its buses.
Accommodations could be made for certain
in trains and select buses. Considering
that these businesses, along with the
airlines, are constantly demanding taxpayer
subsidies because they are losing money we
think that they should be catering to the pet
travel industry which could give them
substantial additional revenues and reduce
|Trains and Buses
|Small dogs in carriers are
allowed in the majority of urban subways
and local buses in the U.S. and Canada .
Still, there are some cities that don't allow
even this. On the plus side, Boston, Seattle,
Toronto and San Francisco allow dogs of all
sizes on leash in their buses and trains showing
that this can be done successfully. Public
transportation options for pet travelers in
cities and between cities will reduce traffic
and fuel demands and be an environmentally
|U.S. National Parks restrict
dogs significantly and every time we ask why
we get a different reason. We don't think any
of them actually make sense. However, most
people can still enjoy the parks with their
dogs if they select the best parks and
understand where dogs can and can't go.
There are so many parks that we have usually
found a reasonable substitute if the one that
you wanted to visit is not accommodating to
pets. Canadian parks
are more pet-friendly than their American
|The explosive growth of urban
off-leash dog parks over the nine years that
we have been in this business is staggering.
DogFriendly.com now lists over 700 off-leash
parks and the list grows monthly.
There were only a handful in 1998. The only
negatives here are the risk that other parks
once open to dogs are being restricted in
some places when an off-leash park is built
that the requirements and rules can be
complicated in parks that require annual
permits. We would like to see
reasonable accommodation for traveling dogs as
well as the locals with an option for day use
fees where annual permits are now required.
Some dog parks already allow for this option.
|Less than 15% of beaches in the
U.S. and Canada are dog-friendly with leash
Only a handful allow off-leash dogs. We had to call
1500 beaches to find about 250 pet-friendly
ones. In most areas, but not all, you can
probably find a dog-friendly beach.
There needs to be a dog-friendly
beach for dogs
in all regions - not on all beaches but at
least on some that don't require driving
hundreds of miles.
|If left to the private sector,
this grade would be a B+ or A-.
However, government intervention citing
"health codes" in some areas
prevents the free market from working.
However, you can
still find places to eat with your dog in
almost all cities. The good news is that in
cities that pushed too far in blocking dogs at
outdoor restaurants, local laws were passed
allowing it. These include Orlando, Alexandria
(VA), Austin and most recently Dallas. We would
like to see the local governments leave it to the
private sector to decide whether dogs are allowed
indoors or out. The health reasons cited don't
appear valid given experience in Europe and
the fact that 2/3 of North American households
have pets roaming through their dining rooms
and even kitchens without outbreaks of disease.
The outdoor health claims are
ridiculous given the birds, insects and flies
that land on people's plates and tables and the
rodents, cats and other animals that come
around at night looking for scraps. If someone
wants to open a restaurant specifically for
people with dogs, what is the harm?
|In almost all parts of the U.S.
and Canada whether dogs are allowed in stores
(other than grocery stores and
restaurants) is left up to the store
owner by law. This allows people with dogs the
chance to find stores that allow their dogs
and it is usually possible to find places to
shop with your dog. The bigger restriction
here is the shopping malls. While there are a
number of pet-friendly outdoor shopping malls
there are very few indoor malls that allow
dogs. This is a management policy and not a
legal issue in most places.
|This is a difficult category to
grade since it encompasses so many things. We
are able to find attractions such as boat
rides, outdoor museums, a few indoor museums,
privately and publicly owned natural wonders
and historical sites but we have to look hard
to find them. We have found that we can find
enough to keep us busy on a trip to most
cities but we would like to see more places
allow dogs if they don't have a specific
reason not to. Places that cater to tourists
need to realize that if you are traveling with
a dog you can't leave them in the car while
you tour the museum.
|Day Kennels and
|Historically, both kennels and
pet sitting businesses were opened to serve people
leaving their dogs at home when they went out
of town. Due to the rise in travel with pets
there is now a great demand for day kennels
(where you can drop off your dog and pick up
your dog in the same day) and
pet sitters who will sit with travelers dogs
at a hotel or at the pet sitter's facility.
These are coming about slowly. High end
pet-friendly hotels can arrange for pet
sitters and Petsmart is opening day kennels at
a lot of their stores. Essential for travelers are flexible hours to drop off and
pick up pets. An ideal location would allow
drop-off and pick up anytime or at least until
11 to 12 at night so that you can take in a theater
or sporting event. We expect this area to
improve over the next few years.
According to a study done by the American Kennel Club:
* Almost half of dog owners surveyed stated they specifically look for dog friendly hotels and other accommodations when booking travel plans.
* When buying a car, 47% of owners consider their dogs comfort in the decision making process. For longtime dog owners (10+ years), the likelihood of purchasing a car based upon travel needs of their dogs increased to 52%.
* Over half (51%) of dog owners surveyed stated that their dogs affect how they spend their leisure time.
The rest of the study
is at this link.
Doggie Dining News - Dallas Officially Allows Dogs On Patio Restaurants - And Dog Friendly Bars
in Washington State Someday?
In January, the Dallas City Council voted to allow
a city-wide variance to the Texas state health code to
officially allow restaurants to have dogs in outdoor
dining areas. This followed years of inconsistent
policies in the city where for the most part the
practice was allowed but at times, dogs were allowed
in some districts and not others. In other dining dog
news, a lawmaker in Seattle recently proposed allowing dogs
into bars that serve alcohol. The bars would
also be allowed to serve food. It is expected that
even if such as law was passed only a few bars would
allow dogs in, so that anyone who does not want to sit with
a dog would have no shortage of places to go. More on
the Washington proposal can be read at this link
Dog Travel Guide Books
United States and Canada Dog Travel Guide
(includes Lodging, Beaches, Dog Parks, City Guides
with dog-friendly attractions, outdoor restaurants,
parks, beaches, off-leash areas, stores and more).
Campground and RV Park Guide (includes U.S. and
State and Local Day Use parks and pet regulations,
hiking, beaches, off-leash parks and thousands of
dog-friendly campgrounds and their detailed pet
policies and pet amenities).
Coffeetable and Photographic
Dogs of Napa Valley - a captivating photography book which showcases 120 very special dogs who live at 70 Napa Valley wineries.
New! - Winery Dogs of Sonoma
- features 71 Sonoma wineries from Carneros to Dry Creek Valley. Each page is filled with gorgeous photos of the wineries best friends as well as their signature wine labels. Includes map of Sonoma and winery listing.
For all of our books see this