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DogFriendly.com's Newsletter
February 2007
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2007 Dog-Friendly Travel Report Card

Where do Travelers with Dogs really stand?

 

In The February Newsletter

- 2007 Dog-Friendly Travel Report Card; Where do travelers with Dogs really stand?
- AKC Dog Owners Study
- Doggie Dining News

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 email@dogfriendly.com.

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.

Lodging
Grade: A
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 vacation rentals. 
Campgrounds
Grade: B-
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.
Air Transportation
Grade: C-
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
Between Cities
Grade: F
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 pet-friendly cars 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 taxpayer subsidies.
Trains and Buses
In Cities
Grade: C-
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 sound policy.
Parks
Grade: B-
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 counterparts.
Off-Leash Parks
Grade: B+
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 nearby and 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.
Beaches
Grade: C+
Less than 15% of beaches in the U.S. and Canada are dog-friendly with leash requirements. 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.
Restaurants
Grade: C+
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?
Stores and
Shopping Malls
Grade: B-
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. 
Attractions
(Private Sector)
Grade: B-
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
Pet Sitters
Grade: C+
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

DogFriendly.com's 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).

DogFriendly.com's Campground and RV Park Guide (includes U.S. and Canadian National, 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 Books

Winery 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 link.

 

How many trips do you take your dog on each year?

None
1 - 2
3 - 5
6 or more

About how many nights do you stay in hotels/B&Bs/ or vacation rentals with your dog each year/

None
1 - 5
6 - 10
11 - 15
More than 15

What type of lodging do you stay in most often with your dog?

Economy Hotels
Luxury Hotels
B&Bs
Vacation Rentals
Campgrounds


 

DogFriendly.com's U.S. and Canada Dog Travel Guide Book - 3rd Edition  - The Only Dog Travel Guide for dogs of all sizes!  All Lodging Listed allows medium and large size dogs, too! Includes Dog-Friendly Accommodations including over 1400 Independent Inns, B&Bs and Vacation Rentals. Also includes  a Beach Guide, More City Guides than ever with attractions, restaurants, parks & more. Dog-Friendly Highway Guides  for 25 Major Interstates and Highways, a Dog Park Guide and a National Park Guide. Travel With More Than One Dog? This book tells you which hotels allow multiple Dogs.   Look here for details



CAMPGROUNDS, DAY USE POLICIES FOR PARKS, DOG PARKS, BEACHES AND CAMPING CABINS...

Get DogFriendly.com's indispensable companion to your campground directory! 448 Pages. Includes answers to questions like:

- What are the pet fees?
- How many dogs per camp site?
- Are dogs allowed in tent areas or camping cabins?
- Are there dog walking areas or off-leash areas and are dogs allowed on the parks trails or beaches?
- Are there breed restrictions?

Also includes a beach guide, off leash dog park guide, National Park Guide and Highway Guide showing campgrounds along major highways.

DogFriendly.com - United States and Canada RV Park and Campground Guide for People with Dogs


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Before you visit an establishment or place, please contact them and verify that they are still dog-friendly and available, as policies and management change frequently. All places listed on DogFriendly.com require your dog to be leashed and under your direct control unless specified  otherwise by an establishments (including parks and beaches) management. Please be aware of local Breed-Specific Laws that may be in place where you are visiting. The information on this site is not a recommendation. DogFriendly.com, Inc. makes no warranties or representations of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of the site or the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. If you find an establishment that no longer allows dogs, please let us know so we can remove them from our list. For full Rules and Regulations for Use of This Site, including the legal disclaimer and copyright notices,  click here before using the site
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