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Dog-friendly Hotels?
Double-check the fine pawprint.
Is there really room at the inn for your big buddy?

As the owner of two 60-pound-plus pups, I am all too familiar with the bait-and-switch described in yesterday’s New York Times: Hotels draw in dual-species families with “dog-friendly” policies and then turn away canines weighing more than a big bag of kibble. Cutoffs start as low as 15 pounds.

I really don’t understand why a hotel would exclude large dogs. The author of AAA’s Traveling With Your Pet told The Times reporter that weight limits are sometimes driven by concerns over cleaning up more fur. What about large dogs, such as big, shaggy Bouviers des Flandres and Komondors, who shed very little? The other concern appears to be big dogs having bigger accidents. Of course, most dogs won't have accidents at all. I don't think weight-limits make sense but they are probably here to stay for some unenlightened properties. That means, travel planners out there shouldn't just rely on the Internet to make reservations; follow up by phone to ask about weight limits. And don't give up hope, if you've got a largish co-pilot sometimes you can negotiate size-exceptions with a smart, dog-loving manager.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com


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Submitted by JoAnna | April 28 2009 |

I've also found that some "pet-friendly" hotels charge a huge non-refundable pet fee (for instance, $75 per stay, which for a one-night stay can be as much as 50% more for the room!) I suppose it's so they can pass themselves off as dog-friendly.

Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | April 28 2009 |

As my husband and I were moving across country from Seattle, WA to mid-Michigan several years ago, we also ran into this problem. One well known hotel chain had a weight limit of 8# (!) and another was willing to let us rent a room provided we would take a smoker's room-yuck! We eventually did find a room in a cheap motel where our Cairn Terrier was welcome, but it was really horrible--smelled like nasty disinfectants and Jack walked in and promptly squatted on the floor. I mean, "hey, if it smells like a toilet"......... My husband grabbed him up in his arms and took him outside before Jack could do anything, but we kept him on the bed with us for the rest of the night because the carpeting smelled so foul. So no good news here--if we ever have to travel overnight with our current pooch (Jack passed away last year from adenocarcinoma; we now have a 60# Collie) I think we're going to try campgrounds instead.

Submitted by Carolyn with Ma... | May 2 2009 |

We've managed to get little Maggie (11 lbs.) in more than a few "no pet" hotels. One was a very nice antique-filled bed-and-breakfast. They made an exception for Maggie after we promised to bring a collapsible sport kennel and told them she'd recently earned her Canine Good Citizen award. When the owners met her and saw that she was quiet and well behaved, she was even invited into the dining room during breakfast. I'm quite sure they'd never heard of a Canine Good Citizen certificate (they were more cat people), but they seemed impressed and we had a copy ready to show them if asked. Good girl Maggie!

Submitted by Blue Heron | June 2 2009 |

We welcome all dogs (and people) at the Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast on Orcas Island, WA. We have found that dog owners are friendly, respectful, and take amazing care of their pets. This is our 4th season and I can honestly say that we have not had a problem with any size dog that we have had. Next week, we will have a couple here with four dogs that have come to western Washington for agility training. All I can say is, "Yahoo!" The pet host, Pulaski (our very hard working black lab that constantly demands overtime in extra dog bones!)gets excited each time we place a basket in the guest room for the pet. He spends the rest of the day looking for who is coming! Great fun!

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