DogFriendly.com Releases Its 2008 Report Card on U.S. Pet Travel

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In DogFriendly.com's 2nd annual grades, Pet-friendly hotels and lodging get the highest marks, Airlines need to improve pet services and Intercity Trains and Buses fail the pet traveling public.

DogFriendly.com (http://www.dogfriendly.com), a leading publisher of dog travel guide books and web guides, today announced it's 2008 grades for the pet travel industry. This is the second year that DogFriendly.com has graded lodging, campgrounds, airlines, trains, buses, parks, beaches, restaurants, stores, attractions and pet sitters for their service to travelers with pets. The highest marks were earned by hotels and off-leash dog parks. Areas that fail to serve the growing dog travel community were nationwide buses, trains and airlines. Here are the grades with last year's grades in ( ):

  • Lodging: A- (A) Pet-friendly accommodations offer dog owners good variety. Pet fees are increasing.
  • Campgrounds: B-(B-) Most campgrounds allow dogs, but there are often restrictions. New Jersey and Connecticut don't allow dogs in State Park Campgrounds.
  • Airlines: C- (C-) Very small dogs can ride in the cabin, but most dogs have to go in cargo. D- for most dogs; B for the smallest ones.
  • Nationwide Trains/Buses: F (F) No dogs are allowed. Meanwhile, the public subsidizes these businesses when people with pets would gladly pay to ride and fuel use is increased by the additional drivers with pets. In Europe, leashed dogs are allowed on trains.
  • Local Transit: C (C-) Small dogs allowed on many city public transit systems; Large dogs allowed on a few. In most cities it is possible but tricky to get cab service.
  • Parks: B- (B-) Limited access for dogs, especially in National Parks, but still many dog-friendly parks. Some parks are showing signs of easing some restrictions.
  • Off-Leash Parks: B (B+) There are 800+ off-leash parks and most are open to visiting dogs; some require local permits and fees making it difficult for travelers to use them.
  • Beaches: B- (C+) There appears to be an increase in dog-friendly beaches, however, most beaches don't allow dogs. But most areas have at least one dog-friendly beach.
  • Restaurants: B- (C+) Most of the time it is not difficult to find a place to eat outside with your dog. Indoor restaurants cannot allow dogs. Recently, there is movement by cities to be more pet-friendly on patios and to issue more variances.
  • Shopping: B (B-) You can usually find somewhere to shop with your pet. More of the new high end open-air shopping centers are catering to dog owners.
  • Attractions: B- (B-) Some outdoor attractions allow dogs; most indoor ones do not. There are many dog-friendly boat, horse and carriage and walking tours.
  • Pet Sitters: B- (C+) The industry is excellent for dog-sitting pets while you are out of town. There are more services for traveling dogs than last year, including day care and kennel options and pet-sitting in hotels.

See http://www.dogfriendly.com/grades for more information on these categories. DogFriendly.com, providing dog travel information since 1998, offers a free website and publishes paperback books including DogFriendly.com's East Coast Dog Travel Guide, DogFriendly.com's California and the West Dog Travel Guide and DogFriendly.com's Lodging Guide for Travelers with Dogs. DogFriendly.com also has a mobile web site for accessing it's travel guides by cell phone.

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Len Kain
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