Is travel going to the dogs?

Position:Your Life - Product/Service Evaluation - Industry Overview

Some 74% of U.S. households include companion pets, U.S. Census Bureau statistics show. Dogs, cats, horses, turtles, rabbits, you name it: Pets are popular these days in all shapes, sizes, and breeds. As their popularity has increased, a trend has developed: More and more people are refusing to leave on trips without their pets, in particular their dogs.

In the past, dog owners found themselves limited to economy hotels and campgrounds. Today, however, pet-friendly lodgings with amenities for dogs and other four-legged mates are on the rise.

"Several hotel chains have become pet friendly with programs that [provide] special bedding, food, water bowls, and temporary ID tags for pets at check-in," says Mary Lou Gross of Stargazer Travel. "Other hotels offer doggie bedding, robes, and turndowns treats for pets' beds. And other hotels even offer doggie day care and sessions with a pet masseuse or therapist." Moreover, their social lives are being addressed with "Doggie Happy Hours," where a hotel invites furry guests and their owners to mix and mingle over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. While humans are sampling the latest cocktail, pets commiserate over gourmet biscuits and treats.

Americans' ever-growing obsession with their pets has translated into huge sums of money being spent each year on everything...

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