Does Plano Texas Have Pet Friendly Hotels?

  • Plano Exit Sign

Does Plano Texas have Pet Friendly Hotels? The short answer is, Absolutely! The medium answer is, Is the Pope Catholic? And the long answer is, Not only does Plano Texas have pet friendly hotels, they also have a lot of events and places you can go with your pet. The bottom line is, Plano, TX, is one pet-friendly place and worth a trip if you haven’t yet considered it as a destination.

Petswelcome recently got a tip about Plano and decided to check it out. Why Plano? you might ask. Well, besides being extremely pet friendly, it’s also home to the Frito-Lay Corporation and Dr Pepper. Whether you’re a fan of these companies’ products (we are!) or not, we think that any city that can anchor these two snack and gulp giants has got to be fun, proud, unsnooty and a place you might want to hang out in for a while with your dog or cat. Time to investigate…

As far as Plano’s pet friendly hotels, they do not disappoint. They have a wide variety that take into consideration all sizes of pets as well as pocketbooks. There’s the always reliable La Quinta (cats and dogs welcome, no fee, no size restriction, up to 2 pets), Quality Inn (dogs welcome, no size restriction, $10 pet fee, up to 2 pets), Motel 6 (dogs welcome, no size restriction, no pet fee, up to 2 pets), Candlewood Suites (dogs welcome up to 80 lbs., $20 pet fee, 1 pet allowed), Aloft (dogs welcome up to 40 lbs., no fee, 1 pet maximum), and many more.

Music at the Box Garden at Legacy Hall
Some music at the Box Garden at Legacy Hall

Of course, you can’t just stay inside the hotel the whole time with your pooch; you need to get out and explore. There are great neighborhoods and districts in Plano, including the Downtown Plano Arts District, the Shops at Legacy and Legacy West. The good news is that they all have a ton of dog friendly restaurants and bars (which means places with patios where you can hang with your favorite animal). Over a hundred actually. They include Mesero, North Italia, The Ginger Man (lots o’ beers!), Ringo’s Pub, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar and Snuffers. There is also the Box Garden at Legacy Hall, which is “part beer garden, part concert hall, and the ultimate patio experience.” Sounds pretty cool to us.

Dog diving in pool Plano, TX
Practicing for the K-9 Kerplunk Dog Swim

Plano also has some great parks and outdoor spaces, too, more than 3,600 acres worth. Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve is the largest, with 800 acres and more than 20 trails. There is the beautiful Amphitheater where you and your best buddy might catch a concert. And don’t miss their K-9 Kerplunk Dog Swim. You can also visit the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, which is a 200-acre park with an observation tower that offers a great panorama of the city. And, if you want to meet some other dogs, you might head over to the Jack Carter Dog Park, a 2-acre fenced-in dog park along the Bluebonnet Trail.

If you’re looking for pet friendly events, you can roam through the Historic Downtown Plano Garage Sale with your pooch, or catch an outdoor movie at the Movies in the Park Series. Finally, if you happen to be in Plano on National Dog Day (August 26), be sure to hit the National Dog Day Yappy Hour at Henry’s Tavern where you can imbibe on such canine-concocted cocktails as the The Salty Chihuahua, The Pitbull and The GreyHound.

So, to answer the question, Does Plano Texas Have Pet Friendly Hotels? They do! And much, much more. For more information on everything Plano, be sure to check out VisitPlano.com and see how many fun and delightful things you can do in Plano with your pet.

Cat Yoga: It’s Not What You Think

Cat yoga isn’t what we thought it was.  At Petswelcome, we had images of yoga instructors trying to teach felines the Downward-Facing Dog pose which cats, we don’t think, would like very much for the simple reason that they like being cats. Not dogs. Also, when was the last time you got a cat to do anything? However, it turns out that cat yoga is so much better than that, in so many ways. One of the first to try cat yoga is Good Mews, a cats-only, kill-free shelter in Marietta, Georgia. For each cat yoga class, led by a certified yoga instructor, students (human) come in, lay down their mats, and then the fun begins as cats move among them, doing exactly what you would expect cats to do when humans are purposely trying to not pay attention to them. They come sit in your lap as you sit in the Lotus Pose, or on your chest in the Corpse Pose, or bat at your ponytail as it hangs down in the Cat Pose, or wedge themselves under your back while you try to hold the Bridge Pose. In general, cat yoga is an exaggeration of real life. Cats walking around wondering what the hell us humans are up to and then kind of getting in the way.

kittens in cat yoga class
At Modo Yoga in Sydney, Australia, they offer Cats on Mats classes with rescue kittens that are up for adoption

Admittedly, adding cats to the yoga class equation doesn’t make for heightened concentration but it is awfully enjoyable, which means it’s relaxing and stress reducing, and hey, wasn’t that why you decided to take yoga classes in the first place?

But as far as the shelters are concerned, any benefit you derive is simply collateral goodness. The real objective here is the mental well-being of the cats, who benefit greatly from the human contact they get during these classes, even if you’re pretending not to pay attention to them as they use your outstretched hand as an impromptu back scratcher or tunnel under the end of your yoga mat. And, as noted, this interspecies interplay has also had a positive effect on the number of adoptions in many of these shelters, as students become attached to their yoga cats and want to take them home, where they can do cat yoga all the time. To that we say,  Awesome!

Cat yoga has now extended beyond shelters, but it still has maintained that connection, with shelters providing the felines (and sometimes even kittens, for kitten yoga) for cat yoga adoption days.

New Pet Friendly Hotel and B&B Listings on Petswelcome

Every once in a while we like to devote an article to some new pet friendly hotel listings on Petswelcome—pet friendly hotels and inns that we’ve found (or who have found us) over the past month or so. We focus on these new listings to highlight the diversity you can find when looking for pet friendly lodgings. It reveals a variety that covers all tastes and categories, from small-dog to large-dog owners, cat owners, people who prefer B&Bs and inns over hotel chains (and vice versa), as well as differing pet fees and pet amenities.

Having done this for a long time, we’ve noticed that there is a trend toward spare and simple in certain hospitality segments—hotels that have a stripped back modern decor geared less for luxurious frills and more for amenities that satisfy the digital lifestyle of the contemporary traveler. If you’ve been to a Holiday Inn Express since they’ve renovated, or a My Place Hotel, for example, you’ll know what we mean. Some hotels also offer a level of sophistication with regard to the use of public space as well as food, beverage and fitness options. A few of our new pet friendly hotel listings fall into these categories while others maintain the tried-and-true old-world charm approach. Whatever your leanings, there’s a pet friendly hotel out there for you.

Island Guest House Pet Friendly B&B

Island Guest House Bed and Breakfast Inn, Beach Haven, NJ

A turn of the century oceanside inn, The Island Guest House Bed and Breakfast by the Sea is located in beautiful Beach Haven, NJ. Innkeepers Mark and Joanne are there to ensure the best possible experience for you, creating an atmosphere of “relaxed sophistication.” Their pet policy allows dogs up to 20 lbs. in selected rooms (though all size dogs are allowed in the cottage) with a pet fee of $25 per stay for up to 2 pets. A portion of the fee is donated annually to the local animal shelter. Pet sitting services may be available on request.

316 Hotel

316 Hotel, Wichita, KS

One of 4 new pet friendly listings on Petswelcome operated the GLI Hospitality Group, the 316 Hotel offers a modern hotel experience in downtown Wichita with a bit of flair, including great amenities (complimentary breakfast, free shuttle service, free Wi-Fi and a complimentary nightly manager’s reception that includes two drinks per person). Cats and dogs (up to 50 lbs.) are welcome with a pet fee of $50 per stay. A maximum of two pets are allowed. The 316 Hotel has other pet friendly sister hotels including the 402 Hotel  in Omaha, NE, the 816 Hotel in Kansas City, MO–both, like the 316 Hotel, are named after their area code—and the Comfort Inn at the Zoo in Omaha.

Beach Comber Motel

Beachcomber Motel and Spa on the Beach, Fort Bragg, CA

The Beachcomber Motel offers spacious guest rooms and suites, many sporting fantastic ocean views. Other amenities include in-room hot tubs, fireplaces, and vaulted ceilings. They welcome up to 3 cats and dogs (all sizes) and charge a pet fee of $20 per stay. The motel has 2 other pet friendly sister lodgings in Fort Bragg—The Beach House and Surf & Sand Lodge.

Blue Fish Inn

The Blue Fish Inn, Cape May, NJ

Open year round, Blue Fish Inn is a family owned motel that offers great services and hospitality, including 4 pet friendly rooms (out of 12). Located in the center of town, it is just a short walk to the beaches and Cape May Pedestrian Mall. The Blue Fish has a $25 pet fee and allows dogs of all sizes with no breed restrictions and a limit of two dogs per room. A walking area is provided on the side of the inn and the staff can supply you with information on nearby pet friendly beaches, as well as open-air restaurants that allow pets, including Zoe’s and the Sunset Grill.  There is also a nearby Kiwanis Club Park that is dog friendly.

Courtyard Gettysburg

Courtyard Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA

Located a few miles from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitors Center as well as the Eisenhower National Historic Site and Gettysburg College, the Courtyard Gettysburg puts you right in the center of the action. It also offers a host of great packages, including a Gettysburg Wine and Music Festival Package, a Civil War History Package, and a Family Slumber Party Package. It allows dogs up to 50 lbs. (maximum 2 pets per room) and has a $30 pet fee per night.

Another new Gettysburg, PA, listing is the Wyndham Gettysburg Hotel, which has the same pet policy as the Courtyard Gettysburg.

DoubleTree North Phoenix

DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix North, Phoenix, AZ

Most hotels offer great human amenities, but we really appreciate those that provide them to our four-legged friends as well. On this matter, the DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix North does not disappoint. On check-in, you’ll receive a treat bag, water mat and bowl, and courtesy bags for picking up after your dog. Their pet policy allows pets up to 75 lbs., with a $50 nonrefundable deposit. If you are interested in the human comforts, they do pretty well on that front, too: modern guest rooms with floor to-to-ceiling windows, a mini-fridge and free Wi-Fi. And, if you decide on a Bungalow Suite, you also get a sofa bed, wet bar and patio. Did we mention that you get a warm chocolate chip cookie at check-in? You do. Really.

 

Dogs That Do Amazing Things

Sometimes here at Petswelcome, in our search for all things pet friendly and pet related, we find something that is so great and fantastic that we feel the need to share it with our Weekly Bone readers. Recently, while researching information for our upcoming Top Pet Friendly College Towns, we came across a section on the University of Pennsylvania website that highlights the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. The Center is a national research, breeding and training center for detection dogs, covering many different types of detection including Accelerants, Bed Bugs, Explosives, Human Remains, Medical Detection (including diabetes and ovarian cancer) Narcotics, and Urban Search and Rescue. There is no doubt about it. The dogs at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center definitely do amazing things.

future first responder dogs
Some future first responders.

The center opened on September 11, 2012, and is dedicated to the proposition that dogs are the best tool we have to detect and alleviate potential threats, which include both natural and man-made disasters. They are pioneering new approaches to working with dogs by utilizing collaborative research and the latest scientific and veterinary findings to enhance the performance of the dogs. In addition to training dogs in detection, the center also has specialized programs such as K9 Law Enforcement, which trains local, state and federal agencies to train and handle dogs so they can build a K9 unit for their own departments. They also have a K9 Performance Medicine program that offers fitness training and rehabilitation to K9 dogs or competitive sport dogs that have been injured in the field.

scent detection training
Scent detection training.

We highly recommend you check out some of these dogs. They are listed on the site by breed, gender or job. Many are named after handlers or dogs who were deployed to the World Trade Center after the attacks on 9/11. There is Hoke, a Lab who specializes in accelerant detection and was named after handler Julie Noyes’s dog K9 Hoke who went into the World Trade Center. Hoke now works for the Salina Fire Department. Or Quilty, a bed bug detector named in honor of Lt. Michael T. Quilty, from Ladder 11 of the New York City Fire Department. Or Punches, a Diabetes Alert Dog named after 9/11 victim Jack Punches. There are also dogs available for sale, many of whom have their own YouTube videos such as Déjà Vu ,who specializes in single purpose scent detection.

dogs at the Penn Vet Working Dogs Center
Some students and alumni.

Most importantly, you can get involved with the Penn Vet Working Dog Center in a lot of different ways. You can make a gift, which will support training, research and other essential needs.  You can sponsor a puppy, which allows you to follow the progress of your puppy in training. Or you can become a foster family and provide a temporary home during evenings and on weekends for a dog in training, helping your dog develop socialization skills.

So what’s this got to do with pet friendly travel and hotels? Nothing, really. But in a 24-hour news cycle that sometimes overwhelms us with bad headlines and disaster videos, it’s a beautiful thing to see a human and dog working hand in paw to make the world a better place. They not only help make us safer in the future but also honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the past. We just wanted to give a shout out to the Penn Vet Working Dog Center and say, Thank you! Keep up the good work.

Grain-Free Dog Food May Not Be Healthy for Your Dog

 

grain-free dog food

Whenever I go to my local pet store to get food for my two dogs, I always see, out of the corner of my eye, a lot of labels that say “grain-free.” It made me wonder whether there was a something healthier about them and if what I was buying for my dogs was somehow lacking. After all, we all want the best for our pets and that certainly includes a healthy diet. My interest was further piqued when I checked out the ingredients on the grain-free dog food because they were chock full of nutritious protein-rich alternatives including lentils, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, bison, and wild boar, all which sounded good to me. If it’s good for humans, I thought, it must be good for dogs.

Not necessarily, it turns out. Earlier this week, the NY Times  reported that the Food and Drug Administration announced that it is looking into a relationship between grain-free dog food food and canine heart disease, specifically DCM—Dilated Cardio Myopathy. Symptoms include an enlarged heart, exhaustion, difficulty breathing, fainting, and potential heart failure. While DCM is usually found in large breeds that have a genetic disposition to it, such as Great Danes and Doberman pinschers, veterinarians have lately been seeing it in a wider variety of breeds including golden retrievers, Labradors and doodle mixes. One common factor among these affected dogs is that they were on a grain-free diet. This led to studies to determine whether or not this increase in DCM is tied to the surge in the number of grain-free diets which now account for 44 percent of the dog food market, a trend which began in 2007 when food from China was contaminated with melamine.

women and dog

 

While the evidence is not yet conclusive (there have been discrepancies with regard to the definitive medical cause of the heart failure), there is a growing consensus that, unless your dogs have a proven allergy or issue with a specific grain, there is no medical basis for switching them to a grain-free diet, and that doing so might even have negative consequences. The good news is that, unlike dogs that develop DCM genetically, diet-associated cases can sometimes be reversed through a regimen of medication and diet change. If your dogs shows any similar symptoms, be sure to take them to a vet immediately to determine the cause and a proper course of action.

 

How To Spend a Perfect Summer Day With Your Dog

dogs in hammock

As July comes to a close, I start thinking about the end of summer. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, but there must be a slant of light or some other subconscious signal in the air that turns my thoughts to death and dying and the futility of life and the universe. Like I’m some kind of French philosopher. Okay, that may be a little extreme (yah think?). Let’s just say, then, that I start thinking about falling leaves and the onset of autumn. Even though summer officially ends more than a month and a half from now, the truth is that when September begins, it’s all over. There’s something about the cooler air and shorter days that seem to instill a kind of spiritual sobriety in me. Kids go back to school and people seem more focused on the business at hand than at having fun. When that happens, an internal alarm bell goes off signaling a last chance to engage in leisure pursuits that only warm weather permits, that August seems to beg of us.

And so I put a plan into action. Not one that requires a long getaway or vacation but more of a microburst approach: Taking a day off here and there at separate intervals and spending it intensely trying to relax and having fun, getting to the heart of summer without letting anything get in my way.  And that inevitably involves my dogs. They seem not only to get it, it’s almost as if they happily lead me to it, as if to say, This is how to spend a perfect summer day with your best friend.

The key to this is not allowing any work or responsibilities to sneak in. And that’s the hardest part. This is a pure endeavor, after all, so pursue it purely and at your own risk: that means paying no mind to the constant drumbeat of your own conscience trying to argue against it or the persistent angry phone calls from your boss (see item 2).  Shut that down immediately. And, most of all, have fun.

So here’s a step-by-step approach to having a perfect summer day with your dog. Remember that it depends on following your own and your dog’s instincts and pursuing your own pleasures. So while my example works for me, you’ll have to make adjustments.

  1. Hop out of bed with a spring in your step and don’t turn on your computer. This is critical if you do what I do, which is running a website, namely Petswelcome.com. If you are one of those people who actually has a real job and have to leave your house, I’m very sorry for you. But don’t call in and fake sick. Tell them the truth. “I’m spending quality time with my dogs.” I’m sure they’ll understand.
  2. Once you’ve solidified your independence, immediately engage with your dogs. I say something to them that captures their attention like, “I’m cooking meat later and you’re getting some!” The most important thing in that statement is the word meat. The second is the exclamation point, the way you say it. Don’t use the word “burgers” because, unless they’re a poodle or really smart, they won’t understand you. I find “meat” works every time because it also sounds like “treat.” You want to get their attention so they’ll follow you around all day. This is essential. At this point, turn your phone off. That’s right. You heard me. Turn it off. Really. TURN IT OFF!
  3. Now, I suggest hopping in the car and taking them to a nearby place—a dog park or nature walk or rail trail or even a town—that you’ve been wanting to visit but never got around to. This way you’re both involved in a joint exploration, everything new and interesting, which is a wonderful summer thing to do. My choice would involve a body of water. Just sitting by a river or a lake or hanging at a pet-friendly beach and watching your dogs splash around as the world passes by is positively soul restoring. A little nap makes it even better.
  4. Head back home and find a good book to relax with. Or do a crossword. After a few hours lying around on the shore, you’re going need some rest, a less taxing activity. I recommend a book that has dogs in it and I recommend reading it outside. If you have access to a hammock, make a beeline for it. This is critical. Nothing says summer more than a hammock. Either way, try to do it under a shade tree or on a porch or your stoop with your dogs and read out loud to them. Or, if you’re doing a crossword, ask them for answers. “What’s a three letter word that means very annoying? Middle letter is A.” You think you’re throwing them a softball and that they’ll answer, “Cat.” Odds are, though, they’re thinking, “Man.” But don’t take it personally. In general, they’ll cock their heads like you’re an idiot. You might very well be, but don’t give in. Keep reading and/or pressing them and they’ll settle down and fall asleep. After all, they know there’s meat down the line so they’ll be compliant. Read until you also fall asleep. (BTW, if you get two naps outside in one day, you’ve won.)Dog eating ice cream cone
  5. Turn on music. Get the barbeque going. Drink something cold. Give your dogs a treat. At this point everyone should be in a really good mood. Make sure you cook a separate burger for your dog(s). They’ll be watching for that. Dogs in general will eat cheeseburgers but prefer it plain so don’t disappoint or try to overdo it with too many condiments. If there’s one things dogs can’t stand it’s a sycophant (that’s their job). When it comes to dessert give them a lick of your ice-cream cone. But just one. It’s a bonding experience that will ensure that they will follow every command you issue in the coming winter. There’s no evidence to back this last statement up whatsoever but, hey, it’s summer and optimism should reign supreme.canis major dog constellation
  6. After the meal go outside again and stare up at the stars. This is summer at its best. Point out Sirius the dog star (part of the constellation Canis Major). Be sure to mention that Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and that it has a visual apparent magnitude of -1.46. If your dogs are not yet asleep, that bit of information should do it. Then be sure to point out every canine related object in the sky, including Canis Minor, Procyon, as well as Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs constellation. Also, point out that there are no cat constellations. Ouch!
  7. Wake your dogs up and head off to bed. Break your longstanding rule against letting them to sleep with you. Of course, if you do, they’ll now want to sleep in your bed all winter. But winter sucks anyway so fight that battle when the snow flies. For now, you will all appreciate the camaraderie and sleep like a baby–the perfect end to the perfect summer day.

 

 

 

 

 

Highly Recommended: Pet Friendly Beer Gardens!

dog with beers

At Petswelcome we obviously focus on finding pet friendly hotels whenever we travel. But once we arrive, we like to head out to do some exploring with our pets in tow to see what’s going on in our new destination. One of our first priorities is to scope out places where we can eat, such as pet friendly cafes, food trucks and other outdoor venues that allow pets. Recently, we’ve been checking out another awesome option that was previously below our radar: pet friendly beer gardens.

Beer gardens are open-air outdoor areas, often shaded, and set up with tables and/or benches where food and drinks are served and socializing is encouraged. This community-like feeling is one of the nicest aspects of beer gardens, as it promotes mingling with other guests much more than traditional cafes, or restaurants that may have a few outside tables. Bring a dog along to pet friendly beer gardens  and you’ll find that the interaction will be compounded and suddenly you’ll have found a bunch of great people to talk to, share stories with and maybe also get some insider tips on other places to visit at your current destination.

The concept of the modern open-air beer garden, or Biergarten, originally began in Germany, specifically Bavaria. Brewers realized that beer ferments better in cool temperatures and so dug cellars and planted gardens and shallow-rooted trees like chestnuts above the cellars to help keep them cool and promote the fermentation process. This combination of beer and gardens in close proximity naturally led to the beer being consumed in and around the gardens and, Voila!, the notion of a modern beer garden was born. And now, with the current national craze for local beers brewed on site—with many bars offering 20+ taps of craft beers—beer gardens have become even more popular, being the perfect venue for brewers of all stripes to show off their diverse quaffs in a unique, fun and extremely social environment. In addition, not only are the beers offerings more varied, but today you can also find much more variety in the food selections. While many beer gardens do offer traditional German fare such as Bavarian pretzels, brats and other wursts, many are moving to more diverse menus and serving up sliders, pizzas, nachos, vegetarian dishes and more.

Here are some great pet friendly beer gardens around the country:

Dog Haus Biergarten, Long Beach, CA:

Now that we’ve said many beer gardens are moving beyond German fare, the Dog Haus Biergarten embraces it. Their is tagline is “The Absolute Wurst.”  They offer many types of sausage and dogs, but with modern twists, including the Thai Fighter (Thai Currywurst, wild arugula, pickled jalapenos, and spicy basil aoli) as well as The Fonz (spicy Italian pastrami in a cheddar cheese sauce). Other meals include Haus Chicken (Bad Mutha Clucka), Corn Dog Sliders and the Free Bird (turkey dog, avocado, tomato, smoked bacon and miso ranch dressing). Yum! And, of course, they have ten craft beers on tap. Dog Haus is now a franchise with more than 30 locations, so look for openings in other cities you visit.

pet friendly beer garden
Enjoying some food at Dog Haus.

Axelrad Beer Garden, Houston, TX

Alexrad Beer Garden has an expansive patio where you can sit with your best buddy and enjoy one of their 31 beers on tap, including (as of this writing) Art Car IPA, Hop Stoopid, Fancy Lawnmower, Juicy Goodness, Firemans #4 Blonde Ale, Abide Stout-Russian Imperial, Pussy Wagon IPA and Nobility Stout – American Imperial/Double. And while they don’t serve food, you can order from Luigi’s Pizzeria right next door and enjoy it in Alexrad’s beautiful garden, which is planted with different native, regional, and heirloom plants. They also host guest food trucks, film screenings, live music and festivals. Relaxing and subtlety upscale, Alexrad’s is not your father’s beer garden.

Westbrae Biergarten, Berkeley, CA

Sit in this pet friendly beer garden and enjoy a delicious meal, which could include their Carnitas Rice Bowl, Chicken Chipotle Sandwich, or Pedro’s Favorite Tri Tip Salad (with tri tip, lettuce, carrots, tomato, jalapeno, pineapple, olives, corn, onions, and cilantro-garlic sauce). Like Alexrad’s they also invite guest food trucks to broaden the menu.  And, of course, they serve California craft ales on eight rotating taps. To keep it traditional, you can drink your beer from their 1-liter German-style steins or try a flight of different tastings. They also offer hard ciders, mead, and house-made sangrias in addition to other more standard wine selections. And we love that they’re big on giving back to the community by supporting local businesses and animal causes, including the ARF Animal Rescue Foundation and Canine Companions for Independence. Now that’s our kind of beer garden!

With dog at beer garden

Biercamp, Ann Arbor, MI

Biercamp calls themselves a “Meat Shop & Microbrewery,” producing all their own artisan meats and small batch beers; it’s also a pet friendly beer garden. It’s the perfect destination, then, for man and beast alike. Biercamp only works with farms which treats animals humanely, using no antibiotics, hormones or artificial ingredients. Their beers are all brewed in-house and can be had by the pint or half pint at their outdoor beer garden. Current beer offerings include Vienna IPA, Saison, Double IPA and Belgian Brown. Food offerings include house-made sausages and jerky of all types, burgers, ribs, steaks and banana pudding. They were named one of the top 25 food destinations in America by Sports Illustrated.

Austin Beer Garden and Brewing Company, Austin, TX

Their motto is: Beer Makes it Better. And if you add dogs to that mix, Better becomes Great. And since it’s a pet friendly beer garden—with good food and live music—we’re just going to embrace this compliment fest and say that the Austin Beer Garden and Brewing Company is Friggin’ Awesome! With six mainstay beers (Hell Yes, Industry, Day Trip, Superliner, Big Mama Red and Rocket 100) as well as four other “sometimes” beers, you’ll be sure to find something you like. We especially appreciate when they’re serving up APA!APA #11 Idaho 7, a single hopped American Pale, not only because it’s delicious but also because it’s brewed to benefit Austin Pets Alive Long Stay Dogs. This series of beer has so far raised over $45,000 for the cause. To that we say, Cheers!

people and dog at beer garden
Having fun at a Parks on Tap beer garden.

VBGB Beer Hall and Garden, Charlotte, NC

According to VBGB, they are a “contemporary take on beer gardens from around the world.” With a dog-friendly patio (Charlotte’s largest and tented from fall to spring), 30 craft beers on tap, and a Frost Rail (5 inches of ice going down the 72’ bar), we have to agree. Most entrees are under $10 and are a mix of German fare, traditional bar food, and healthy alternatives.

Constitution Yards, Wilmington, DE

A pet friendly beer garden along the Christina Riverwalk in Wilmington, it boasts a 30,000 square foot patio with plenty of room for backyard games such as bocce, badminton and a full sized whiffle-ball field (we like that). It offers a mix of snacks (waffle fries, baby back ribs), salads (Cobb and Caprese), sandwiches (Vietnamese sausage and cheddarwurst), as well as great desserts. And, with 10 draft beers, 21 canned beers as well as draft wine and canned cocktails, you certainly should be able to slake your thirst.

Finally, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Fairmount Park Conservancy and FCM Hospitality offers perhaps the most novel take on pet friendly beer gardens with the Parks on Tap program, which brings traveling beer gardens to different parks throughout the summer. They provide great food, beer on tap, wine and snacks as well as comfortable chairs and hammocks (we like hammocks!) so that you can enjoy your favorite beverage in a beautiful surrounding.  They even have a program called Barks on Tap where beer gardens are set up at various dog parks around the city on Thursday afternoons in July and August.

To our way of thinking, there is no better way to spend a summer afternoon than sitting in a beautiful shaded garden or patio with friends (both human and canine), sipping on our favorite beverages (whatever they may be) and watching the world slip leisurely by. We highly suggest you and your dog(s) do the same.

 

Hotel Chains that Welcome Large Dogs

Traveling with a large dog can be challenging. Certainly, if you’re planning to fly, there are a host of issues you need to take into consideration, including being separated for the duration of the flight and hoping that your dog is coping with the altitude as well as being alone in the cargo area of the plane. But even if you stay earthbound, you still need to do your homework to find hotel chains that welcome large dogs. Many of us at Petswelcome are large dog owners and we are sympathetic to what’s involved when heading out with your big ol’ buddy. To that end we have dedicated a page on our site to finding hotels that will welcome him with open arms. You can also use our Petswelcome Passport program to input the weight of your dog and save it so that anytime you return to find a lodging, you won’t have to wade through tons of hotels that only allow small dogs.

It’s also good to become familiar with hotel chains that welcome large dogs across the board, as opposed to those with different pet policies for each property. That comes in handy if, for example, you’re driving late at night with your big dog and need to find a hotel but are not sure they’ll accept your pet. If you see a La Quinta or a Candlewood Suites, for example, you can be pretty sure you’ll have a place to stay.

Obviously, it depends how big your dog is but we’re judging any animal over 75 pounds as a large dog. Some of the chains we list allow dogs up to 80 pounds so they’re not going to accept really big dogs, but they probably won’t have a scale on hand so if your dog is 100 pounds you’ll likely get him in. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so we recommend double-checking with the hotel ahead of time to make sure. Still, it’s nice to know that these brands are making the effort to provide peace of mind and a good night’s sleep for large dog owners (and their dogs) everywhere.

Here are some pet friendly chains that allow large dogs:

Candlewood Suites

Owned by InterContinental Hotel Group, Candlewood Suites allows pets up to 80 pounds and charge a fee of $25 for the first night and $10 for additional nights not to exceed $150.

Kimpton Hotels

Talk about pet friendly, Kimpton, an upscale boutique hotel chain with 70 properties, tops everyone with their pet policy, which is: If your pet fits through the door, we’ll welcome them. Enough said.

Pet friendly La Quinta
Great option for larger dogs.

La Quinta Inns & Suites

La Quinta’s official policy is “Cats and dogs are accepted in all guest rooms (unless prohibited by law). Up to two pets allowed per room. No fees or deposits are required.” And while they don’t state a size limit, we’ve found that La Quinta is one of the most pet-friendly medium-priced chains out there and almost all of their properties accept large dogs.

My Place Hotel

My Place Hotels

My Place Hotels is a relatively a new chain that is rapidly expanding. Their pet policy is as follows: “Max number of pets per room: 2; Max allowable weight of pet: 80 pounds. We understand the relationship that our guests have with their pets, which is why we are pleased to accommodate you and your pets with minimal boarding costs. Nightly: $10 nonrefundable nightly fee not to exceed $50; Weekly: $50 nonrefundable weekly fee not to exceed $100; Monthly: $100 nonrefundable monthly fee.”

Red Roof Inn

Red Roof Inns allow one well-behaved pet per room allowed. No fees or deposits. All sizes welcome. Guest must notify front desk upon arrival and guest is liable for all damages. In consideration of all guests, pets must never be left unattended in the guest room.

Staybridge Suites allows larger dogs

Staybridge Suites

Also owned by Intercontinental Hotel Group, Staybridge has the same size policy as Candlewood Suites but with a different pet fee: Max weight: 80 pounds, with nonrefundable fee of $75 for 1 to 6 nights, or $150 for 7 or more nights. Additional fees may apply if excessive cleaning or repair is required. Pet Policy Agreement must be signed at check in. Vaccination records must be available upon request.

Also, be sure to check out Inns, Bed & Breakfasts and nonchain affiliated hotels, too. Since many of the proprietors are pet owners themselves, they can be the most pet friendly lodgings out there.  Some great examples are the Seahawk Inn & Villas, in Atlantic Beach, NC; Land’s End at Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach, OR; and Fairbanks Inn, St. Johnsbury, VT,  all of which have no weight restrictions.

 

Therapy Dogs Go to College to Help Students

Certified pet therapy dogs are a common sight in hospitals and nursing homes but a more recent occurrence is the appearance of therapy dogs on campuses cross the United States. But it makes total sense: students away from home for the first time coupled with collegiate academic stress, particularly during exams, equals an incredible amount of anxiety that normally would have no outlet. By bringing therapy dogs on campus, administrators are providing a tail-wagging mountain of fur to diffuse that tension, in the best face-licking way possible.

therapy dog at Swarthmore College
Izzy, therapy dog and member of the staff at Swarthmore College’s Health and Wellness Center

One example is Swarthmore College and Izzy, a standard poodle and the newest addition to the staff of the the college’s health and wellness center. Izzy has open office hours three days a week when students can come down and get a daily dose of canine comfort; Izzy is also available for private one-on-one sessions.

 

Remington the therapy dog at University of North Carolina
Remington, who helps injured athletes on the UNC baseball team with their physical therapy

At University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, therapy dogs take another path, to the clubhouse. In 2017, a young golden retriever named Remington was added to the baseball team’s roster. Remington is certified both as a Medical Alert Assistance Dog and as a Rehabilitative Facility Dog. He is there to help injured athletes with their physical therapy as well as to provide emotional support. He is now a familiar sight in the dugout during games (as well as standing at attention during the “Star Spangled Banner” with his hat in this mouth), and in addition to providing oodles of comfort, he’s learned the invaluable trick of opening the refrigerator to fetch bottles of Gatorade for players.

MIT has brought the training of therapy dogs on campus with their MIT Puppy Lab. Led by students, this initiative connects with local pet owners and offers their canines therapy dog certification workshops. Once these pups have graduated, they become part of Puppy Lab teams that regularly visit the campus to provide much needed decompression. And honestly, you don’t even have to be there to get the benefit; just scroll through the photos of the members of their therapy teams and you’ll feel better!

And if you’re visiting students at any of these colleges, be sure to use Petswelcome so you can bring along the best therapy dog ever, your own!

 

 

Visit Dog-Friendly Cambridge, Massachusetts

Longfellow Bridge

Boston is one of Petswelcome’s favorite cities in the U.S. but dog-friendly Cambridge, Massachusetts, located to the north of Boston, just across the Charles River, deserves special attention. Cambridge is home to two of America’s most prestigious educational institutions, Harvard and MIT, both of which have lovely campuses you can stroll through with your pup in tow. If you’re not staying right in Cambridge, both are easy to access by public transportation, using the Red Line of the MBTA and getting off at either the Harvard or Kendall/MIT stop. You and your pup are welcome to use Boston’s subway system, except during rush hour; keep your canine on a leash, off the seats, and away from the doors for his safety and fellow travelers’ comfort.

Both Harvard and MIT are close to the Charles River, which should be a destination for your and your canine. A wonderful way to see dog-friendly Cambridge and Boston from both sides of the river is to walk across Longfellow Bridge (above) from Kendall Square, then along the Esplanade, with its beautiful views of the river, and then cross back over on Harvard Bridge, which will lead you right into the heart of Harvard Square. All together it is about a 3-mile walk. As you walk, you’ll pass the boathouses for the men’s and women’s crewing teams for Harvard and MIT. Time it right, and you might be able to catch one of the teams racing or practicing on the Charles.

If your pet has had enough of the leash and needs some crazy-run-around-dog time, take him to one of Cambridge’s off-leash dog parks. Convenient to MIT is the Pacific Street Dog Park at 29 Tudor Street. Your pup can cool down in its water play area while you sit on one of the shaded benches to relax for bit.

raw oysters from The Red House Restaurant in dog-friendly Cambridge, Massachusetts
Enjoy the daily raw bar specials on the pet-friendly patio at The Red House Restaurant in Cambridge, MA

Dog-friendly Cambridge it chockfull of wonderful restaurants and bars that will welcome you and your best friend. One of our favorites is The Red House Restaurant, located in a renovated historic home that dates back to 1802. It has a secluded pet-friendly patio with a full canopy overhead for cooling shade. Red House is open for lunch and dinner and offers daily raw bar specials.

Another favorite spot is The Automatic, at 50 Hampshire Street. The menu is fantastic and they’ve got an expansive dog-friendly outdoor seating area with umbrella tables. Try one of their creative cocktails, like the refreshing Tommy Noble, made with gin, Pimm’s lemon and bitters, or Mudslide, described on the menu simply as “frozen awesomeness.” If you get hungry, there are so many tasty options on the menu it’ll be hard to choose but how about their Parmesan-dusted Freaky Fries, which come with roasted bone marrow for dipping? Or their Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich? Or maybe the Crispy Shrimp and Pork Dumplings?

The Bar by the Elevator in dog-friendly Cambridge, Massachusetts
Your and your best friend will love the fun party vibe at pet-friendly The Bar by the Elevator

And since you’re in a college town, no trip would be complete with a bar run. We love The Bar by the Elevator, at 1 Kendall Square. Call it a long-term seasonal pop-up, with umbrella tables and a tiki bar, it is open when weather is permitting. It’s pet friendly and the vibe is fun and friendly. You’ll find Negroni and rose wine on tap, as well as a concoction they call Froze (frozen rose).

Finally, there are tons of pet-friendly lodging options, whether you want to stay right in Cambridge or across the Charles in Boston. But wherever you decide to stay, let Petswelcome be your guide to pet-friendly travel.