20 February 2016

Options to Bring Your Dog to Dinner - and Other Adventures - are Growing

More and more North American businesses are rolling out the red carpet to cater to customers AND their canine cohorts. From an art deco tour to ATV outings, historic walks, trolley rides, paddling adventures (dubbed 'sup with your pup') and beach-front or mountain-top resort lodgings – the list of possibilities for those wanting to hang with their hound are growing.

The Southern Nevada Health District doled out patio permits, (AKA, dog-friendly waivers) to make it possible for patrons to bring their pooch to dinner while ensuring rules are in place which include the low-down on what to do should the dogs, ahem, do their business.

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Las Vegas, requires basic manners from mutts (no biting, barking or begging) and offers entrees like grilled hamburger patties with brown rice and complimentary water for four-legged patrons served in bowls.

Across North America there are numerous dog-friendly locations (go to BringFido.com for a list) including numerous options in Canada.

Several years ago, Ranchman's Cookhouse in Calgary, Alberta, became the first drinking/dining establishment in Canada to open its doors to dogs who are welcome on the patio – owner, Harris Dvorkin, inspired to import the concept to after seeing it during U.S. travels to places like Las Vegas, Houston and New York.

The list of possible dog-friendly outings across North America doesn't end with dinner.

Want to travel with your dog? WestJet accepts birds, cats, chinchillas, dogs, Guinea pigs, hedgehogs and bunnies on its flights while Amtrak has a pilot program where small pets are allowed to ride in cabins, and a U.S. airport which has a terminal with a swimming pool for the pooch and stables for horses opening in 2016.

Wanting a fun vacation with your canine? Bars and restaurants in Key Largo, FL, take turns hosting Yappy Hour where dogs and owners can soak up the waterfront atmosphere and meet rescue dogs up for adoption, or there are wine tours in California.

Indeed, there are dozens of examples illustrating how rapidly the list of dog-friendly attractions is expanding across North America, says Becca Barnett, social media manager with BringFido.com. “We have a very busy call centre, especially during peak travel seasons,” Barnett told InfoStream. “There are over a million users a month and it's growing rapidly and there are many return users.”

Some of the options are interesting, to say the least. Some hotels cater specifically to pets, including one which hosts weddings “for a boy and girl dog to be married” and another with its in-house chef working with a certified veterinarian to create a doggie menu.

Dog-friendly establishments, from bakeries to pubs, seem to be more popular in Europe but Barnett says North America is increasingly Fido friendly. “While they are ahead of the curve, I would say things are changing,” she says. “As far as catching up, there are tonnes of things in the works right now. I think more and more we are realizing how intelligent animals are and travelling with them and sharing experiences increases the bond.”

By Nadia Moharib
Nadia Moharib is an animal lover who has adopted everything from birds to hamsters, salamanders, rabbits, fish and felines. She has written about all-things-pets for years and was a long-time editor of a pet magazine in a daily newspaper which featured a Q & A column, Ask Whit, penned by her pooch (ghost written, of course.) The serial dog owner lives in Calgary, Alberta and most days can be found at a dog park picking up after her rescue pooch, Scoots.

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