Texas pet owners are increasingly traveling with their furry friends. In its 2014 Pet Owners Survey, the American Pet Products Association discovered 32 percent of dog owners travel with their pets when they leave town for more than two nights. For Texans, that’s no small number. By 2014 Census Bureau estimates, nearly 27 million people live in Texas, and the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates more than 35 percent of Texas households have at least one dog.
That’s a lot of dogs taking a lot of trips across Texas. Where do owners stay when they want to tote their dogs along to conferences, meetings and family vacations?
National chains La Quinta and Motel 6 have pet-friendly policies across all their hotels. Both companies have run advertising campaigns to appeal to pet owners, with La Quinta offering free pet visits and Motel 6 charging modest pet fees ranging from $10 to $50 per visit.
For pampered pooches, Texas also has a few luxury dog-friendly options with special amenities just for pets.
Emily Morgan Hotel, San Antonio
This historic DoubleTree by Hilton-owned hotel is the Official Hotel of the Alamo and the second most photographed building in San Antonio. Located just blocks from the River Walk, the hotel will allow small pets at the property. Barbara Silva, director of sales and marketing, says the hotel is considering a revamp of its pet program in the coming year. “We do allow pets up to 50 pounds with a $50 nonrefundable fee per stay,” Silva says.
The Emily Morgan Hotel is located near Madison Square Dog Park and McAllister Park, both offering ample space for exercise and play after a long day of meetings orsightseeing. Multiple pet grooming shops and doggie day care centers are in the area. The hotel’s website even lists dog-friendly restaurants within walking distance, where pets and owners can enjoy evening meals out on a patio.
The Driskill, Austin
In 2008, Animal Fair magazine chose The Driskill as its Cesar Five Dog Bone Award winner for Pet-Friendliest Hotel in Texas. Built in 1886, The Driskill is the oldest hotel in Austin and specializes in pampering small dogs less than 35 pounds.
“Austin is a pet-friendly city, so we wanted to be part of that,” says Jenna Reed, marketing manager for The Driskill. “[When you check in], you get a custom dog bed, doggie dish and map of Austin. It’s definitely a well-liked program. People like to travel with their pets.”
Canyon of the Eagles, Burnet, Hill Country
Dogs get special attention at Canyon of the Eagles resort. Not only are they treated to 940 acres of open land and more than 14 miles of trails to explore with their two-legged companions, but every day in August, pets are celebrated with pet-themed Dog Days of Summer.
“Each weekend in August we have authors, tips, hiking trips, dog treat recipe demonstrations and ‘yappy hour’ with dog-themed cocktails,” says Alisha Workman, director of sales and marketing for the resort.
Dogs are greeted with doggie treat baskets in August, and in August and September dogs stay free to make it easier for families to travel with their dogs. “Pets are part of the family,” Workman says, adding that the resort has hosted Dog Days of Summer events for five years. “Every year it gets better and better.”
Each year the Automobile Association of America publishes The AAA PetBook with hundreds of pet-friendly hotels and restaurants. When traveling with canine companions, the association recommends carrying a recent photo and vet records in case the dog wanders off. Also pack extra food and treats and a favorite blanket or bedding to ease your dog’s anxiety about being away from home.