With approximately one-third of households in the US owning a dog or a cat, or both, businesses and communities across the country are offering an array of pet-friendly services. These services run the gamut from a shopkeeper placing a water bowl in front of their shop to large cities dedicating significant portions of their parks and recreation budgets to the pet-oriented citizen. In fact, some cities have purposely sought to cater to pet-friendly visitors wishing to include their family pet in their family vacation.

There really is no limit anymore to the type and number of services available to the pet-oriented consumer. In many areas, we can now take our pets with us wherever we go and receive pet-related goods and services right alongside ones for humans. When planning a trip with your pet or seeking local activities, with a little research and some planning, you can find pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, campgrounds and RV parks that your family and furry friend will enjoy.

Explore the internet

It’s astonishing how often people will use the web to find things across the globe but will neglect it as a resource in their own neighborhoods. Most municipalities and virtually all businesses have some sort of web presence these days.This is the first and most important resource when looking for pet-related services in your community and abroad.

Expand your search by checking not only your local city’s website and those of businesses in your area, but also pet-related organizations, rescue groups and breed fancier websites if you have a specific breed. Be sure to check local hobby groups and reviews of local businesses (a good way to find out if a local restaurant is truly dog friendly is by reading what other customers think about it). If you and your pet participate in a particular activity such as Frisbee-dog or agility training, there are probably organizations in your area with some sort of web presence.

Keep at it. New websites go live everyday and new businesses open in your area all the time. Frequent, quality web searches are the best tools for searching for services for you and your pet in your area.

Finding pet-friendly hotels and restaurants

The two most commonly sought pet-friendly services are hotels and restaurants.Finding a pet-friendly hotel or restaurant on your own can be difficult and frustrating. One such website is http://www.dogfriendlyhotels.org/ with a great deal of accurate information and other resources for finding pet-friendly services. They offer many search options including “search by hotel chain” as well as car rental services. They list services for the budget conscious as well as the big spender.

Some areas have laws against pets, except assistance animals, inside restaurants. Often restaurants that wish to cater to pet-oriented clientele in these areas will have a front or back patio specifically for patrons who wish to bring their pets. I know of one restaurant in Southern Californiahttp://www.parkbenchcafe.com/ that is located within a public park. They lease a portion of grassy area near the restaurant and have many tables there for diners with pets. They even have a dog-friendly menu with things like canine cookies, hot dogs, ground meat and vanilla ice cream for their canine customers

Campgrounds & RV parks

Driving remains one of America’s favorite ways to get around this wonderful country. Increasingly, people are driving campers and RVs specifically so that they can bring their animal companions when they travel. This created the need for pet-friendly campgrounds and RV parks. Today many campgrounds and RV parks cater to campers with pets. As with all the other categories, campgrounds and RV parks cater to all budgets, types of pets and offer a wide range of amenities.

The information age has been very good for pet lovers. Today we have more access to information and people who share our passion for animals than at any other time. We also have more opportunity to go more places and do more things with our pets than ever before. How fortunate we are that, with a little effort searching in the right places and ways, we have more access to goods and services for our pets and ourselves.