Image: Best Friends Pet Care
An employee plays with the pets at the Best Friends Pet Care center in White Plains, New York. A new facility is set to open within the Disney complex on Aug. 27.
updated 8/4/2010 12:08:16 PM ET 2010-08-04T16:08:16

Pluto never had it so good: The next major attraction to open at Walt Disney World won't be for the kids — it will be for the dogs.

Best Friends Pet Resort, scheduled to open Aug. 27, will offer not just boarding, but also bedtime stories and a water park for dogs.

The luxury facility will accommodate way more than 101 Dalmatians. With more than 50,000 square feet of space, half of it outdoors, it has room for 270 dogs, 30 cats and assorted other animals, including birds, potbellied pigs and small mammals like hamsters and guinea pigs. (Sorry, no turtles, snakes or lizards.)

Standard indoor boarding for dogs runs $37 nightly. For additional fees, you can get services like doggy play group or bedtime stories for pooches accustomed to snuggling up with children while a parent reads aloud. (On the Best Friends reading list: "The Poky Little Puppy.")

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Upgrades for dogs include vacation villas with outdoor patios and flat-screen TVs for watching videos like "Homeward Bound" ($59), or 226-square-foot luxury suites ($76) with private outdoor play yards and personal pet concierges.

Cats can choose between two- and four-story condos.

In addition to the water park, Best Friends offers play groups, outdoor runs, walking trails and areas for playing ball or Frisbee.

Pets can be left for the day without overnight boarding, and owners can drop by to visit or play on their way from hotels to the park.

"We know that people who bring their pets with them to Disney want to see their pets," said Deb Bennetts, spokeswoman for Best Friends, which operates more than 40 pet-boarding facilities around the U.S. "If they were simply going to board their pet, they would board their pet at home. They want to see and interact with their pet while at the resort, so we've made it easy for them to do that with all of this wonderful outdoor space."

The Best Friends resort will replace five existing kennels at Disney World and will be located on Bonnet Creek Parkway within the Disney complex directly across from the Port Orleans resort.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Disney around the World

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Video: Tips for safe summer travel with pets

  1. Transcript of: Tips for safe summer travel with pets

    LESTER HOLT, co-host: This morning on TODAY'S PETS , something a lot of families are thinking about as the summer travel season gets into full swing, taking their pets with them on vacation. Pet expert Andrea Arden joins us this morning with some tips for traveling with your pets. She's also a dog sitter this morning, trying to take care of the dog in the next part of this segment, but let's first -- he was in the car seat . We're going to talk about car seats and travel. Will you stay in there, already?

    Ms. ANDREA ARDEN (Pet Expert): Stay in there.

    HOLT: But before we get to that, I want to talk about folks who are going to take their animals by airplane this summer...

    Ms. ARDEN: Yes.

    HOLT: ...and what they need to know.

    Ms. ARDEN: Well, I think the most important thing you need to consider is that obviously everywhere in the country it's probably pretty warm, so you really shouldn't plan to make air travel trips with your pet if it's very hot. If you have to, then you should make sure to plan a flight early in the morning or later in the evening. It can go into a carrier into the seat in front of you. They have to be under 20 pounds. If they can't fit under the seat in front of you, they can fly as baggage, but you have to be on the flight with them.

    HOLT: OK.

    Ms. ARDEN: That usually costs somewhere between 100 and $150 each way. If you're not on the flight with them, then they can go as cargo. But in any of those cases, it's really best to make sure that you plan a flight that is a nonstop flight to decrease the chance that your pet could be lost.

    HOLT: And a couple of the tips that you have in mind for folks who are flying their animals.

    Ms. ARDEN: One of the most important things is make sure you put something on the carrier, the crate that clearly identifies which flight your pet is on. Put their name on there so that whoever is helping to handle them really sort of feels connected to them.

    HOLT: Right.

    Ms. ARDEN: I put my dog's name on there to make sure they know that there's a live animal in there who is important to somebody. Bring with you a first aid kit, bring some wipes, everything you think that you might need to make sure that your pet is safe and well taken care of, and ID is really, really important.

    HOLT: Right. Of course.

    Ms. ARDEN: All right.

    HOLT: Let's move on down to our little problem area here right now. In the car, you know, we've see -- we see dogs in the window, in the passenger seat flopping around the car. It's a danger to them and to you as well, right?

    Ms. ARDEN: It really is. You know, it's just like with kids. You want to make sure that they're safe and secure. It's one of the most important things about car travel with your pets. You can get a little booster seat like this one, which has a little connector.

    HOLT: All right. And you would go in there.

    Ms. ARDEN: So you can connect them. Yes.

    HOLT: OK.

    Ms. ARDEN: And -- or you can get a little doggy seat belt ...

    HOLT: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. ARDEN: that they're connected to the actual seat belt in the car, but it's a harness...

    HOLT: Right.

    Ms. ARDEN: that it connects through their whole body and keeps them safe.

    HOLT: What do you think of that, huh? You're not going to stay in there.

    Ms. ARDEN: I like it.

    HOLT: I'll let you walk around with me, but that way we get the idea. All right.

    Ms. ARDEN: Yeah. The important thing about that is that it not only keeps your pet safe, but you -- because you don't want them wandering around the car and potentially distracting you.

    HOLT: Right. Some other things to bring along.

    Ms. ARDEN: You know, I think sometimes people forget that you have to bring a good amount of food, enough for the entire trip, because if you change the food on the trip, your pet could get a tummy ache.

    HOLT: Yeah.

    Ms. ARDEN: And you don't want to deal with that at home, but certainly not on the road. Bring lots of toys that will keep your pet busy because a lot of pets, you know, even if they're well-socialized and they're friendly, traveling can be stressful. So you want to make sure that they have stuff to play with to keep them busy.

    HOLT: I have a dog that gets motion sick. Is there anything you can do about that?

    Ms. ARDEN: You know, the best thing to do is to make sure you take lots of little trips to places that you think your dog would like. For example, to the dog park . Most animals go in the car only to go to the vet or the groomer.

    HOLT: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. ARDEN: So you could also use some of these things that are calmatives like Content-Eze , the Good Behavior Collar . There's also this wonderful Vet's Best, which is a calmative made specifically for traveling and it's herbal. These things might help, but ultimately the thing that's most important is making sure that you get your pet ready for travel at home before you take them really on the road for a long trip.

    HOLT: All right. Andrea Arden , thanks very much.

    Ms. ARDEN: Thank you.

    HOLT: And, you know, our friend, all he wanted was a little companionship.

    Ms. ARDEN: Yes. Yes.

    HOLT: You're fine now.

    Ms. ARDEN: And they can find companions if people come down to Animal Haven shelter to adopt them.


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