Image: www.strongholdphoto.com
Neil John Burger
The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago offers pooches their own bed, gourmet treats, and a water bowl (with bottled water to fill it) while they check out the city views from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
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updated 8/31/2010 3:30:47 PM ET 2010-08-31T19:30:47

Some lucky dogs not only go on vacation, they also get in-room massages, their own seasonal room service menu, and a welcome gift that they can chew on.

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A record 65 percent of American families now own a pet, and many are taking them on vacation. Last year, more than 15 million Americans traveled with their pets, and 8.5 million stayed more than three times in a pet-friendly hotel, according to Pet Friendly, Inc. Hotels are responding to these travelers with dog-friendly perks that provide dogs and their owners with winsome extras, like yoga classes and practical necessities, such as clean-up bags.

Slideshow: America's best dog-friendly hotels

According to Len Kain, cofounder of DogFriendly.com, a website that helps connect dog owners with the most welcoming properties, hotels are becoming increasingly accepting of dogs of all sizes. These dog-loving accommodations don’t just tolerate dogs, they embrace them with first-class services. “Luxury properties are creating their own high-end brand of products that appeal to both dogs and their owners,” he says.

Hope Schultz, who has been hitting the road for the last 12 years with her dog, Max, says that’s exactly what she likes about staying at a W Hotel. “They give you and your dog the same level of respect and are gracious whenever you make a dog-specific request.” Schultz, who is the editor in chief of Webvet.com, says that she and Max also like that they both get a treat on their pillows at night — and the fact that the hotel concierge can always lead her to a reputable dog-sitter.

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In addition to what is now considered standard fare at dog-friendly hotels — dog beds, dog bowls, etc. — certain properties are offering dogs the chance to have the same five-star experiences as their owners.

The Loews Coronado Bay Resort in California gives surfer dudes the chance to share the waves with their dogs during a doggy surfing lesson — a package that also includes doggy board shorts, a surf-and-turf dinner, and a copy of The Dog’s Guide to Surfing.

Mountain-loving dogs will no doubt enjoy the twice-daily hikes available at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Colo., especially since they can end their day with an in-room massage and light bath spritz. The Ritz-Carlton also provides an extensive room service menu with three sumptuous choices for dessert — including liver “kisses.”

After a stay in one of these canine-friendly retreats, your dog will be begging for more than leftovers when he gets home.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation

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