So strong and human-like is the bond between owners and their pets that many simply can't leave home without them. Airlines and hotels are working hard to cater to these traveling companions, offering special rooms and fares at an additional cost. Best Western, which lists nearly half of its 4,000 locations as pet friendly, recently ran a print advertisement showing two dogs waiting by a door, the words “Don't leave your best friend at home” printed above them.
Pet product manufacturers are also getting in on the act with an ever-expanding array of pet carriers, cages and beds. These range from utilitarian to Paris Hilton chic, with purses and colorful satchels built to hold small-breed dogs and cats. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer sells a car seat that also functions as a pet carrier for $35, while Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., offers a Jeep hot-pink urban dog carrier for $45.
At Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., sales of beds and carriers for pets who are on the go — as well as at home — are top sellers in the category.
“Pet training pads and our extended line of high-quality pet cages, carriers and beds are driving growth in the dog accessories category,” said spokeswoman Maria Brous.