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Pet paradise: Top US cities for pet-friendly travel

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Dog in car

You'll find concierge service, gift baskets and gourmet treats, but they're not for you. They're for your pet. With more than 4,800 searches a month for pet-friendly vacations in the United States, hotels and vacation rentals are rolling out the red carpet for the furriest travelers to meet a growing demand for pet-friendly travel experiences.

Using data from Vrbo on pet-friendly accommodations in the 50 most populous cities in the United States, vacation experts from Family Destinations Guide uncovered the best destinations for travelers looking to bring along their four-legged friends. From beach towns to major cities, these U.S. cities are the best places to create lasting travel memories with your furriest travel companion.

Family Destinations Guide found that warm-weather cities in the south and southwest proved to be the most pet-friendly destinations for travelers in the United States. Cities in Texas, California and Florida largely swept the top spots, offering the most pet-friendly accommodations in the country:

1. Houston, Texas

2. Dallas, Texas

3. San Diego, California

4. Jacksonville, Florida

5. Orlando, Florida

6. San Antonio, Texas

7. Phoenix, Arizona

8. Los Angeles, California

9. Chicago, Illinois

10. New York, New York

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

12. Las Vegas, Nevada

13. Denver, Colorado

14. Austin, Texas

15. Seattle, Washington

Lone Star State a hot spot for pet parents

Houston proved to be the most pet-friendly travel destination in the United States, offering an astonishing 478 pet-friendly accommodation listings on Vrbo alone. For locals, it's no surprise. Visit Houston highlights pet-friendly spots on its website, including specific destinations, events and accommodations perfect for travelers bringing along their dogs.

Texas cities Dallas, San Antonio and Austin followed close behind on the list, with 470, 463, and 416 pet-friendly places to stay, respectively.

52% of pet owners only stay at accommodations that allow furry friends, and rental accommodations like Vrbo aren't the only ones getting in on the pet-friendly travel trend. Hotels are taking note in a big way.

In the pet-obsessed Dallas-Fort Worth area, Hotel Drover offers a dedicated "Happy Tails Concierge" to help guests navigate the hotel's ample pet-friendly amenities. From complimentary beds, bowls and leashes to arranging dog walking and grooming services to sharing recommendations on where to explore the area with a pet in tow, it's a dream for any pet parent.

Throwing travelers a bone

Many hotels are changing their policies to attract travelers and their furry companions. In the country's fifth most pet-friendly travel destination of Orlando, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa extends an invite to cats and dogs under 40 pounds. They launched the program for the first time last year.

"We also know how important and fun it is for people to travel with their pets," said Vibeke Sansone, director of sales and marketing for the resort, referencing recent trends toward pet-friendly travel.

The luxury property in Orlando's upscale Bonnet Creek neighborhood welcomes furry family members with a toy, water bowl and waste bags, offering designated pet-friendly areas.

Big cities, big amenities

While warm-weather destinations around the country came out ahead as the most pet-friendly destinations for travelers, larger northern cities also hold their own. Chicago and New York made the top 10 list, with 440 and 439 pet-friendly accommodation listings on Vrbo alone.

Especially in the winter, accommodations are getting more creative to make colder climates more comfortable for traveling pets and pet parents. New York's Crowne Plaza HY36 even offers a seasonal Coats For Canines program, making dog jackets available upon request at the front desk, a hit with travelers taking Fido along for Christmas in New York and beyond.

From dog parks to jet planes

If these pet amenities sound incredible, wait until you hear how luxury travelers are pampering their four-legged friends. After seeing an 86% uptick in the number of pet-related travel requests received over the last two years, VistaJet, a global private aviation company, introduced a VistaPet program for fliers.

The program includes training hostesses in pet vital signs, animal behavior and CPR procedures. Travelers can look forward to a special in-flight pet menu, handmade sleep mats and amenity kits complete with treats baked by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux for The Dog House. Pet parents know to spare no expense to pamper their furriest family member.

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