Give Big Dogs a Break!

By Leila Peverrett

Small dogs are lucky. They can ride inside the cabins of planes, they are accepted within many shops and businesses, and they can stay at more hotels than dogs which may weigh only a little more. Sure, they take up less room – but are they better behaved?

Some of the most popular breeds in America don’t have the luxury of going on vacation with the rest of the family because they are deemed “too big”. The majority of hotels that do allow dogs often have weight restrictions – in many cases only dogs less than 25 pounds are allowed. The reasoning behind this doesn’t seem to be based on anything except the perception that smaller dogs are less messy or threatening… but tell that to an angry Chihuahua!


The people behind (Amy and Rod Burkert) and (Leila Coe) have joined forces to help persuade hotels to lift their weight restrictions. They have started a grassroots campaign centered around the website and an online petition to gain support for their cause, with hopes of getting enough signatures to make a difference.


“Once we have several hundred signatures, we will start circulating the petition around to corporate offices of hotels. However, our first real goal is to get 1,000 signatures” said Leila Coe, a travel agent who specializes in pet travel. She runs her own pet travel website, which focuses on pet travel tips and information, as well as reviews of pet-friendly hotels and destinations based on her own experience with traveling with her small dog. “My dog is 17 lbs. so he’s too big for under-the-seat travel in planes but we can usually find places to stay with him because he is small. But I know a lot of people who automatically board their pets when going away, as it is so hard to find hotels that allow larger pets – which is just unfair.”


The Burkerts travel extensively with their two large dogs, “Buster,” a 70-pound German Shepherd and “Ty,” a 40-pound Shar-pei, doing research and writing a blog for their website. “Our whole life revolves around helping people find pet friendly accommodations and fun places to go with their pets, but our own dogs are not welcome in many hotels. We want to make it easier for people traveling with large dogs to find hotels so their dogs get to go on the family vacation, too!” said Amy Burkert.


Join the cause at  Follow @GoPetFriendly and @AndASmallDog on Twitter to receive campaign updates and find out other ways to help. There is also a Give Big Dogs A Break Facebook cause.