Pet Peeve: Pet Does Not Mean Dog

Do you have pet peeves? I don’t really have anything I would call a pet peeve because if something bothers me, I try to ignore it and move on. No point in wasting energy on something I probably can’t change. However, lately, one thing is becoming a “pet” peeve for me and that thing is the way people use the word pet when they really mean dog.

Pet Peeve: Pet Does Not Mean DogDon’t get me wrong. I love dogs. I have had many over the years and am a sucker for every dog or puppy I meet. I just don’t currently have one. For me, cats fit my current lifestyle better and that’s what brings me to my pet peeve.

I recently attended the BlogPaws pet blogging conference in Chandler, AZ. I wanted to take my cat, Christy Paws (who is the star of her own blog) with me. I wanted to take her last year when the conference was in Nashville but it just didn’t work out. This year, a photo on her blog was nominated for a Nose-to-Nose Award so I thought it would be especially fun to have her there.

I decided to drive for a couple of reasons, but the main one was that I wanted to stop in Orange County to take care of some business and visit some friends. I decided to stay there two nights in each direction.

What Does Pet Friendly Mean?

I started looking for a pet friendly hotel through Sounds easy, right? Well, it should be. Their website is packed full of info with a great listing of hotels.

I started calling hotels in the area where I wanted to stay. Go Pet Friendly says pet policies change so to confirm with each hotel.

That’s when the fun began and this pet peeve began taking shape. One after one, even though they claimed to be “pet” friendly, said they do not accept cats. In fact, the only “pets” they accept are dogs. Then why don’t you say you are dog friendly and save those of us with other pets some phone calls? One even went so far as to say they only accept service dogs. Um, excuse me, that’s the law, that’s not even dog friendly.

Have you seen the Trivago ad about the pet friendly hotel and the rabbit convention? That really hit home for me that there are other traveling pets out there.

Pet Peeve: Just what does pet friendly mean?After a few frustrating phone calls to hotels, I contacted a friend who often travels with her cat, and asked her for a recommendation. I called both Red Roof Inn and La Quinta Inns and Suites. I wasn’t happy with the customer service from Red Roof Inn’s general manager so decided on La Quinta Inns and Suites in Santa Ana. They were over the top friendly, helpful and welcoming to all pets.

My Pet Peeve

This trend of pet means dog isn’t limited to pet friendly hotels. I’ve seen pet photo contests that were just for dogs, pet food that is dog food, and pet product suppliers that only have things for dogs.

So, my pet peeve is this: When did pet become synonymous for dog? If you look up synonyms for dog, pet is not one of them. A pet is any domestic or tamed animal or bird that is kept for companionship or pleasure — not just dogs. Using pet when you mean dog can be frustrating and confusing to pet parents of pets other than dogs. It’s OK to say dog when you mean dog.

If you own cats or other pets, have you experienced this? Am I the only one who has noticed or is frustrated by it?

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  1. Yes, and I’ve learned at this point not to ask. If they say “pets allowed,” I just show up with my cat. If they have a problem with it, it’s too late, and they shouldn’t have misrepresented their preference on their listing. They can change it for future, but they said pets, so I brought my pets, and I’m staying.

    Saying “pets” when you mean “dogs” is not okay. Stop treating it as a “bad habit.” Call it what is is – blatantly lying.

    • I am running into the same issue right now. My Maine Coon Maddie is leash trained and hikes with me all the time, she loves streams and nature. I want to take her on a trip and it’s SO frustrating to see pet friendly when in fact that means dogs only. Thank you for your comment, and that’s exactly what I will do in the future!

  2. My husband and I both love cats and we have had at least one cat pet our entire married lives. We have not owned a dog, not that I dislike dogs, we just don’t want to own one.
    Your pet peeve is also my pet peeve!! Whenever people talk about having pet this or pet that, they typically just mean DOG, and I find it very annoying. It’s especially true when you go to a website or store that supposedly has “pet” products. You go inside and it’s an entire store of dog products. If you ask where is the cat stuff, either they have a tiny dusty display in a back corner with three cat items on it, or say, oh we really don’t have many (read any) cat things, Sorry! Some places insist their dog items are also for cats. Right, my cat just loves big rawhide bones!
    We have found this trend of using the word “pet” as a synonym for “dog” much more common in recent years.

  3. Oh how sad! I agree that there are many different pets! I have not seen that trivago commercial so I will have a look at that. Best of luck next time traveling with your kitty!

  4. Pingback: Traveling with Your Pet - Before You Go - Savvy Pet Care

  5. I Agree with you Pet is not the meaning of Dog.

    I love both dogs and cats, probably most people are more familiar with the dog as a pet because dogs often found around them.However, it does not mean the dog is more popular. I think it’s just the perception, and it is true for cat lovers it would bother if the pet is always equated as dogs. just my 2 cents 🙂

  6. Just wondering if I was to walk to the front desk of a hotel to check in with my pet – a 4 foot snake, would they accept this as a “pet?” HMMM! I don’t think so!

  7. Oh, you know this makes us mad! Pet friendly should mean ALL pets are welcome!

  8. That’s a very good point you bring up! I have never thought about that, as I don’t travel with my pets (and I am referring to my dog and cats). But it does seem a simple verbiage change to say dog friendly. I was recently helping someone search for an apartment and they DID make it clear if dogs or cats or both were allowed, which was very helpful. They never just said pets.

  9. That’s interesting, I can imagine your frustration. I haven’t experienced that. If an Establishment only accepts dogs it should be clear, however I’m guessing hotels need to say “Pet” friendly that is probably how hotels are categorized on hotel aggregator sites, either Pet friendly or not. There’s likely a search aspect to the phrase Pet Friendly as well. It should be clear somewhere on their web site what types of pets they accept though.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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