Alison Sweeney Pledges to Help Pets Lose a Million Pounds

May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm , by

Alison and her pup Winky

Alison Sweeney spends a lot of time talking about healthy diet and weight loss (as host of The Biggest Loser and author of The Mommy Diet, it’s unavoidable!). But when her vet mentioned that her much-loved Boston terrier Winky was two pounds overweight, she balked.

“I thought, ‘Oh, great, she sounds fine,’ ” Sweeney says. “But then my vet made me realize that when your dog only weighs 20 pounds, two pounds is a lot. I really needed to take it seriously – our dogs count on us to be their owners and take charge.”

As America’s poster girl for healthy families, Sweeney certainly wasn’t going to leave her precious pooch in the lurch. By changing Winky’s diet and scheduling regular exercise, Sweeney was able to get Winky back to a healthy weight—and teach her six-year-old son Ben a few lessons to boot.

“I think Ben has learned a lot,” she says. “Most importantly, he’s seen that our responsibility as a pet owner is to take care of our pets. But also he saw firsthand the simplicity of healthy eating and exercise, and how that helps keep our bodies healthy. I have Ben note on the calendar the days we plan to take Winky for walks, and it’s become a big thing we can do as a family.”

And Sweeney’s not stopping at just her own family. Just last week she kicked off the Million Pound Pledge for pet food Hill’s Science Diet, a national campaign to help our chubby man’s best friends get healthier and (you guessed it) lose a million pounds. To take the pledge and jump-start your pet’s healthier lifestyle go to, where you’ll also find a bunch of fun interactive tools to track and learn more about Fido’s weight loss, and—bonus—some pet food rebates.

“It’s a great time to get your pet healthy,” Sweeney says—and we agree!

How To Find A Pet-Friendly Hotel

May 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm , by

n1198255326_30360605_4760162If you’ve ever tried to travel with your cat or dog, you know that it can be tricky to find hotels along your route (or at your destination) that accept your furry travel buddies. Whether it’s a vacation or a road trip to visit family, it’s important to do a little research before you leave to make sure your pet is welcome. First step: watch our adorable pet-friendly hotel review video with Sophie, assistant food editor Khalil Hymore’s super-cute pup. Ok it’s not really a necessary step, but it is a cute video so you should watch! Then use these tips to plan your trip.

* Most national chains have pet-friendly programs. We visited the Muse (part of the Kimpton group of hotels) and the Hilton New York. Both of these companies have pet-friendly hotels across the country. The key is to call the hotel at your specific destination to make sure they’ve opted in to the pet-friendly program (some don’t).

* Ask if there’s a fee for Fido to stay. Some hotels charge a flat rate and some fees are nightly. Prices vary, so definitely check before you book because you could save a bundle (or get stuck with some hefty “hidden costs”).

* Ask about what kind of amenities are provided for your pet. Some hotels hand out pet beds, bowls, treats and even super-cute toys. Some just accept pets but don’t provide any extras. The extras can, of course, be fun and convenient—but if you’re charged more for them they’re not always worth it.

* Find out what the policies and rules are. Lots of hotels with restaurants or bars attached don’t allow pets in those areas, and some hotels prefer that you keep pets in their carriers or on their leashes when you’re in public areas.

* Search online. There are several sites that help you pinpoint the right hotel for you and your pet. has a great database with amenity and fee info, plus websites and phone numbers. also has a good search.

* Last but not least, if you can’t find a traditional hotel at your destination, check out B&Bs and vacation home rentals. Policies are set by the individual owners but we’ve found that “mom and pop” places often welcome pets.