Traveling With Pets

Cat Boarding
Choosing Dog Kennels to Board Your Dog
Dog Sitting Services
How to Choose Pet-Friendly Hotels
Pet Daycare
Pet Kennels: Choose Wisely
Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains
The Best Pet-Friendly Hotels

Tip #93: Cat Boarding

Here’s what to look for when considering a cat boarding facility:

Cat lays down
  • First, cats don't like to board with other cats, so the facility should have separate areas for each animal.
  • The individual areas should be roomy enough for the cat to stretch and move around. Your cat will also need an exercise area to run and jump, especially if he will be boarding for more than a day.
  • Many cat boarding facilities offer "condos" or other special rooms that contain large cat trees where the animal can exercise in comfort. This is a good thing.
  • Your cat should always have a clean litter box and enough food and water throughout the day.
  • The staff must be trained in health care and illness detection, and there should always be access to a veterinarian.
  • Before you choose a cat boarding provider, check with your veterinarian’s office because they may offer boarding in addition to pet care.

Tip #94: Choosing Dog Kennels to Board Your Dog

It's hard to leave your dog behind when you travel, but sometimes it has to be done. Before you choose a dog kennel there are several things to consider:

Man hugs dog
  • First, you must be sure your pet’s vaccination schedule is up to date. Be prepared to show the boarding kennel proof of vaccination. Never board your dog in a kennel that does not ask for proof of vaccination. 
  • Tour the facility before you make a reservation for your dog. Most dog kennels will welcome a visit; if they don't, look for another facility. 
  • The facility should be clean and odor-free. There should not be any signs of rodents, insects or feces. 
  • Examine the size of the kennels and make sure they are adequate for the dogs inside. 
  • Watch the behavior of the staff and the other pets in the facility. Is the staff kind, friendly and willing to answer questions? Do the animals seem sad or happy?
  • Find out if the staff is qualified to notice signs of distress or illness in your pet and if the facility has access to a veterinarian in case of emergencies.

If anything makes you uneasy, look for other dog kennels in your area.

Tip #95: Dog Sitting Services

Two dogs run on a leash

If you must travel for long periods and leave your pets at home, there are dog sitting services that can help during your absence. But before you choose just any dog sitting service, remember that you'll be handing over your keys to a stranger. Therefore you should make sure the company is reputable. It must be licensed and bonded, and their employees should have undergone background checks. References ought to be readily available.

Using dog sitting services makes sense if you're going to be gone for quite a while or if your dog has special health care needs (such as taking medications throughout the day). Check with your veterinarian to see if she can provide the names of qualified and trustworthy dog sitting services.

Tip #96: How to Choose Pet-Friendly Hotels

As more pet owners insist on travelling with their precious companions, more hotels and motels are allowing pets in their rooms. However, before you take a vacation with the whole family, there are some things you should look for in pet-friendly hotels.

Two dogs sit in a car trunk
  • Does it cost extra for your pet? Some hotels charge a deposit or additional fees for animals to stay in the room.
  • Reserve a room on the ground floor so you can take your pet outside as often as necessary.
  • Find out if the hotel has a leash policy (e.g. your pet must be on a leash at all times).
  • Make sure the hotel is still pet friendly before your get there. Some hotels may have changed their policies about pets but are still listed on pet-friendly Web sites. Understand and confirm the policies before you take your pet along for the ride!

Remember, your pet should be properly vaccinated and be taking a heartworm preventive medication prior to going on vacation with you.

Tip #97: Pet Daycare

Golden retriever puppy sleeps

If you work long hours or have to be away from home often, pet daycare may be the perfect solution for you. At most pet daycare centers the dogs must be healthy and vaccinated, as well as prescreened to make sure they'll get along with the other dogs in the group.

Look for pet attendants who are licensed and safety-trained, flexible drop-off and pick-up times and a clean facility with enough room for the dogs to play and enjoy themselves. Most pet daycare centers require that pets be at least five months of age and are neutered or spayed. Choose a pet daycare program in which your pet feels happy and secure so that you can go about your day with the comfort of knowing he is in good hands.

Dog food bowl and leash

Tip #98: Pet Kennels: Choose Wisely

Not all pet kennels are created equal. The Better Business Bureau reports that more people are complaining about pet kennels than ever before.

You should always ask for references and make a visit before you choose a pet kennel. Sometimes particular kennels develop a bad reputation in the local pet community, so ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. If you have any questions about pet kennels in your area, check with your local Better Business Bureau before you choose pet kennels for boarding your pets.

Tip #99: Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains

City skyline

During the last few years, more big hotel chains have become pet-friendly. Even a decade ago, it would have been difficult to bring your pet along on vacation, but now you'll find dozens of pet-friendly options.

Some of the largest pet-friendly hotel chains include Clarion, Days Inn, Holiday Inn, La Quinta, Marriott, Motel 6, Rodeway Inn and Staybridge Suites. If you're not sure whether your preferred hotel chain accepts pets, check its Web site or call the reservations department. To encourage pet-friendly hotel chains adding more pet-friendly locations in the future, make sure you follow their rules and are a sensible, considerate pet owner when you travel.

Tip #100: The Best Pet-Friendly Hotels

Dog sits on fancy bed

The best pet-friendly hotels don't just offer you and your family a cozy place to rest your head for the night. They make your pets comfortable, too. These hotels offer day activities so your pets can enjoy the vacation as much if not more than the rest of the family.

Pet-friendly hotels offer pet beds and pet treat baskets in the room along with pet room service. Some offer pet sitters, walkers and veterinary care if it's necessary. You can find a few that offer pet "spa" packages that groom and pamper your pet. Combine that with special meals, toys and even designer dog wear from pet friendly shops, and you'll find that hotels are catering to pets like never before. The next time you go on vacation, don't forget to bring along your treasured pets for the royal treatment.

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