Are you planning a pet friendly vacation this year? Well, you’re not alone. According to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of American households own a pet, and according to the latest report by Go Pet Friendly 51 percent of those pet owners planned on taking their four-legged family members on vacation. Pet Relocation reported that a staggering 90 percent of pet owners would change their travel plans to better accommodate their pets!
And why not? According to a 2015 Harris Poll, 95% of all pet owners consider their pets to be members of the family. So why on earth would they want to leave their furry family member out of the family vacation?
So, what are the things you should do and look for while planning your pet friendly vacation?
Find Pet Friendly Accommodations
Once you’ve decided where you’re going, the first thing you need to do is look for pet-friendly accommodations in that area. Thanks to sites like Bring Fido and DogFriendly.com, finding a dog-friendly hotel or Bed and Breakfast is much easier than it used to be!
However, to avoid the surprise of additional fees you weren’t aware of, finding yourself without items you should have brought with you or being chastised by the staff of where you will be staying for not following the rules, make sure you are fully aware of the pet policies, house rules and fees before you get there.
For example, the pet policies for the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed & Breakfast in Lawrenceville, Virginia includes a requirement that your pet must be crated in your room if you plan on leaving the property until you return and, while you are encouraged to explore the nature trails and historic outbuildings on the 29-acre property, you are also “required to clean up after your furry companions” or pay a “$10.00 ‘potty patrol’ fee.
Note to self… “Bring a crate and some of those little plastic bags.”
Oh… And while most hotels and B&Bs will charge you a cleaning fee of anywhere between $25.00 to $50.00 per dog – about the same as it would cost you to leave your dog at a boarding kennel -- you will avoid the stress and guilt of leaving your furry baby behind and getting “that look” when you leave. More importantly, if you bring your quadruped with you on vacation rather than dropping him or her off at a kennel, you will eliminate the risk of having your fur baby contract a communicable disease like kennel cough, canine distemper, canine influenza, canine parvovirus, ticks, fleas, mange or heartworm.
Ensure Proper ID:
While you don’t plan on having your beloved fur-face getting lost or separated from you on vacation, it does happen. Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and/or wearing a collar with your name and contact information on it… always. The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. Of those, only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. But with microchipped dogs the reunion rate was over 52 percent!
Pack the Pup Suitcase, too!:
Just as you would pack a suitcase for yourself or your kids when you go on a vacation, you need to do the same for the fur-child. Make sure you bring the leash, the favorite toys, the food and water bowls, the grooming tools and the bedding.
You also need to make sure your dog is up-to-date on shots and that you pack copies of all of the paperwork that can prove it. No doggy-daycare service can take in your animal if you cannot prove your dog has been properly vaccinated and if there is an emergency, having your dog’s vet information and health history will prove very helpful.
Prepare Your Pet for Travel:
If your pet has never been in a carrier or crate, and your accommodations require crating if you leave them alone in your room, it would be wise to acclimate your pet to the carrier or crate in the months or weeks preceding your trip. Taking the time to introduce crate newbies to the confined and unfamiliar space will reduce the odds of having you return to your hotel or B&B after some glorious outing to face the ire of the angry hotel guests who had to listen to the howling and barking of your protesting precious one the whole time you were gone.
Prepare a Doggy First Aid Kit:
Just as it's a good idea to pack a First Aid Kit for the humans, you need to be prepared in case your furry BFF needs minor medical attention. The Humane Society provides a marvelous list of things you should gather in order to be prepared. Among the most important, list the phone numbers for your veterinarian, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic in the area where you will be staying (along with directions!) and a poison-control center or hotline (such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at (1-800-426-4435). You might also want to include medications that will treat motion sickness as well as allergies and insect bites.
According to a March 3 report by CBS affiliate WOWK 13, “pet friendly travel accommodations” ranked second out the five hottest trends in the pet industry. “This is another high business growth concept that’s being adopted by an increasing number of businesses in the vacation and hospitality industries,” Alissa Wolf reported April 23 for The Balance. “As more and more people regard their pets as beloved family members, they are opting to take them along on vacations.”
So, there you have it. Are you packed yet?