The 2010 U.S. Census reveals a draw-dropping statistic… dogs are outnumbering kids, by the millions! Not only are we adding four-legged friends to the family, many of us are treating them like – or even better than – our kids. But, with 89% of Americans planning a family vacation this summer how do we prepare for dog friendly summer travel?
In a recent study performed by DogVacay, the service connecting traveling dog owners with a pet sitter in their neighborhood, 60% of dog owners stated that arranging accommodations for their dog has an impact on their vacation plans.
- Half (50%) say finding a good kennel or pet sitter has affected planning for their vacation.
- Over a quarter (27%) say financial challenges such as kennel fees or paying a pet deposit at a hotel have impacted their vacation plans.
Findings reveal dog owners have delayed or skipped vacations altogether, find it harder to enjoy their trip whether they’re traveling with or without Fido and face added complexities when planning a trip
So what are summer travel options when considering our furry family members?
Getting Fido There
However you’re planning to get your dog to the desired destination, make sure he has plenty of exercise right before you leave. If you’re driving to your destination, having your dog ride along is a no-brainer. Things to consider, however, are:
- How hot will it be? Never leave your dog alone in a hot car! Even 78 degrees can get up to a sweltering 100-120 quickly. Options are to make sure to stop at places (restaurants, shops, etc) that are dog-friendly or have someone outside with the dog during that time.
- Consider crating your dog for the car ride so that it’s safer for you and your pet. If crating is not an option, just be sure he can have a comfortable place to lie down.
- Do not feed your dog a lot of food prior to a long car ride.
If you’re flying. Check with the airlines on their requirements. A few pet-friendly airlines are: JetBlue, Delta, Air Canada, Southwest and United.
Dog Friendly Accommodations
Booking accommodations with your dog can be tricky. If staying at a hotel, first you need to find one that will actually take the dog, then you have to read the fine print as there are often restrictions (size, weight, etc). Some of the home share sites such as HomeAway, AirBnB, and HomeExchange.com offer the pet-friendly choices.
Here is a sample list of hotel chains that are dog friendly:
While boarding your dog is an obvious option, who wants to board their furry family member? Not me! Not only is it pricey, I would much rather have my pet with me on our summer travel adventures. However, if you have no other choices, then this isn’t a bad option. Questions to ask when choosing a spot to board your dog during summer travel:
- Is the kennel certified? To find out if a kennel has been certified, ask to see a Voluntary Facilities Accreditation (VFA) certificate.
- Could I tour the facility? To gain the utmost confidence in Fido’s stay during your family vacation, make sure the kennel is up to par to your standards. Is it clean? Is there a large play area? Is the staff “into dogs”? The last thing you want is for the family pet to be crated the whole time.
- What immunizations should my pet have?
- What kind of play/exercise time do you offer?
There are two options here; find a local dog sitter to come stay with your pet at your house or find a dog sitter at your destination. DogVacay.com (the AirBnB for dogs!) is a pretty new service that offers either of these options. Now, either of these choice can be good as long as there is a level of trust. When inviting a dog sitter to come into your home, be sure to ask for references. DogVacay.com not only offers dog sitting services (with pre qualified candidates), they also have a dog boarding option where your pet can stay in the home of a pet sitter (either in your home town or at your destination).
So, if you’ve decided to take your pup along on your family vacation, you may still need to consider a few things. For example, are you planning to explore your vacation area? Are dogs allowed? If not, you may not want to keep him in the hotel room all day. Plan ahead for a dog sitter (using DogVacay.com?) on the days that the family will be out and about. Be sure all shots are up to date, and you may even consider an additional Bordetella shot (aka kennel cough).
No matter what you decide to do with your dog for summer family travel, educate yourself on your choices and be prepared. Fido deserves it!
Do you travel with your dog? Or leave him at home? Share your stories below.
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