Traveling with Pets by: Emily Griffith
Vacation time can be one of the more enjoyable experiences in life, but not all who travel are worry-free. Chances are, if you travel, you either hire pet care professionals to stay with your animals while you are away or you are forced to take them. Personally, I love traveling with my dog, but this isn’t always a common or safe thing to do, depending on your pet’s condition. Some animals startle easily by noise, movement, and other stimuli that begin to affect the pet’s nervous system. Heart rate rises, overheating risk increases, dehydration risk climbs. With all of these extraneous factors on your pet, sometimes, it is best to keep them in the comfort of their own home to reduce physical and emotional stress. Gwinnett Pet Watchers provides this very service for a nominal fee to ensure your pets are well-cared for, just like when you are there. When we “move in,” we’ve reduced multiple stressors associated with traveling. The only adjustment your pets have to make is to a different person, one they have already met at the Meet and Greet and are familiar with and trust. For those of you in other states, without a local Gwinnett Pet Watchers staff member, here are some tips for traveling with your pet and resources that we’ve found to be useful.
First and foremost, whether you are traveling by car or plane, the rule of thumb to always remember is that your pet must be HYDRATED. Hydration is the most important facet of traveling to remember. In the car, be sure to bring water bottles or a couple gallon jugs and a water bowl. Stop often for rehydration and with hydration comes a bathroom break. Be conscientious of the amount of water that goes in so that you can account for what must be expelled. In the event you are traveling by air, I’ve heard of many tips. One that I feel could potentially save a pet’s life is for when the temperatures are high. If the tarmac is going to hot, consider freezing water in the pet bowl you plan to put in the crate. One of the common problems with flying is that the jostling of the crates while being loaded, often spills the pet’s water. If your pet is too large to fly in cabin, freezing the water could help prolong the amount that gets to thaw in the bowl without being sloshed out during loading. It is important to be familiar with your local airport’s loading and pet procedures before implementing any new ideas for travel. If you are concerned, give their customer service a call and be sure to address your concerns and have any questions you have answered prior to flying. So, to recap, KEEP YOUR PETS HYDRATED!
Below is a list of pet-friendly travel resources to aide in your vacation. As you read, keep in mind the importance of calling ahead to ensure proper booking and that policies haven’t changed. As with all things, this is meant to serve as a generic guide to assist in traveling with pets, as situations and circumstances across species and breed vary. Happy travels and tail wags!
One of the newest, but by far most competitive resources out there and growing, is Air BnB. This site is truly groundbreaking in terms of traveling in general. This app has revolutionized travel and lodge by adding a whole network of individual competitors out there to rival hotel chains and resorts. All across the globe, people have the option to put their home up as a “Host.” If you list your home, you can choose between renting out the entire house or just a room available for a fee you negotiate. The company requires pretty hefty securitty deposits on some of the paces available, but the actual price per night is usually better than hotel chains can boast. My favorite part about this company has to be their wide array of options for different types of travel. You can even bring pets to some of the houses, so just look at the “House Rules” and see if they allow pets and the fee for them. Some places even have pets on the property since they are just residences. The vast selection of over 3,500 cities across the globe with prices ranging from $49 per night to well over $2,000 per night, depending on the city you choose. Remember, pets are allowed in all properties, but when I have searched, 2 of the 4 places I chose allowed pets for a very nominal fee. The only drawback to be cautious of is that you must book in advance in order to get your desired dates and watch out for hefty deposits, pets or not! Overall, I started with this one because it is revolutionizing traveling with pets. We can not keep our barker in any hotel, despite how well behaved and clean he is, simply because when other guests slam doors, he barks. I’m sure most people are familiar with this problem. Now, pet owners have an alternative to hotels with AirBnB with the option to rent an entire house, thus not disturbing any nearby guests due to shared walls.
Another high-ranking lodging option that I have utilized before. My experience was in Asheville, North Carolina and I couldn’t have been more impressed. The fee was small for lodging a pet unlike some chains and the Aloft hotels seem to have focused on pet owners for their market. In fact, of the 100 properties scattered about, 66 are pet-friendly. Among the many amenities for humans, like state of the art architecture and internet cafes, they also have some cool pet perks. The location where I was had a grassy area over a car garage for your pets to go to the bathroom and they had a valet service so we could just walk in and get settled. The staff was also accommodating in certain requests. For example, I wanted us to be secluded due to Rupert’s barking from other guests and to maybe get a good view of the scenic mountains. They happily gave me a small upgrade situated us on the 8th floor, directly facing the beautiful mountain ranges. We also met with a friend who had her own small pet and they allowed her to bring her fur friend into our room for a brief duration without penalizing us with more fees. The cafe and restaurant downstairs served fantastic food and had a large beer and wine selection from some of the local breweries. The hassle-free booking and accommodating perks from the staff rank this another favorite. The rates for the rooms vary by location, but we locked in at $180 per night. That is a small price to pay for us to be able to have peace of mind when traveling with our dog. Did I mention that we didn’t book a room prior to arrival? Yeah, they were just that helpful. Be weary of the weight restrictions and number of pets allowed per room. Each room usually set restrictions at 2 pets per room with a 40 lb weight limit for little to no extra fee. If your dog is larger, they encourage guests to contact the hotel directly to receive a waiver for the weight limit. The Arf program also gives your pet a bed, bowl, and a doggie bag with treats.
After setting the standard with the HosPETality Unleashed program, it is hard to top Kimpton. I haven’t personally lodged here, but they boast a no pet fee regardless ofnumber, size, shape, feathers, and scales. This chain has 67 properties in 31 cities and they are only growing. Like the Aloft chains, they offer your pets some stylish amenities to ensure they are happy guests as well. They provide you a bed, water bowl, treats and have something called Yappy Hours in the evening that are specifically pet-friendly. As with all resources, please call ahead for some specifics regarding you and your particular trip. It is always best to confirm policies are still in place as they are advertised.
3)La Quinta and Red Roof Inns
Both of these hotel chains offer pets lodging for a small fee. These hotels are very reasonably priced, usually decently available, and are located in nearly every major destination. While I have stayed at a La Quinta before, I was not lodging with a pet, so this information is based off of the websites of the hotels. Please call to verify rates and deposits.
Something else that I find to be successful for pet-friendly vacationing is camping (or glamping). I purchased a cheap car inverter to blow up my mattress and pop up our tents just about anywhere, U.S.A. The ease of being able to section yourself off away from other campers who may not like the noise from loud pets makes this another hassle-free option. Most parks allow pets without a deposit, just make sure you pick up after yourself. It is important when camping that you always bring extra water, back-up flashlights and batteries, lighters, fuel, and food. Leaving any of these items behind could be detrimental to your trip and potentially be life-threatening. Also, be sure to check your weather in advance of the trip. Often, the weather changes and can mean the difference between and sunny tan or a soaked-to-the-bone disaster. Lodging outdoors in extreme cold or heat could be life-threatening to you and your pet. Make sure you know everything about your pet’s skin and breed before exposing them to any elements they may not be accustomed to.
5)Gwinnett Pet Watchers
This definitely is worth the repitition. We have a customized list of services varying from a quick 15-minute potty break to a complete move-in package for the duration of the vacation. I highly recommend hiring pet care professionals again mainly because of the amount of stress avoided in transporting and adapting a pet to new surroundings. And, honestly, what kind of a vacation is it if you are both in a constant state of worry? The bond between pets and owners is sacred and trust-filled, but it is not unquestioning. Some pets respond poorly to external stimuli and surrounding changes and lose trust in the owner, for they feel it is very unsafe. Not all animals adjust to cars well or at all, let alone airplanes, trains, and other living environments. With all of this in mind, I highly recommend pet sitting. When I need to travel, Gwinnett Pet Watchers is the first thing I think of as my saving grace. I know I can trust my fellow staff members because we all truly love your pet like our own.
Traveling is to be done at your own discretion and with veterinarian expertise, if applicable or you are in doubt of how your pet will do. There are many resources available for items that help to comfort your pet, such as special sweaters, pet beds, and water bowls available. I recommend 2 collapsible bowls, extra leash, and car seat for pets. Happy travels!