By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
More often than not, my business road trips include the company of my dogs, Chipper and Cleo or my therapy cat, Zeki. In the past few years, we’ve traveled to seven states inside my SUV.
Let me share eight tips to guarantee that the hotel staff will put out the welcome mat for your four-legged travel mate:
1. Hit the Internet before you hit the road
With the popularity of pets joining their people on road trips, there are more pet travel websites that offer lots of details on pet-welcoming hotels and their specific pet policies. Sites such as BringFido.com and GoPetFriendly.com include candid guest reviews and Fido Friendly Magazine’s fidofriendly.com team of roving correspondents give first-person accounts of their stays with their pets at lodgings throughout North America.
2. Heed the hotel rules
Some hotels prohibit leaving pets in your hotel room unsupervised. Other guests do not want to hear yapping dogs or howling cats who may be frightened and wondering where you are when you want to go out for dinner or sightsee. Budget to include paying for a dog walker or doggy day care for times you will be out and about without your pet.
3. Pack pet amenities
To help your dog or cat feel more at home inside the hotel room, be sure to bring familiar items bearing his scent, such as his bed or his favorite toy.
4. Dish up bottled water
Travel can cause some gastrointestinal upset in some pets, so stick with bottled water and his brand of pet food during your hotel stays.
5. Let’s see some ID
Always carry a copy of your pet’s health records with you. You should carry pet ID cards with their photos if you have them, or at the least photos of your pets along with a list of their pertinent information, that way a missing sign could quickly be made. Make sure your pet has been microchipped and that his collar tag sports your cell phone. Some hotels also add temporary tags bearing their phone number during your stay.
6. Sniff out nearby pet places
Before booking a hotel, find out the contact info on the nearest emergency vet clinic, including directions from the hotel. Also consult the hotel’s concierge staff about professional pet sitters and dog walkers and dog-welcoming outdoor cafes.
7. Play it safe
Train your cats to wear harnesses because even breakaway collars may not function properly. Pack a pet first-aid kit in your luggage and enroll in a veterinarian-approved pet first aid class before your trip.
8. Speak up for special rooms
Request a wheelchair-accessible room if available, because the bathrooms are larger and more spacious – providing ample space for your traveling cats to roost safely without escaping. And put something under the bed to prevent cats or small dogs from crawling under and being out of your reach.
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