For families that decide to leave the four legged members of their family at home, arrangements need to be made for the care of the pets. If a family is leaving behind a cat for example, perhaps having a neighbor or friend check in with the cat daily would be sufficient. The pet “babysitter” could ensure that there is ample food and water available along with a bit of companionship so the pet doesn’t get too lonely. A dog on the other hand may require more care. A family that has a dog that is being left behind may want to consider taking the pet to the home of a friend or neighbor that can look after the dog or look into having the dog kenneled.
For those who can’t bear to part with their pets even for a few days, having the pets travel along on vacation may be the best choice. There are some things pet owners need to be aware of, however, before heading out on vacation. As a general rule, commercial busses and trains do not allow pets. So, if a family was considering a ride on Greyhound or Amtrak they need to rethink their plans. Most rental car companies will allow pets, but some do not. Always call ahead to find out the policies related to pets. Some tips to ensure pet owners are not charged extra clean up fees when pets travel include keeping the pet in a travel crate while in the rental car. Place an old blanket or sheet over the seats of the rental car to reduce the amount of hair left behind. Bring along toys and chew sticks to use as distractions. When traveling by air, keep in mind the temperature. Try not to travel with pet in extreme hot or cold. Try to avoid traveling during peak times. Be sure to place the pet in airline approved pet crates. The crate should be clearly marked with vital contact information. Certain breeds of short nosed dogs do not breathe well in cargo areas. Avoid air travel with these dogs. Finally, plan to check in three hours before the estimated departure time.
Due to the fact that many pets travel with their owners, some hotels offer pet friendly accommodations. If families with pets will be in the Chicago area, they may want to consider Hotel Monaco. Hotel Monaco offers the PAWS Chicago pet package. Pets receive their own bowl, special treats at turn down and other amenities. The Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine offers pet friendly ocean view suites furnished with special pet amenities. Pets will also find an assortment of fine foods in the Audubon Room. At the Jefferson Hotel in Washington D.C., pets will receive a personal note from the manager that includes information on hotel pet services, local dog walking routes, pet friendly restaurants, and puppy pagers. For more information on traveling with pets check out petsonthego.com.
The most difficult decision families may need to make about their vacation is to decide if the pets travel along. There are pros and cons on both sides of the issue. Either way, advance planning will be required.