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Although the number of restaurants and hotels that welcome pets continues to increase, some holiday plans may require your beloved fur-baby to stay at home. For instance, entering some countries would put your dog in quarantine for the duration of your vacation – or traveling as a bridesmaid or groomsman would not leave you enough time to take care of your dog. However, with careful planning, your dog can still have a great time while you’re out of town. So, what are your options?

woman with brown dog on the beach

Ask Friends or Family to Dog Sit

Although you will have to leave your pup behind, you can leave him or her in good, familiar company. You just have to beg your friends or family to dog sit. Although your friends may be more likely than professional workers to spoil your pooch with treats or allow them on the furniture, your pet will likely remain calmer when staying overnight with acquaintances. If your dog has visited before, he or she should settle in quickly.

Should your ‘dog-sitter’ feel reticent about accepting your pet for a few days, make time to go over dog-sitting tips together and stage a one-night trial run. If it is successful, pack up your pooch along with dog food, treats and comfy Casper dog bed for the ultimate doggy vacation. Otherwise, invite your friends and family to crash at your place while you’re away, giving your dog a stay-cation, instead.

Check Your Dog in to a Kennel

The meaning of ‘kennel’ can vary, so what is a kennel? Although some pet owners refer to a small metal cage as a kennel, a kennel can also refer to business that cares for pets – aka: a doggy daycare. Although some doggy day care services only watch dogs while their owners work regular shifts, other companies allow overnight dog boarding, too. You have to trust these workers to treat your furry family member well while you’re out of town, so finding a reputable kennel is a must.

How Do You Choose the Right Kennel?

Word of mouth and online kennel reviews for doggy holidays are a great place to start. Keep in mind that some online reviews are fabricated, so you should always inspect the kennel in person before you leave your dog there. While you visit, scope out the facilities, watch how the staff interacts with the dogs on-site and notice the general wellbeing of the dogs. Overall, do the other dogs look anxious or relaxed?

Make sure to find out whether your dog will be walked or just given time in the play area, and whether they will send photos of your dog while you’re away. Some kennels may even run live web cameras in certain areas, if you want to see how your dog is settling in. Once you have decided the kennel is suitable for your dog, bringing your dog along for an initiation visit will help him or her to feel more comfortable when they officially check in. At this time, you may even decide to find another option.

How to Find Dog Sitters

If your friends and family can’t host your dog, but you prefer not to place your dog in a kennel with many other dogs, you can always try to find a sitter through a community website or app. Many dog lovers don’t have the resources to keep a dog of their own but would love the opportunity to dog sit.  You can search through profiles to find a suitable sitter with positive reviews. Again, take the time to meet the potential sitter, clarify what services they offer and judge whether you think your pet would be safe and happy in their hands. Then bring your pet along for an initial meeting to determine if the dog sitter is compatible with your pet.

Bring Your Dog on Vacation

Research Airline Dog Policies

Sometimes you may not be able to find a kennel or a dog-sitter, and in these instances you’ll need to make proper arrangements for your pup to travel with you. This is easiest for domestic travelers. Even if you have traveled with your pet together in the past, make sure to look up your flight carrier’s pet policy because they can change frequently. Also, note that different airlines will have different regulations. As an example, American Airlines’ dog policy requires dogs to be a certain age depending on where they travel and bans certain breeds, while the Southwest Airlines dog policy details that generally only one pet carrier is allowed per customer, and six pet carriers are allowed per flight.

Select a Dog-Friendly Hotel

Next, you will need to find dog-friendly accommodation. You can scour travel discussion forums to get good leads or read online lists of the best dog-friendly hotels in your travel destination. However, you may save time by booking with larger hotel brands that consistently allow dogs to stay overnight. Double-check when you make your reservation, but your dog should be welcome when you book La Quinta, Best Western, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Red Roof Inn and Kimpton Hotels, according to USA Today.

Cover Your Pet with Dog Insurance

Finally, if your pet is not already insured, you may want to sign up for pet insurance before you bring your dog on vacation. It can be just as important as your own personal insurance while traveling. There are many different providers and different policies, so take the time to read the fine print and determine the best type of dog insurance for your specific situation. PetsBest is a great option for comprehensive coverage. You may want to take out insurance that only covers accidents or perhaps you prefer to purchase insurance that only lasts of a specific period of time. Other factors may play a role, such as an added bonus of selecting a company that donates to animal charities – like Animal Friends dog insurance, which has supported 300+ animal charities around the world.

Now you know: traveling with and without your dog can require a serious amount of preparation. Did you pick up any new tips – or can you add some of your own? Sound off in the comments below.

Alison Roberts-Tse

Author Alison Roberts-Tse

Alison Roberts-Tse grew up in the States, unwittingly met her husband in Asia and moved to the UK. Before settling into London, she graduated with degrees in communications and dance from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Alison regularly writes about travel, culture and art for a variety of publications; and she runs – a blog-slash-magazine that celebrates global dance traditions and communities.

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