Should They Stay or Go? Tips to Find Pet-Friendly Lodging

June 20, 2022 4 min read

Pets of all shapes and sizes are an integral part of people’s lives, filling the days with barks, meows, and more. When it comes to traveling, bringing a pet along can be fun but having them stay home can be simpler. Read further to see a breakdown of what factors you should consider when planning a trip with your pet in mind.

 Could Your Pet Come-With?

Traveling with your pet can both strengthen your bond and help them build their confidence in new situations. Under some circumstances, bringing your pet with you can be more cost-effective than leaving them at home.

Deciding on whether your pet should travel with you is a pet-personality and circumstance-based decision. Consider the length of the trip and how well your pet adjusts to new spaces. You know your best friend the best!

 Searching for Pet-Friendly Stays

If you’ve decided that your pet should come along, searching for pet-friendly accommodations is the next step! Staying with family or friends can be less stressful than in a hotel – especially if they know the person or have been to the location before.

In case family and friends aren’t an option, hotels and short-term rentals like Air BnBs and VRBOs will work too.

According to the American Kennel Club, 75% of American hotels allow pets to stay. Hotels often have a pet fee with weight and breed limitations and may require a deposit in case of damage. When looking for pet-friendly hotels, look for grass in the reasonable vicinity of the hotel, so your pet can stretch its legs and use the bathroom.

When booking a pet-friendly hotel, call if you’re not certain about their pet policy. Better to purchase the right accommodation first than have to change plans. According to the AKC, Red Roof Inns, Motel 6’s, Best Westerns, Double Tree by Hilton, Four Seasons, and Hampton Inn are just a few chains that often allow pets.

If booking a short-term rental, be sure to use the pet-friendly search filter. Searching for a ‘Pet-friendly Air BnB’ on the internet offers a direct link to an Air BnB that is accommodating to your furry friend! Be sure to communicate with short-term rental hosts about any special additions to your group, too.

Staying Home: What Kind of Accommodations Your Animal Needs

Unfortunately, there are times our beloved pets can’t come along as you travel so you need to find safe, reliable lodging. Having a list of possible places is essential for pet owners, considering a family emergency, sudden illness, abrupt business trip or spontaneous vacation weekend can happen quickly.

When looking for lodging, consider your pet’s personality and physical needs just like you did for the potential vacation. For example, an older dog may not need a large outdoor area to play in, but rather someone who will take some time to pet them every day. A skittish cat will need a secure room, whether in a boarding facility or someone’s home.

Low-Hanging Fruit

Local friends and family are some of the best options for pet-sitting. Often, pets are familiar with these people and you have a close relationship with the caretaker. Start looking for options within your circle, and work outwards from there. Don’t be afraid to use a friend-of-a-friend to keep your pet, as long as they are trustworthy and reliable and you can let your pet visit their home first.

Some more “low hanging fruit” would be vet techs or caretakers at your dogs’ daycare. Both of these types of people are well-versed in caring for animals and frequently used as pet sitters.

When looking at a personal boarding situation, make sure to ask these questions:

  • Do you have pets and what are their personalities? Will they be a good match for my pet?
  • Are your pets vaccinated?
  • What is your schedule and what can I expect when you keep my pet?
  • Do you have any references that can vouch for your caretaking skills?
  • Will you be reachable by phone?

What to Look for in Boarding Facilities

If you aren’t using a personal caretaker, a commercially-run boarding facility is a common option. Many of these types of facilities allow your animals to come for a test run to check out the facilities ahead of time, which can be a great comfort to both you and your pet. Here are some things you should look for in a boarding facility:

  • Cleanliness
  • Climate control indoors
  • Safe shelter that keeps animals separated
  • Appropriate noise levels
  • Animals being exercised
  • Public reviews on the facility

Here are some things you can ask for from a commercial facility:

  • Insurance
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Veterinarian availability
  • Vaccination policy
  • Exercise routine
  • Protocols in case of pet conflict
  • Staff experience

Remember, letting your pet see these places before you drop them off for a weekend or longer is ideal. They will gain confidence exploring someone’s house or boarding facility with you and will be more relaxed during the real ‘vacation’ time.

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