Thanksgiving is the biggest travel season of the year, and for pet parents that means figuring out what to do with your pet! If you’re going across the neighborhood to Grandma’s, you might have an easy solution – just bring Fido along. But what about those of us flying long distances or who plan to be gone a while? Here’s how to find pet-friendly accommodations while you’re away from home.
When You’re Bringing Your Pet: Pet-Friendly Hotels
Wouldn't it be great if your furry friend could just come with you? Increasingly, it’s becoming easier to bring your cat or dog with you when you travel. Airlines are finding better ways for pets to travel and hotels are starting to find creative ways to cater to pets.
Not all hotels are pet-friendly and some that allow pets have limitations, so you will have to do some research to find lodging that meets all your needs. Sites like PetsWelcome.com or PetsCanStay.com let you search pet amenities before you travel. Here are some important ways that hotels can differ when it comes to pets:
- Size and number of pets allowed in your room
- Whether there is an additional pet fee or deposit
- If leashes are required in hallways or if any areas are off-limits
- Location and size of pet relief area on-site
- Location of nearest off-leash park
- Availability of pet services on-site such as grooming or kenneling
- Availability of nearby pet-friendly attractions (shops, parks, restaurants)
- Whether there are other pet perks like water bowls, treats, beds, or special play areas
We also strongly recommend booking before you leave—finding a pet-friendly hotel on the fly can be difficult, especially around the holidays when many fill up. If you have a territorial dog or one who doesn't travel well, staying at a hotel may not be the best option.
Leaving Your Dog Behind: Kennels and Pet Hotels
Many parents find kennels to be one of the simplest options when traveling, but they require planning ahead to make sure your pet has the necessary vaccinations that most kennels require. Kennels will give your pet a place to stay, walks, and possibly some play time with other animals.
Be aware that even when staff keep the facility as clean as possible, kennel cough and other illnesses can be hazards. The cost of kenneling can also add up, depending upon where you live, the services provided, and holiday demand, but many have discounts for longer-term stays.
Not all pet parents like using kennels because they want to grant their pets more space and comfort. Enter the pet hotel! These high luxury establishments offer services from private rooms and TVs to grooming, extra walks, and spa treatments. Of course, these all come with a higher price tag.
Pet Sitting in Your Home: Ask a Neighbor
What place could be more pet-friendly than your own home? A traditional and often favorite solution is to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your cat or dog while you're gone. Your pet gets to stay in their own territory with the comfort of their usual bed and toys. This can work well if the sitter is responsible, familiar with your pet, and has a flexible schedule.
You should always do a few meet-and-greet sessions with your sitter so that they don't seem like intruders to your pet. Asking a responsible neighbor kid to help out is a good idea, but make sure his/her parents are supportive of the pet-sitting obligations. A possible downside is that your pet may get less love and attention with a pet sitter just stopping by.
Professional Pet Sitting and Boarding
What can you do when your neighbors and family are too busy to pet sit in your home? Professional pet sitters and dog walkers are an option that’s growing in popularity. Even better, some professional pet boarders will take your dog into their home while you're gone, which means they will be able to give them plenty of love and attention. These sitters can be found on sites like Rover.com where you can search for local sitters who will take care of your dog like their own.
How does it work? Many of these sitters have other jobs, but enjoy pet sitting and having your furry best friend around for a couple days. Just like the with any sitters, Rover.com highly recommends at least one meet-and-greet so you can see where your dog will be staying and make sure everyone gets along. Prices for these sitters can vary, but they are still usually cheaper than a high-quality kennel or pet hotel.
If your pet has a favorite playmate, try approaching these contacts. Friendly dog owners might be able to incorporate another dog into their own routines fairly easily.
More on Traveling for Thanksgiving
Road Trip with a Dog Checklist
Best Pet Carriers for Traveling
What Are the Best Dogs to Travel With?