How to Make Your Holiday Travel Fido-Friendly

Photo by Kevin Lowery |

Photo by Kevin Lowery |

When the family takes a vacation – increasingly, it’s the entire family enjoying the get-away, including furry family members.

Nearly a third of all dog owners now take their pup with on vacation, according to the 2013-2014 American Pet Product Association National Pet Owners Survey. Additionally, six percent of cat owners tote their kitty on vacation. In both cases, that’s about twice as many pets taking road trips compared to ten years ago. Travel with pets is most common over the summer or between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But the road isn’t all free and easy.

According to a recent survey commissioned by AAA and Best Western International., more than three quarters of traveling pet owners who don’t take their pet on vacation might change their minds if there were more pet-friendly accommodations,

Some chains are totally pet friendly, such as Best Western Hotels with 1,600 locations that welcome pets. Other choices are listed at

Many hotels/motel policies regarding pets depend on the individual management. When making reservation, get it in writing (via fax or email) that your pet is welcome.

Some hotels/motels have weight restrictions, so only pets that weigh in under a certain number of pounds are welcome. Some places charge an extra fee for a pet stay (sometimes refundable if the room isn’t ‘eaten up,’ and there are no complaints about the pet; others not refundable). No wonder, according to the AAA and Best Western survey that about a third of all pet owners, at one time or another, have surreptitiously snuck their pet into their room.

Of course, the vast majority of pet owners travel by car. Pets should never sit in laps of the driver or front seat passenger; in fact in some places it’s against the law. Stop suddenly, and the animal goes right into and maybe through the front window.

When stopping abruptly, an unrestrained pet in the back seat becomes a projectile unless restrained in seat belts or a doggy car seat. Cats should simply always be kept in a carrier.

Touted as the first dog car harness or seat belt for dogs, the Roadie by Ruff Rider was developed 15 year ago. The equipment was first conceived by Carl Goldberg after he slammed on his brakes to avoid a collision and his 125 lb. Labrador Retriever was ejected from the back seat and thrown through the windshield landing on the car’s hood. After this frightening incident, a new windshield, and a trip to the veterinarian, Goldberg realized the threat that an unrestrained dog presents in a moving vehicle; and he decided to do something about it.

The Roadie by Ruff Rider has passed examination at facilities that tests crash safety for people,; $77.95 to $83.95

Kurgo is a company with a myriad of products designed for pet travel offers four pet restraint options,; $10 to $25.

With small dogs, another option are booster seats, and Kurgo offers several more choices,; $36 to $70.

When you arrive at your destination, the PetMate Portable Pop Up Den couldn’t be handier. This light weight portable crate features a zippered mesh door and side ventilation panels that can be rolled up to promote air circulation while allowing your pet to see what’s going on. The heavy-duty canvas construction is durable and water resistant. Also features storage pockets for all your dog’s travel essentials. The portable crate sets up anywhere in seconds, includes a carrying case and four ground stakes (except mini-version). Available in a variety of sizes:; $37 to $70.

Of course, it’s important to always leave your pup water. Kurgo makes a variety of collapsible travel water bowls, $6 to $10,

Why not have the dog should carry all his or her own supplies? Kurgo offers s a couple of canine back packs,;

$35 to $50.

Keep in mind that while some pets love hitting the road, others get so completely stressed out about car travel, the best favor you can do for them is to not take them with you.

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Positively Expert: Steve Dale

Steve is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant, has written several books, hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows, and has appeared on numerous TV shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "National Geographic Explorer," and "Pets Part of the Family." Steve’s blog is


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