Pet Travel: Summer Vacation Tips for Your Dog, Cat

Does your dog get car sick?

Well, if you don't know the answer, it's best to find out now instead of 100 miles into your summer road trip.

Traveling can be a great experience, despite the long lines, traffic and other hassles. With a pet, the logistical nuisances can sometimes turn into a nightmare. But they don't have to.

As families across American hit the road this summer vacation, many plan to take their dogs or cats with them. The hospitality industry knows this and has become more pet friendly in recent years.

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Many roadside motels now have special pet-walk areas while some of the fanciest hotels in big cities have special water bowls and in-house groomers for the four-legged friends.

"We make pets feel just as welcome as humans," said Tori McLaughlin of the FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., part of the pet-friendly Kimpton Hotels chain. "We love pets, that's for sure. One of our biggest goals is to offer our guests the care that they normally feel at home. We want to provide an experience that makes them feel comfortable and that's often traveling with the pets."

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The pets at the hotel have their own custom welcome, get a treat upon check-in and even have their names up on a board in the lobby. Special beds, leashes, water bowls and other pet amenities are offered.

Employees will often bring pets to work and all pets are invited to the hotel's evening wine reception. FireSky is open to any kind of pet and hosted last year a pot-bellied pig named Hamlet.

It's surprising what some hotels will do for pets, and not run-of-the-mill pets. The Hidden Meadow Ranch in the mountains of northeastern Arizona allows dogs but also has a "Bring Your Own Horse" program.

For an extra $30 a night, the ranch will put up your horse in one of its four guest horse stalls in the barn, feed and water it, provide the horse with daily exercise and even find parking for your trailer. Wrangler-guided rides through the neighboring national forest can be added for $50 an hour.

OK, but what about driving or flying with your dog or cat?

Pet-Friendly Road Trips

When driving with your pet, make sure to plan ahead. Look into places to stop, the right hotels and even what supplies you need to bring with you on the journey.

Progressive Insurance has put together a list of suggestions to make that trip better. They include:

Pet-Friendly Hotels: Such hotels make it easier than ever to bring pets with you on the road. Many offer amenities such as pet sitting, dog walking and even pet-pampering spa treatments. Do your research ahead of time to find the perfect hotel that fits your needs. Be sure to ask about their policies. Many hotels, for instance, require your pet to be on a leash at all times and never be left unattended in the room.

Insurance: Yes, this does come from an insurance company but is an often overlooked issue. See if your auto insurance covers pets. Progressive includes in its collision coverage up to $1,000 if your dog or cat is injured when you're in a car accident.

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