From finding pet-friendly hotels to monitoring pets in airline cargo holds, new apps make traveling with furry family members simpler and safer.
It’s been said that a journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles. Whether those miles are spent on planes, trains or automobiles, travel with furry friends is on the rise: 37 percent of pet owners take their animals on vacations.
Pets and their families can hit the road together for safe and fun adventures using simple apps to find everything they need, from dog-friendly hotels to wineries that welcome four-legged visitors to safe monitoring of pets flying in the cargo hold.
“Technology is making traveling with pets not only easier, but safer,” says Don Lauritzen, spokesperson for the American Red Cross. “That is a great comfort for pet owners on the go, knowing they have critical resources and tools quickly within reach should a pet emergency arise when they’re away from home.”
Getting There by Car
When traveling by car, it’s important to schedule plenty of breaks during the ride.
“During your road trip, plan on stopping at least every three to four hours to let your dog play some fetch or take an extended walk,” said Zak George, the most-subscribed-to dog trainer on YouTube and co-author of Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love. ” Just as you need a break to stretch your legs and use the bathroom, your dog does too.”
Go Pet Friendly is another resource that helps plan stops with furry friends. Plug in a starting point and destination, and then select hotels, various services, campgrounds, restaurants and activities. The site offers pet-pleasing options along the entire route, which can even include wineries where dogs can tag along.
No road trip is complete without a few dog selfies. Make memories and capture the exploring from your dog’s point of view with the GoPro Fetch Harness. This washable and water-friendly harness mounts a GoPro on the dog’s back or chest to easily create memorable videos to share with friends.
Flying with Pets
Traveling by plane with dogs can be challenging if a dog is too large to fit in an under-seat carrier. Larger dogs must travel in the cargo hold, which the Humane Society of the U.S. recommends pet owners avoid for pet health and safety reasons.
For pet owners who must have their pet travel in the cargo hold, Delta Air Lines offers a GPS On-Demand service on select flights to track an animal’s exact location, the angle and position of the transportation crate, and the temperature. If the temperature gets too high or low, an alert is sent to Delta’s call center. Updates are sent pre- and post-flight. Pets must meet certain health, vaccination and breed requirements before flying.
Going by Train
Train passengers on Amtrak can bring small pets along when they book a $25 pet companion ticket. Since 2015, more than 15,000 pets have taken to the rails. Amtrak also offers free baggage assistance to help passengers get pet carriers safely on and off the train.
Staying with Your Pet
Many popular hotel chains such as Starwood, Best Western and Marriott accommodate dogs (and even cats at some locations). BringFido can help pet parents research dog-friendly hotels. Many rental sites such as VRBO, HomeAway and Airbnb also welcome pets.
The Pet First Aid by American Red Cross app (available on iOS and Android) guides pet owners on how to handle emergency situations for cats and dogs. Filled with instructional videos, the app includes advice on how to give pet CPR and administer first aid in more than 25 common situations, from burns and bleeding to identifying toxic substances a pet may have eaten. The app also helps locate the nearest emergency vet hospital.
According to dog trainer George, it pays to take safety measures before a trip. “Before you travel, make sure your dog is microchipped, vaccinations are up to date and that all identification tags are secure,” he said.
Dog Buddy Free, available on the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, is an app that keeps track of a dog’s medications, vaccinations, allergies and other relevant medical information.
While traveling with pets can create long-lasting memories, some pets may be happier staying home while their owners take a trip. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters can help find qualified pet sitters. BringFido also provides information on pet sitters and boarding options.
By using these simple pet tech tools, pets and their families can easily see the country together.