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Pet Friendly

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Traveling with pets is more popular than ever

Today's pets are increasingly on the go. Individuals and families planning to travel are increasingly choosing to take their pets along with them.

A survey by the American Pet Products Association found people spent $69.51 billion on pets in 2017. A large chunk of spending — around $6 billion — was directed toward pet accommodations and boarding. Statistics Canada says that Canadians spent more than $8 billion on pet-related items in 2017, and about half of that spending was on veterinary and other pet services.

Pet owners have options regarding pet care when leaving home for business or pleasure. Pet owners can hire pet sitters, leave the pet with a friend or family member, arrange for boarding, or bring their pets along with them.

Nowadays, millions of pet owners are taking their pets with them when they travel. To meet the demand, everything from hotels to Airbnb accommodations to airlines are enabling people to bring companion animals along. Some major airports offer pet-relief areas and even Amtrak rail service recently started letting small pets on board.

Certain facilities charge fees to bring pets along. Such fees typically range between $100 and $200. Some pet-friendly places even offer special perks, such as staff that takes the pets for walks when the owners are away from their rooms. The Kimpton hotel chain does not charge pet fees and also offers free pet beds, water bowls and treats, making it easy for customers to travel with their companion animals.

If pets are coming along for the ride, flight or stay, pet owners should brush up on these pet travel tips.

• Obtain a health certificate. Schedule a visit to the vet and have them offer a health certificate listing immunizations and the state of the pet's health. Many airlines, hotels, pet care centers, and border crossing authorities will require such proof of pet wellness.

• Research local vets. Find a vet or animal hospital near the hotel or city where you will be staying. In the event of an emergency, you'll know where to go.

• Plan for pit stops. Give pets time to stretch their legs and take bathroom breaks. Try to take breaks every two to three hours.

• Vet the transportation service. Check the train or plane policy for bringing pets along. In addition, look into the history of transporting pets, keeping an eye out for any incidents of pets being lost or injured.

• Bring a crate or carrier along. Many pets feel safe and secure in crates, and hotels or airlines may require pets be contained when unattended. So be sure to bring a crate when traveling with a pet.

• Contact the tourism board. Ask a local tourism board about local pet-friendly accommodations and restaurants.

Traveling with pets allows the entire family to enjoy time away from home.

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