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Pet Expert Offers Advice on Hotel Pet Etiquette

The Norman Transcript, Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 20, 2012--NORMAN -- For many Oklahomans, taking pets along on vacation can make the experience more fun for the whole family. Nationally, 51 percent of travelers with pets say they would bring their pets along on every vacation if they could, according to a recent AAA/Best Western survey of those who traveled with pets in the last 12 months. So, why don't they?

Finding room at the inn: The survey says among the top considerations are

--Finding places that accept pets -- 95 percent

--Learning about pet policies such as size limits and fees -- 49 percent

--getting details about available pet services -- 22 percent.

Pet etiquette considerations: Those who responded to the survey also had some gripes about other pet travelers:

--Owners not cleaning up after pets -- 77 percent

--Dogs that bark constantly -- 57 percent

--Unleashed pets -- 49 percent

--Pets not obedience trained -- 43 percent

--Owners not notifying others that pet is aggressive toward people/other pets -- 41 percent

--Pets not trained to relieve themselves outside -- 29 percent

Advice from pet expert Cesar Millan: "Traveling with your dog can be a wonderful experience. Remember, a balanced dog makes a better traveling companion. Always nurture a balanced state of mind. Plan your vacation with your dog in mind.

--Before you start your trip, take your dog for a walk.

--Feeding your pet in the car is not a good idea.

--As you head out on the road, make sure you crate or harness your dog for safety.

--When stopping for a break, never leave your dog in the car, especially when it's warm outside. Even if the window is cracked open, the car can still heat up and be dangerous to your dog.

--Remember to bring your dog's scent with you. Having a favorite toy will comfort and relax it."

More pet traveler survey results: Ninety-three percent of respondents said their pet makes a good travel companion, identifying these reasons:

--Good cuddle buddy when away from home -- 27 percent

--Always lets the owner select the destination -- 18 percent

--Doesn't hog the hotel remote -- 12 percent

--Snores less than owner's significant other -- 7 percent

--Helps attract dates -- 1 percent

More than eight in 10 (85 percent) of pet travelers travel with their dog, and two in 10 (21 percent) travel with a cat.

One-quarter of pet travelers admit to sneaking their pet into a hotel or motel.

Top types of vacations enjoyed with pets:

--Visiting friends and family -- 78 percent

--Road trips -- 50 percent

--Going to the beach -- 33 percent

--Camping -- 27 percent

--Visiting a city -- 23 percent

--Hiking -- 17 percent

Advanced planning: Advanced planning using a reliable resource such as "Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook," which is available in print and digital versions, can alleviate concerns related to accommodations and other pet-travel preparations.

The listings for pet-friendly AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings throughout the U.S. and Canada provide details like fees, permitted pet sizes, conditions of stay and pet amenities.

Listings also include more than 600 pet-friendly campgrounds plus dog parks and attractions and national public lands that allow pets. The new edition is available at selected AAA Oklahoma offices. The book can also be purchased at most large bookstores and through online booksellers.

AAA PetBook Photo Contest: From its outside covers to a 16-page insert, the guide features scenic photos of pets enjoying safe travel -- a reminder to snap a candid of pets during vacations.

The current AAA PetBook Photo Contest sponsored by Best Western is open for entries through Nov. 30.

Winners will appear on the next edition. They also will receive cash, pet treats, copies of the book and a Best Western Travel Card.

See inside The AAA PetBook for details, or access official contest rules, an entry form and the contest photo gallery at


(c)2012 The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.)

Visit The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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