Waggin’ at the Waterfront: A Review of The Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California

Hey TPG readers, Swish Denenberg — one of The Points Pups — here! This fall, I took a trip to Huntington Beach, California, to check out the Surf City Surf Dog competition with the Points Pups intern, Danielle. We spent the weekend at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Resort, and I found it to be a real treat!
It was a busy weekend in Huntington Beach and we booked this trip on the last minute, so unfortunately a search on Hilton.com didn’t yield any award availability. We turned to Hotels.com to book my three-night stay, and paid a total of $948 with a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which earns 10x miles per dollar spent on hotel reservations when booked through the special link at hotels.com/venture. You can also stack this with Hotels.com Rewards, which awards one free night per every 10 paid nights. Since the free night is based on the average price of the 10 nights, when stacked with the 10x miles from the Venture Rewards, it effectively gives us a 20% return on this reservation. That’s one of the very best credit card returns you can get when spending cash on hotels.
The Waterfront Beach Resort was on the Pacific Coast Highway, just a bone’s throw away from the shore. The resort was surrounded by many other hotels along the beach. A 10-minute walk along the strip brought us to Pacific City, an outdoor shopping mall filled with retail stores and restaurants. A walk five minutes farther down the road took us to the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, one of the longest piers on the West Coast.
The hotel was about a half hour from Long Beach Airport (LGB) by car, or about $27 by Uber on a weekday afternoon. Danielle us drove down from Los Angeles, though, and on a Friday during rush hour, so it took us over two hours to get there! On the way back, straight to LAX on a Sunday afternoon, on the other hand, we made it in about 30 minutes.

The Waterfront Beach Resort was quite large, consisting of the main building on the left and two tall towers, the Huntington Tower and the Twin Dolphins Tower, on the right. The resort was doing work on the lawn and had some construction going on between the main building and the Huntington Tower when we visited.
Danielle had rented a car and drove down to Huntington Beach from Los Angeles. The valet attendants greeted us as we pulled up and informed us about the $38 daily parking fee.

We walked into the lobby, and I was instantly bombarded with people telling me how cute I was. I let them pet me as Danielle checked in. She had to sign a waiver acknowledging the rules and the one-time pet fee of $50. Basically, the rules said that I would be allowed anywhere within the resort, with the exception of the rooftop lounge and inside the pool. Luckily, I would still be allowed in the pool area, I just couldn’t go for a dip.
I was given a little gift basket at check-in with a bottle of water, treats, clean-up bags and a plastic water bowl that I got to keep as a souvenir. They also included a list of local pet services and nearby pet-friendly dining options.

We headed up to our room on the eighth floor of the Huntington Tower. There were hints of sea and surf at every turn. After all, Huntington Beach is known as the official Surf City, USA. (Cue the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA.“)

Danielle and I were assigned to Room 814, a Huntington Tower ocean-view king room, which spoiled us with amazing sunsets from a private balcony.

It also included an unattractive view of the new pool construction site below us, but, fortunately, they didn’t do any work over the weekend. According to the hotel website, the renovations on this pool are supposed to end January 31, 2019, though when we went, it was still just a dirt patch.

Our room was spacious and had a comfy king bed.

And it had an equally cozy little couch, which was perfect for an afternoon nap.

The ocean theme was prevalent throughout the room, with many aquatic accents, like these cool coral lamps.

There was a bar area with a coffeemaker and a mini fridge to keep my water cold.

The bathroom was well-lit, which Danielle appreciated when she needed to put on her makeup.

I did my best to measure out the shower-head height, but I don’t think this shower would have passed the TPG shower test.

For all of the traveling pups out there, I decided to create a test of my own: the TPP bath test. I definitely had a good amount of space between the faucet and my head. The TPG shower test may have been a fail, but the TPP bath test was a pass!

Food and Beverage
The resort offered a few different dining options. The Boardwalk Restaurant had indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, but we didn’t have a chance to eat there. Adjacent to the restaurant was an indoor bar called the Dock Bar.

There was another bar in the pool area that offered tropical cocktails and basic bites like chicken fingers and fries. Danielle ordered a frozen strawberry lemonade off the mocktails menu but added vodka because, well, why not?

The staff at the pool side bar was kind enough to give me a dog bowl so I could stay hydrated out in the sun.

After a day at the pool, Danielle went up to the Offshore 9 Rooftop Lounge located in the Twin Dolphins Tower. The bar’s menu consisted of small plates and fancy cocktails. It also boasted that it had “complimentary sunsets,” which it definitely delivered.

Danielle ordered the seared ahi tuna ($14) and a Therapy cocktail ($16) that had tequila, mezcal, lime, blackberry, basil and a spicy rim. Both were delicious!

Danielle and I headed down to the concierge desk to find out what activities the hotel offered. She thought the concierge area was cute and enjoyed being greeted with a friendly, lit-up sign.

The resort allowed guests to rent bikes and also offered a “Beach Blast Wagon” with all of the s’mores-making essentials.

Guests could reserve a fire pit on the beach. The resort offered supplies for groups of up to four people for $125 and up to groups of 20 for $350. The beach opposite the hotel was lined with dozens of fire pits, which attracted many families and groups.

There were also a few fire pits on the property near the pool. At night, the air smelled of smoky campfires and roasted marshmallows.

The pool overlooked the beach and had two long waterslides. At one point, there was a DJ who played tunes for the sunbathers. Later in the day, there was a man who jammed on the steel drums.

There were more than a dozen private, poolside cabanas available to rent.

There was a quiet business area, with computers and plenty of outlets available, next to a small meeting room.

I took full advantage of all of the picture-perfect spots spread throughout the resort. I sent this photo to the other Points Pups, and they were definitely jealous. Sorry, Miles and Hootie.

There was a fitness center that was open from 5:30am until midnight. The gym wasn’t a place for pups, so I didn’t get to check it out.

Overall Impression
I really enjoyed my stay at the Waterfront Beach Resort. From the moment I arrived and was greeted with my pet amenity, I knew that this was going to be a great place for a dog like me. I loved that every room offered a private balcony so that all doggies could get a breath of fresh air while watching the waves crash against the shore. I think the resort would be a great spot for a family vacation or a big family reunion, considering the bonfire packages for groups up to 20 people. Plus, it was just a 35-minute drive to Disneyland.
If I find myself back in Huntington Beach in the future, I would definitely stay at the Waterfront Beach Resort again!

The Best Airlines for Pet Travel

So you’re ready to travel the world with your pet by your side. But which airline is best for your fur baby? To help you choose the right airline for you and your favorite canine, feline, rabbit or bird, The Points Guy teamed up with Airfarewatchdog.com on a reader survey answered exclusively by traveling pet parents. We also asked TPG Lounge members to weigh in on their favorite airlines for pet travel; sifted through five years of Air Travel Consumer Reports from the Department of Transportation (DOT); and scoured pages of airline pet policies to identify the top (and, frankly, not-so-hot) airlines for pet travel.
The Data
According to the TPG and Airfarewatchdog.com reader survey, the most popular reason travelers fly with a pet (40.7%) is because they can’t — or simply won’t — leave their pet at home. Moving to a new location came in second, with 27.4% of the vote. For 21.9% of travelers, it’s the need for emotional support.
A majority of pet owners (78.1%) have traveled with a dog, while 18.8% have traveled with a cat and 3.1% have traveled with another type of animal. To give you some idea of what that “other” might be, Spirit, Alaska and Delta Air Lines all permit birds inside the cabin. One airline even green lights hamsters and guinea pigs! (But we’ll get to that later.)
Only about a third (30.3%) of pet owners reported putting their fur baby under the plane in cargo. Though it’s rarely the preferred method of transporting pets, it’s the only option for some.
Happily, 81% of travelers reported having only positive experiences when traveling with their pet. In fact, 35% of pet parents said they’ve actually had an exceptional experience while flying, nodding to accommodating and friendly flight attendants.
The Details
So welcome aboard, furry friends! In the back pocket of the seat in front of you, you’ll find the airline pet policy cards ranked by the best-rated airlines from the survey. Each card features important information about flying with a pet on that particular carrier. The animals featured on each card represent the species that will be allowed to fly alongside their humans in the cabin. (Additional types of animals may be allowed in the cargo area, depending upon the carrier.) Pet fees apply to carry-on pets only, as animals flying in cargo need to be booked on a separate ticket with a price dependent on the individual flight.
Of course, there are a number of other things animal owners should consider before flying with pets. In addition to the airline, pet parents have to make important decisions about the right type of carrier, where they’re staying upon arrival and whether or not it’s necessary at all for their pet to fly.
10. Hawaiian Airlines (0.5%)

Hawaiian is one of the most restrictive airlines in terms of pet travel. Animals can only fly in the cabin on inter-island flights, and those departing the Hawaiian Islands. And pets flying from or to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) are completely prohibited. Given the fact that people can’t travel with their pet in the cabin unless they’re leaving the Aloha State, it’s not surprising to see this airline’s low survey scores. The state of Hawaii has strict laws regarding incoming pets, including a mandatory quarantine if pet owners do not take the proper steps beforehand. This may be a turn-off for traveling pet parents.
9. Spirit Airlines (2.2%)

Despite the ultra low-cost carrier’s notorious baggage restrictions, it actually allows one of the most spacious onboard carriers, compared to other domestic airlines (18 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches). The airline allows the heaviest pet carry-on, too: a combined 40 pounds for both the weight of the pet as well as the carrier. Dogs, cats and small household birds are welcome in the cabin. Bigger dogs are out of luck, however, since pets cannot fly under the plane on Spirit.
8. Frontier Airlines (2.4%)

Though Frontier received only 2.4% of the survey vote, its not all bad news for this regional airline. The fixed fee of $75 per pet, per segment is the most affordable across all the domestic airlines. Frontier also allows for a spacious in-cabin carrier and welcomes the largest variety of pets in the cabin, including dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and small household birds. Plus, TPG Lounge member Rachel H. said that though she’s only traveled with her pet once, her experience with this airline was great. “Frontier let me hold my bird’s carrier in my lap the whole way,” she said.
7. Allegiant (2.7%)

Good news for young travelers, four-legged and otherwise. Allegiant is the only airline that allows minors (age 15 and up) traveling alone to bring a pet onboard. All other airlines, for reference, require solo passengers to be over the age of 18 to travel with a pet. Allegiant also does not enforce a minimum age for traveling animals, meaning you can start getting your kitten or puppy acclimated to air travel early. Pets can only travel as a carry-on, so leave the big dogs at home.
6. JetBlue (8.6%)
In her experience, Michele C. from the TPG Lounge said “JetBlue is the easiest” airline for pet travel, as it’s the only airline with which you can “book and pay the pet travel fee with your itinerary.” With other airlines, she explained, “you have to call after you’ve booked your flight and then pay [the fee] at the airport.” This makes JetBlue one of the most straightforward and convenient airlines for travelers with four-legged companions in tow. When booking a JetBlue flight for you and your pet, a Pet Travel designation shows on your boarding pass. The airline also offers a complimentary JetPaws program that includes a guide to pet travel etiquette, a designated bag tag and an additional 300 TrueBlue points per segment for flying with your pet.
5. Alaska Airlines (10.8%)

Donna M. from the TPG Lounge had a great experience flying with her cats on Alaska. “We took our cats on Alaska [from] SFO to DEN when we relocated,” she said. “We called and booked the entire row of three and then spoke to the gate agents, who had us preboard to be out of the way and have the cats settled under the seats in front. Such a good experience for all. But allow plenty of time, [and] be polite and grateful when people help you — not entitled!” Lisa V., meanwhile, has flown twice with her dog in the cabin on an Alaska flight with zero issues to report.
4. United (11.3%)

Despite snagging the No. 4 spot in the reader survey, United has a notoriously bad reputation when it comes to pet travel. But this might have something to do with the fact that United is the only airline that will fly brachycephalic dog breeds in cargo. Brachycephalic breeds include dogs with flat faces and short noses, such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs. These breeds are more likely to have respiratory issues in flight, which is the reason all other major US carriers have banned brachycephalic dogs from flying in cargo. According to the Air Travel Consumer Reports from the DOT, six out of the 10 dog deaths reported by United in 2017 included brachycephalic breeds. Although United has its issues, it is frankly the only airline for travelers who need to transport their brachycephalic dog.
3. American (15.6%)

American Airlines offers one of the biggest carrier dimensions (19 inches x 13 inches x 9 inches), so your pup can enjoy a bit more space during the flight, though the total weight limit is half what Spirit allows. The airline allows pets to be transported in the cabin when traveling to and within the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean. If you’re flying in first or business class on an A321T, pets will need to be put in their carrier and stored in a special compartment at the front of the plane during taxi, take-off, landing and turbulence.
2. Southwest (22.6%)

Southwest ranked in second in the pet travel survey, and it also offers the second least expensive pet fee, behind Frontier’s $75. The airline also makes it easy for pet owners to pick out an appropriate carrier by offering a branded carrier of their own that will fit under any Southwest seat. The airline allows cats and dogs to travel within the US, but does not offer this service on international flights. Only small cats and dogs will be able to fly on Southwest, as they do not allow pets in cargo. And according to a TPG reader eyewitness report, you may have a lot of freedom on a Southwest flight with your pet. “I don’t think [Southwest] enforces keeping dogs in the carriers or under the seat,” Connie C. observed. “My last few flights had dogs on laps the entire flight.”
1. Delta Air Lines (23.4%)

TPG lounge member Brittani S. said she was “very pleased” with Delta’s pet cargo. “It’s climate controlled and well-regulated. We flew from Texas to Hawaii [during] the summer and they were able to accommodate us despite the heat because of air conditioned transport between the terminal and plane.” Likewise, Lindsey B. was also pleased with her experience flying a pet in Delta’s cargo hold. “The crew verified our dog was on board before take off,” she reported. If you have to fly with your pet in cargo, Delta may be the best airline for you.

What airline do you like best when traveling with your pet? Sound off in the comments below! 
All illustrations by Aida Amer.

12 Amazing Travel Accessories for Globetrotting Pets

Every human knows they need to accessorize to make the most of their vacation, whether that means investing in a sturdy (and stylish) suitcase or splurging on a camera that will make your Instagram feed the envy of your friends and family.
Globetrotting pets are no different.
As the Points Pups intern, it was my duty to find some of the coolest — and most useful — pet travel accessories for the TPG office pups: Miles, Hootie, Swisher and Charlie (all members of the Barketing team).
In the name of journalism, I ordered a variety of products that promised to improve every traveling pet’s vacation. And a handful that just looked too cute to skip. Then, we let the Points Pups put them to the test. Some of the items sounded good in theory, while others were actually useful.
If you really want your pet to be an expert four-legged explorer, these are the pet travel accessories they need — and a few they don’t.
LED Dog Collar
Relax and stargaze by the campfire with your furry friend at your side. You’ll never lose sight of your pup when he or she is wearing one of these rechargeable LED Dog Collars. Your dog be easy to spot in the dark, and always ready for the next black light pawty.
Best for: I would recommend this collar for any free-range pup that will be attending an outdoor event, or trailblazing dogs that accompany their owner on camping trips. An LED Dog Collar may also be handy for evening walks on dark streets, keeping pets visible to passing cars.
ThunderShirt Anxiety Jacket
Can we all just take a moment and appreciate how cute Hootie looks in his ThunderShirt? This anxiety-reducing jacket swaddles your pooch and creates an instant sense of calm. The jacket is great for minimizing travel-related anxiety, or for use during other nerve-racking events such as thunderstorms or firework shows.
Best for: We didn’t want to intentionally put Hootie in an anxiety-provoking situation (and there were no business reviews during our test). But if your pet is prone to panic attacks, definitely consider the vet-recommended, top-rated ThunderShirt.
Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket
If your dog is not a strong swimmer but loves to splash around in the pool with humans, invest in a doggie life jacket. This bright orange vest will keep your pet visible and safe, and has a set of handles on top so you can easily grab your doggie. Whether you have a Dachshund or a Great Dane, there’s a size for every dog.
Best for: I would absolutely recommend this life jacket for any water-loving pup. On my recent trip to Huntington Dog Beach for the Surf City Surf Dog Competition, all of the wake-riding doggies were wearing life jackets. The next time I travel to the ocean, or any body of water with strong currents, I won’t let my pup in the water without it.
LESYPET Pet Dog Umbrella

When I saw this ridiculous-looking pet umbrella, I knew I had to have one for the Points Pups to try. Poor Miles volunteered as tribute on a rainy day in New York City. The umbrella is connected to a short metal chain that attaches to the collar, and a rod fixed to a handle for the dog walker to hold. The umbrella is made for small dogs, and probably wouldn’t be useful for a dog any bigger than Miles, who is a 30-pound, bulky French Bulldog.
Best for: This pet umbrella is good for brightening the mood of passersby suffering from rainy day blues (everyone who passed us smiled in response). And that’s about it. Miles was still wet after his walk, and the umbrella itself is quite awkward to hold over the pup. And although it didn’t bother Miles, many people reported that the umbrella outright terrified their dog.
Lumsing Pet Tent
Pack the this miniature pet tent to provide your pup with shelter and shade on your next camping trip. This adorable doggie tent has zippered doors and breathable mesh windows to prevent pesky mosquitos. The waterproof tent is easy to assemble and can be compactly stored in the provided carry bag.
Best for: This tent is a micro version of a human tent. It’s extremely cute (think: outdoorsy photo opportunities) and provides your pet with shade and privacy. It great for camping or, frankly, even just an especially sunny day out in the backyard.
Portable Puppy Water Bottle

A 12-ounce portable water bottle made especially for your canine on the go, this leak-proof bottle allows you to keep your pup hydrated without having to carry a clunky bowl in your bag. Just push down the button to release water into the attached cup. You’ll never have to worry about your pooch going thirsty again.
Best for: All dog owners should have this water bottle — I cannot recommend this product enough. It’s definitely my favorite out of everything we tested for the Points Pups.
Whistle 3 GPS Tracker
Keep tabs on your pup right from the palm of your hand with this GPS pet tracker that uses wireless technology to monitor your pet anywhere in the country. You’ll be able to track where your pet has been over the course of 24 hours, including their daily activity and rest. It’s a great way to make sure the pet sitter is doing his or her job or, if your pet is traveling with you, that they’re getting the right mix of fitness and relaxation while on vacation. Because the GPS tracker uses cellphone towers for connectivity (OK, so you’re pretty much buying your pet a phone) you’ll have to purchase a monthly plan, available from $7.
Best for: If your dog has a habit of running off (or trying to), this pet tracker can give you peace of mind while traveling. Losing your pet is one of the most stressful and heartbreaking situations a pet owner could face, especially when in an unfamiliar location.
SitStayGo Travel Leash

This 4-in-1 travel leash functions as a leash, water bottle, water tray and feeding tray for your pooch. You can finally forget about packing multiple bowls and leashes, because this travel leash is all you need!
Best for: Pet owners heading out on a long day trip. It’s perfect for activities such as hiking or camping. However, it would not be my everyday leash because it’s a little heavy. It really only makes sense to use this leash when you’re on the go.
DryFur Carrier Insert Pads
These super absorbent carrier pads are a must for long trips in the carrier or crate. Your pet will be able to stay dry and comfortable throughout a flight with a DryFur pad lined along the bottom of their carrier. The pads are disposable and are designed for an easy cleanup. They’re essentially a thicker and more absorbent pee pad, trimmed to dimensions that will fit most carriers.
Best for: Luckily (or unfortunately?) none of the Points Pups peed inside a carrier, so I can’t share a firsthand experience. I’ve received numerous recommendations from pet parents for these carrier pads, however.
Lemonda Space Capsule Bubble Backpack
(Photo courtesy of Amazon.)
As soon as I saw this backpack I knew I had to try it out. The backpack features a hard case with a bubble for your little pet to peep out. It’s ventilated, and you also have the option to swap out the plastic bubble for a mesh piece to add additional ventilation.
Best for: Small, agoraphobic animals. The Points Pups were too big to fit in the carrier, so I tried it out on my 8-pound cat. Let me tell you, he would not recommend this bag. I personally found it comfortable, but he was not a fan. I don’t think many animals would be happy in such a confined space. But if your pet is the exception, perhaps he or she was born to be a space explorer in this shuttle-inspired bag.
Labra First Aid Kit
Treat your pet’s injuries with this 28-piece first aid kit. Perfect for the most adventurous canines and felines, this first aid kit is light and compact, ideal for hiking, camping and other outdoor activities. The kit includes scissors, tweezers, bandage rolls, alcohol wipes and various other medical care essentials.
Best for: This first aid kit designed with animals in mind is a pretty straightforward travel necessity for anyone who will be partaking in outdoor activities with their pet. Plus, it’s a smart item to have lying around the house, just in case.
The Points Guy Dog Accessories

You wouldn’t leave home without your favorite TPG travel swag, would you? (No, you wouldn’t.) Now, your pet doesn’t have to leave home without their own TPG pet travel gear either. From leashes and collars to portable, pop-up food bowls and bow ties, your pup will be sure to love our TPG dog swag. Right now, travelers can even purchase a Points Pup-approved pet kit for $20.
Best for: Any pet interested in maximizing their travels.
Feature photo by Kait Ebinger for The Points Guy.

10 Tips for Traveling With a Nervous Pet

A pet with a nervous temperament is probably better off on the ground. But some circumstances, like a relocation, make it necessary to fly with your pet. With a bit of training and patience, you may be able to get your dog comfortable enough to make it through the flight. If you must take your nervous pup or pussycat on an airplane, follow this expert advice to make the experience run smoother for you and your pet.
1. Know Signs of Distress
Besides the obvious crying and shivering, some inconspicuous indications your pup may be nervous include excessive licking, yawning or pacing. Dogs may have a glazed-over look or continuously shake-off, as if they are wet.
2. Travel With Your Puppy
Pet behaviorist and owner of the etiquette and training School For The Dogs, Annie Grossman, said that pet owners should travel with their puppies as early as possible, to help them get comfortable with air travel while still malleable. The best time to do this is when they’re under 12 weeks of age, before the socialization window closes. Situations dogs experience within that time frame are better at adapting to those same situations later in life.
3. Bring a Familiar Comfort Object
Grossman also recommended playing with your puppy on a designated mat or blanket to create a positive association for your pet with that item. Whenever you travel, bring that security blanket and their favorite toy to ease some of the anxiety.
4. Perform Crate or Carrier Training
Have your pup get used to their crate or carrier before setting off on an adventure. Allow your dog to walk into the carrier on their own, without forcing them inside. Build a healthy relationship with the carrier by giving your dog treats while inside. Place their comfort items in the crate to make it a pleasant place to lay down and relax. TPG reader Patty G. has used this method to prepare her globetrotting military family pups for trips to 10 countries and 30 states.
(Photo by Giovanni Guarino / Getty Images.)
5. Swaddle Your Fur Baby
All babies love to be swaddled, even your fur babies. Try dressing your pup in a ThunderShirt, which has a similar effect to the weighted anxiety blankets used by us humans. If you don’t have a ThunderShirt, Grossman suggested putting your pooch in a tight dog vest or shirt, which will give them that same feeling of comfort. Bonus points for an item of clothing that has your scent.
6. Try Aromatherapy
Dog whisperer Cesar Milan recommends using aromatherapy to calm a nervous pup. In the weeks leading up to your trip, sprinkle lavender oil on your hands and let your dog become familiar with the scent during favorite activities (think: eating or playing fetch). Relax your pup during the flight by rubbing the lavender oil between your fingertips and letting your dog smell your hands. It’s not a bad time for a head rub, either. The positive association with the calming lavender scent should help to soothe your little Nervous Nelly.
7. Remain Calm
How can your pup stay relaxed if you’re a nervous wreck? Milan also pointed out that dogs can pick up on their owner’s emotions and will feed off negative energy. Even if you’re not the best flyer yourself, keep a cool composure for the sake of your canine companion. Talk to your pet with a positive tone of voice throughout the air travel experience.

8. Arrive Early and Leave Plenty of Time
Sprinting through the airport is not the ideal situation for your pet, who should be kept calm before the flight. And let’s avoid swinging your pet around in his or her carrier while running to the gate, shall we?
9. Prepare for Security
Going through security, you will have to hold your pet and put their carrier and leash through the X-ray belt. If your pet is not comfortable with strangers, let the TSA agent know. TPG reader Olga T. regretted not telling the TSA agent that her cat was nervous around unfamiliar people. The agent went to pet her cat which resulted in a claw to Olga’s face during a failed feline escape attempt.
10. Consult your vet
If all else fails, speak to your veterinarian. What works for one dog (or cat) may not work on another. Your vet will be able to offer you helpful advice specific to your pet, and may even be able to provide pheromones or mild sedatives to help your dog relax.
Feature image by Rima Brindamour for The Washington Post / Getty Images.

The Best Pet-Sitting Options for Traveling Pet Parents

One of the most challenging tasks a pet owner can face is deciding what to do with their pet while traveling. After weighing whether or not you should bring your pet along for the journey, you may find that the best option is to leave them behind. Leaving your fur baby in the care of someone else is an idea that many people are not completely comfortable with, but often there is no other choice. These are some of the best options travelers can choose from when it comes to pet-sitting.
(Photo by Betsie Van Der Meer / Getty Images.)
Rover connects pet parents with a network of animal lovers who will treat their pets like family while they’re away. Travelers in need of a sitter can choose the service that’s right for them, from dog boarding (overnight stay at a sitter’s home) and house sitting (the sitter stays overnight in your home) to drop-in visits for walks and playtime. Rover is a great option because pets can stay in the comfort of their own home and get plenty of one-on-one attention from a loving sitter. The company is picky about the sitters they allow on the site, approving less than 20% of all potential sitters and requiring background checks for new sitters. The Points Guy readers can also receive a $40 credit upon signup.
PetSmart PetsHotel
PetSmart stores offer pet-sitting services for dogs and cats at their very own PetsHotel properties, which are connected to 70 stores nationwide. The PetSmart PetsHotels have standard rooms or upgraded private suites that offer raised cots and televisions airing your pups’ favorite programs. Cats are kept in the Kitty Cottages and are separated from dogs to reduce any anxiety, and complimentary calming pheromones are used to keep pets relaxed for the duration of their stay. The 24/7 onsite care includes exercise walks around large playrooms for pups, and individual playtime daily for cats. Pet owners can choose to provide their own food, or treat their pet with the meals provided.
(Photo courtesy of D Pet Hotels.)
D Pet Hotels
The D Pet Hotels are so luxurious that most humans would be happy to stay in one of the suites. The company, which has locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Austin and Scottsdale, offers three different suites for pet owners to choose from: a small doggie cot, twin-sized bed or queen-sized bed. The rooms feature modern decor and large flat-screen televisions. Meals are prepared by a private chef who cooks up a variety of all-natural, custom recipes. The doggie hotels have their own gyms that include custom doggie treadmills and personal trainers for pups trying to shed a few pounds.
Local Kennels
Local kennels and pet-boarding services are available in almost any location. The best way to find the most reliable kennel is to reach out to friends, neighbors or your veterinarian for recommendations. Still, travelers should read the online reviews and visit the kennel before dropping your pet off to ensure that the space is suitable for your furry friend. Make sure the location looks and smells clean, has proper ventilation and a comfortable room temperature.
Feature photo by Fernando Trabanco Fotografía/Getty Images.

10 Fur-tastic Events Across the Continent for Dog Lovers

Calling all dog lovers! We’ve scoured North America for the finest events featuring cute (and ugly) pups. The best part: you don’t even need a dog of your own to attend. From surfing dogs to racing wieners, let one of these fun doggie events inspire your next vacation.
New York City, New York
The Javits Convention Center will be taken over by wagging tails and furry faces this November for the second annual PetCon in New York City. Attendees are invited to bring their dogs along for two days full of insightful panels, fun activations and meet-and-greets with celebrity pups. Visit the adoption garden to cuddle with cute adoptable pets, and maybe even bring one home with you. This year’s event takes place on Nov. 17 and 18.
Somerville, Massachusetts
The Somerville Dog Festival boasts a day full of fun activities to do with your family (including your dog), contests, demonstrations, vendors and food for pets and people. The festival takes place about 15 minutes outside of Boston. Held every September, Somdogfest even put a doggie play on this year: “Harry Potter Learns He Is a Wizard.” The organization behind this dog festival funds the Somerville Pet Food Bank, providing pet food to homeless and at-risk families throughout eastern Massachusetts.
World’s Ugliest Dog Competition
Petaluma, California
Dogs participating in this competition may have heard the phrase, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” one too many times. The World’s Ugliest Dog Competition is an annual contest held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair every June. The contest has been around for nearly 30 years and has welcomed hundreds of dogs of various breeds and sizes. The canine competitors walk the red carpet while the judges and fans “ooo” and “aww” (and maybe even “ew”) over the ugly dogs seeking the grand prize of $1,500.
(Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.)
Dog Bowl
Frankenmuth, Michigan
The annual Dog Bowl is dubbed “The World’s Largest Olympic Style Event for Dogs.” The Dog Bowl hosts almost 30 different doggie events every May, including a trick tournament, howling competition and frisbee catching contest. In a new dog sport called “Barn Hunt,” pups use their vermin-hunting instincts to search through straw bales to find rats. In addition to the dog events, there are multiple hot air balloon flights that will take place over the weekend. The balloon pilots will compete in a ballooning match, which is an actual sport that requires the pilots to throw bean bags at a target to score points. The next Dog Bowl will be held on May 25 and May 26, in 2019.
Barkus Parade
New Orleans, Louisiana
Did you know that New Orleans hosts a Mardi Gras parade specifically for dogs? The Krewe of Barkus Parade will be holding it’s 27th annual celebration in February. Pups dressed in purple, green and gold walk the streets of the French Quarter to celebrate the holiday. To add to the fun, each year the parade has a different doggie-inspired theme. Recent themes included “Game of Bones: Barkus Marks Its Territory,” and “Bark Wars: The Return of the K9.” The 2019 Barkus Parade will be held on Feb. 24, 2019. 

Corgi Con
San Fransisco, California
Head to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach for a cute canine convention. Corgi Con is a semi-annual gathering of hundreds of corgis from all over the country. In 2017, the event had more than 900 corgis in attendance. The day starts off with a big group photo, followed by a stacked schedule of events. Corgis are even invited to compete in an agility showcase, known as Corgi Ninja Warrior. Other events include corgi races and a costume contest. The events are open to spectators, so you don’t need a corgi to enjoy the festivities. Join the next Corgi Con on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.
(Photo by Jason Doiy/Getty Images.)
Surf City Surf Dog Competition
Huntington Beach, California
Watch some talented canines perform a skill that even most humans haven’t mastered at the Surf City Surf Dog Competition. This annual event is held every September at Huntington Dog Beach. There are multiple heats throughout the day, categorized by dog size and surfing style. Dogs can compete on their own or in tandem with another dog or human. Our favorite competitor is the talented, surfing French bulldog, Cherie! Watch her hang, er, 16 on Sept. 29.
Toronto, Canada
The largest dog festival in North America, Woofstock, is held annually in Toronto, Canada. The weekend-long festival hosts many events, including speaker series, competitions, performances and doga (yes, dog yoga). Through the acts of meditation, massage and stretching, doga is beneficial for both dogs and their humans. Performances to look forward to include the extreme tricks at the Ultimutts Stunt Dog Show (think: piano playing and tightrope walking pups) and the diving dogs at the Dock Dogs event. Pooches can participate in the fashion show, costume contest, canine pageant or the festival’s Canine’s Got Talent show. The next Woofstock takes place on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30, 2018.
Annual Dog Show on the Beach
Cannon Beach, Oregon
The Annual Dog Show on the Beach takes place every October at one of the most pet-friendly beaches in the US. Pooches will compete for “barking rights” in more than 20 categories, including cutest puppy, best handshake, best tail wag and fluffiest dog. There’s also an owner look-alike competition for dog parents who share a natural resemblance to their fur babies. All proceeds from the event go to a local animal shelter. Join the next one on Oct. 20, 2018.
Oktoberfest Wiener Dog Races
Huntington Beach, California
Cheer on your favorite dachshund while he or she wiggles and races across a 22-yard course. The German dog breed inspired this popular event to be held during the Oktoberfest season at beer gardens throughout the country. The most well-known wiener races can be found in Huntington Beach at The Old World Village. Spectators can enjoy the “Running of the Wieners” every Sunday in September and October during The Old World Village’s big Oktoberfest celebration.
Feature photo by damedeeso / Getty Images.

8 Things to Consider Before Flying With Your Pet

Traveling with your favorite, furry companion may sound like a blast. And for some people, it may even be a necessity. But every animal is an individual with its own unique ways of responding to situations — and they’re not all born to be world travelers.
While we can’t speak for all pets, there are a handful of things you should consider before flying with your pet for the first time.
Has Your Pet Traveled Before?
Taking a dog who has never flown before on a cross-country adventure may not be ideal. “The biggest mistake that pet owners could make is expecting too much too soon,” pet behaviorist and owner of School For The Dogs, Annie Grossman, told TPG. Test the waters by taking your pet on a short commuter flight to see if they’re fit for a longer journey. If possible, it’s best to introduce travel to your pet while they’re still a puppy, preferably when he or she is still under 12-weeks old, before the socialization window closes.
How Old Is Your Pet?
Though you want to put the training wings on early, the USDA requires that pets must be older than 8-weeks old to fly. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you won’t want to fly with an animal that is too old, either. The burden of flying on a senior animal could be too much for them to handle.
Does Your Pet Have Health Issues?
Animals with existing conditions can have serious complications during plane travel. According to Air Travel Consumer Reports from the Department of Transportation (DOT), heart and respiratory issues are the most common causes of animal deaths in the air. If your pet has an existing medical issue, a temporary illness or an injury, leave them on the ground if you can.
(Photo by Kait Ebinger.)
Is Your Pet Easily Stressed?
If your dog hides in the bathtub every time it thunders, a trip on a noisy airplane — especially in cargo — will not be a pleasant experience for him or her. There are a few ways you can deal with a nervous dog when flying, but if travel isn’t necessary, it’s best to just leave them at home. Even adults get nervous during take off, so just imagine what it’s like for an animal with heightened senses, experiencing an unfamiliar pressure change without warning. Dr. Jeffrey Kaplan, a Massachusetts-based veterinarian, recommended stress-relieving pheromone products (like Feliway for cats) that can be sprayed in the carrier if travel is a must. 
What Breed Is Your Pet?
Snub-nosed (also known as brachycephalic) animals are susceptible to respiratory difficulties while flying. These breeds include pugs, Boston terriers and boxers, and some felines are included in this list as well, like Burmese, Himalayan and Persian cats. Most airlines do not allow brachycephalic breeds in the cargo hold.
How Large Is Your Pet?
If your pet is too big to fit in a carrier under a seat, you’ll have to put them in cargo — something that is strongly discouraged unless absolutely necessary. “Unless your animal is small enough to fit under your seat and you can bring him or her in the cabin, the ASPCA [advises] pet owners to not fly their animal,” said Lisa Weisberg, ASPCA senior vice president of government affairs and public policy.
(Photo by Ben Schonewille / Getty Images.)
How Long Is the Trip?
“If the trip is less than a week, I wouldn’t recommend pet travel unless it had to be done,” Kaplan said. It can take cats and dogs a few weeks to get acclimated to a new environment, Kaplan said, which is an additional stressor on top of air travel.
Is Your Pet Comfortable in a Carrier?
An injury to the paw or nail while trying to make a grand escape from the crate is one of the top causes of injuries for dogs held in cargo, according to the DOT. The best way to get your pet familiar with a carrier is to let them lay in it at home. Give them treats while they’re inside and make the carrier feel like a positive place.
In addition to asking yourself these important questions, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian before bringing your pet on a plane. He or she will be able to give you an expert opinion based on your individual pet.
Feature photo by Richard Atrero de Guzman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images