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This article was first published 8 years ago  » Getahead » Pet's day out: Your dog needs a holiday too!

Pet's day out: Your dog needs a holiday too!

By Hepzi Anthony
December 15, 2015 14:20 IST
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Now your pet can tag along with you on vacations!


Photographs: Courtesy Grashoofd/ Wiki Commons

Pets are finally getting to have their share of fun -- out in the sun. 

For long, pets were left back at home, handed over to  friends or relatives or just packed off to kennels or pet boarders while owners, enjoyed their vacations.

But now as the concept of pets as family members -- and not just as security guards -- gains ground, more and more hotels are opening their doors to pets.

Not only are these hotels warming up to the idea of allowing access to pets in their precincts, but they are also opening up their facilities to them!

This has encouraged pet owners to step out more comfortably with their pets.

The soaring demand for holidays with pets has also led to tour operators offering special outings for pets and their families.  

"Many of the resorts/hotels are reluctant to tag themselves as pet-friendly resorts lest they lose their non-dog friendly customer base, which veers on the majority side.

"So, while they may allow pets to be with you in your hotel room, they expect pets to be on leash at their restaurants, pool sides or other parts of the resorts," explains Vinayak Prabhu of

Prabhu’s portal specialises in identifying pet friendly vacation spots across the country. Which is why the portal puts up pictures of the resorts, but refuses to identify them lest they face boycott from the non-dog friendly crowd.

The portal also ensures that each guest signs a tripartite agreement between the resort, the guest and the portal expecting them to follow rules like cleaning up their pet poops themselves and ensuring that the pets are not left unattended in their hotel rooms.      

The portal was born out of the hurdles that Prabhu and his wife Anupama faced while vacationing with their pets. Today, the Prabhus also run a separate wing of arranging pet relocations across India and abroad.

While the Prabhus merely direct you to pet-friendly resorts, others like Shivani Kolge of SneakOut Tours organises exclusive weekend outings strictly for pets and their parents. Such outings, generally hosted at kennel resorts close to Mumbai, include hosting special 'play sessions' and games like treasure hunt for the pets.


Photograph: Courtesy Lewis Collard/ Wiki Commons

"We also put up tents and host campouts to give pets and their owners a feel of the wilderness," says Kolge. 

They also have special trainers onboard to handle the temperament of the dogs and ensure that the pets do not fight among themselves.

Also, the pet strength is strictly kept at a manageable number to ensure that it does not get crowded, and all of them have a good time besides ensuring that things do not go out of control. Special food is also provided for the pets at these outings.

Kolge came up with this idea when she found that many of her pet parent friends had to depend on friends or neighbours for pet-sitting while stepping out for vacations or even small outings.

Emboldened by the good response, new groups like Pranita Balar's Bark-N-Bond now organises outings where pets are literally free birds. Right from the time they enter the resort to the time they step out, the pets are completely off the leash. To make this possible, Balar ensured that she booked out an entire resort so that the pets could swim in the pool, bond with nature and have a field day outdoors.

Not stopping at that, she also organises a trek for the pet along with its parent to develop and foster the bond between them.

"Pet parents get to relax with their pets, and also get to meet and share knowledge with other pet parents. On a regular holiday, you can’t talk to other people about pets as they may not understand your feelings about pets," she says.

Being a canine behavioural consultant herself, Balar also ensure that unfriendly pets are kept at a distance. Not surprisingly, today many of her patrons connect on WhatsApp groups where they share information about raising pets.

On the flip side, most of these groups have huge events, which are organised only when they manage to find a sizeable number of patrons. So, if you have a tight schedule and you can’t match up theirs, then you can just send over only your pet out alone for a vacation.

"I feel guilty vacationing out alone. I feel that my pets also need to have a good time. So, I send them over to a boarder at Khandala, where they get to enjoy out in the open farms. I get regular updates and pictures on WhatsApp. He also comes over to Mumbai to pick up my pets and drop them home. Otherwise, if I feel like going out on a short trip, I just call up the pet taxi service and take my pets out by road," says pet parent Meera Damji, a radio jockey with Radio Mirchi.

Damji suggests that pet parents should always do their basic research before sending their pet over to a new place. It is important to find out details like how long the pets will be kept out of leash per day, and the kind of place they would be kept at.

"Always ask around about the place and do visit it once before to check on them. Don’t just go by Google search," she cautions.

A huge problem faced by most pet parents is that many airlines refuse to allow pets onboard. The few that do allow pets like Jet, SpiceJet and Air India only allow the pets to travel in crates in the cargo section of the plane. All this also comes with a lot of documentation and many terms and conditions, which discourages air travel for pet parents.

"The problem is that most airlines do not allow pets onboard. The few that do, want them to travel in crates in the cargo section of the plane.

"I can’t put my pet in a crate nor can I leave her with any unknown person.

"My pet is a family member. We always ensure that at least one of our family members makes it a point to stay back with our pet when we go out.

"We’re quite particular about our pet and don’t even trust our servants with them. We just take them out to places close by like Khandala or Lonavala.

"Yes, that also means that our entire family can’t go out on a vacation together, but that is okay with us…as that’s our commitment towards them,’’ says Meenakshi Chirawawala, project head of Teach Coexist, the School Animal Awareness Program of the NGO, World For All.

Meenakshi has two pet dogs and takes care of eight community cats in her building. 

If they have to step out, pet parents feel safer to have pet-sitters come over to their place to stay during that period, so that their pets are not kept out of their comfort zones.

When Meghna Vira, a digital solution provider, wanted to attend a wedding at Hyderabad, she got a pet-sitter to watch over her pet in Mumbai. "We always include our pet on our road trips and she loves it equally. But, since it is difficult getting her to travel by air, we get help from pet support group or pet-sitters.  

However, not all pet parents are biting the bait of pet vacations. Pet rescuer Christina Lobo-Jha concurs, "I don’t feel like going out without my pets. When I do go out, then I want to return back soon as I miss them. I don’t leave my pets with pet boarders since I don’t want them to return with ticks or infection, besides them having to go through the trauma of going to a new place. Also, you never know how they handle the pets," says Jha.

This does mean very less or almost no vacations for Jha, who also takes care of strays. But she is quite comfortable with the situation. "It’s a small sacrifice that I am willing to make for all the love and affection that I get from them," she says.

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Hepzi Anthony