Pamper your pets at animal-only resorts and spas  »

I have long been an animal-lover who also enjoys traveling. As a result, I have often hired a petsitter or boarded my pets in kennels before heading out of town. Times have changed since I bid temporary farewell to my first pet, however; nowadays, pet resorts and spas are popping up all over, giving pet owners the chance to treat their companions to a little luxury while their humans are at play. As someone who thinks “roughing it” is a hotel without room service, I have been more than happy to board my spoiled pets in a little style.

The simple fact is that some of the pet resorts I’ve researched treat pets better than humans. Specialty services I’ve seen offered include “pawdicures,” and dog treadmills, where canines can get some indoor exercise. At first I didn’t think there was a difference between treadmills for humans and treadmills for dogs, but I was wrong. I hadn’t considered how much pets shed—my life is so covered in animal hair that it’s second nature to have a lint brush in my hand. Dog treadmills are equipped to handle inconveniences like that pet fluff and, like human treadmills, can be a great way for animals to get a little exercise, especially during inclement weather or if they’re unable to get outside for regular activity. I like knowing that my vacation means a vacation for my pets as well, and that they’ll be well looked after when I can’t take them for daily walks.

Some pf the amenities that pet spas offer are a little silly—limousine rides and spa treatments? I love my animals dearly, but my cat normally spends her day sleeping on top of a box lid, and my dog, although discouraged, drinks out of the toilet. I’m thankful for realistic-sounding folks like those at San Francisco’s Pet Camp. The services offered make me want to move to the West Coast so that my dear feline could experience the Cat Safari or my pup could romp with dogs his age and size at Dog Camp, as well as go for a dip in a heated indoor pool. It’s great to know that there are pet get-aways that treat animals well—probably so well that I would have trouble getting my buddies to come back home!

As people travel to see family at holidays and look for reliable and fun places where four-legged family members’ needs will be well looked after, I think they’ll increasingly turn to high-end pet-boarding. Amenities like catered meals, beds that look more luxurious than those humans sleep in, and fancy meals certainly make a gal want to vacation with her pets instead of boarding them.

Danielle Rhodes, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys baking vegan brownies and volunteering a few times a month at her local animal shelter.

[photo by Jorge Quinteros via Flickr]

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