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Traveling with your Pet to Sedona — Pet Friendly Sedona Hotels and Hiking Trails

El Portal is an award winning pet friendly Sedona hotel.

For most pet owners, pets are part of the family and a Sedona vacation would not be nearly as much fun without their presence. How can you travel with your pet while keeping your best friend happy, and free from stress or harm? Do you travel by car or plane? Once you arrive at your destination, what's next? The ideal solution is a truly pet-friendly hotel, with hospitality professionals who are experienced with all aspects of helping you care for your pet.

Don’t take a hotel’s claim that it is pet-friendly at face value. Many hotels accept pets, but not all welcome them. If you are considering a hotel that will charge you extra for bringing your furry friend, look for another option if possible. Hotels that are truly pet-friendly will not upcharge you and will take steps to ensure that human and non-human guests alike have a comfortable stay. Always call the hotel in advance of your trip to ask about their pet policies, and try to gauge their true attitude toward pets.

If you are flying to your destination, research the airline’s policies for transporting animals. Larger pets are usually confined to the cargo area, and some airlines will not transport pets unless it is below 85 degrees F. at both the departure and arrival airports. They also must be able to fully stand up in their crate without ducking their head. For a large dog, that can mean a very large, pricey crate.  If your pet is small enough to fit under the seat, research the best type of carrier and whether the airline recommends a particular brand. Allow your pet a chance to become accustomed to the carrier well in advance of the trip. Try to book direct flights if possible to minimize the length of the journey. If you are driving, be sure to schedule stops every few hours to allow yourself and your pet a chance to stretch and breathe some fresh air. For safety in the event of an accident, your pet should be kept in a crate or carrier that is restrained by a seatbelt in the back seat. Of course, avoid leaving your pet in the car even on days that feel cool or when you'll only be gone for a short time. On a 72-degree day, the temperature inside a car can soar to over 100 degrees F. within an hour. Feed your pet only small meals before traveling to reduce the risk of motion sickness.

It's a good idea to visit the veterinarian prior to traveling. This way, your pet can receive any needed vaccinations or prescriptions.  You should also bring your pet's familiar items in a small overnight bag: feeding bowls, bed, favorite toy, food, blanket, and any medications that may be needed.

Once in the hotel room, avoid leaving your pet alone. Aside from the fact that many hotels don't allow pets to be left alone, it may cause your pet to become anxious and possibly disruptive to other guests. If planning a day trip or other excursion and bringing your pet is not an option, look for a well established kennel and board for the day (we use Bark and Purr in West Sedona for Ernie). Boarding does require that your pet is up to date on vaccines. Some hotels require this as well, and it will protect your pet as well as other animals.

Sedona, Arizona is surrounded by easy to moderate hiking trails that are ideal for for people to explore with their pets. If you decide to bring your dog along for a hike, do keep him or her on a short leash. A shorter leash will help keep your dog from unseen hazards just off the trail. One example is cactus: there is lots of prickly pear cactus hugging the shoulders of the trails; long, sharp barbs can cause a very painful experience. Especially when hiking in warm weather, be sure to take water and a small plastic bowl and consider using a cooling collar for your dog as well. Trails that are fun to hike with dogs include: The Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point; The Andante and Chimney Rock trails; the Mystic and Hog Trail system; The Bell Rock Pathway trail system. There are more, but these are the ones that we use frequently and really enjoy with Ernie, our Boston Terrier.

As for a pet friendly hotel, travelers may want to check out El Portal Sedona Hotel, adjacent to Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in Sedona. El Portal won first place in the “Best Pet-Friendly Hotel” category in USA Today’s 10Best.com travel award contest. El Portal is a boutique hotel that offers upscale Southwestern style, top-notch amenities, and personalized concierge services to guests and their pets. Each room at El Portal accommodates pets of various sizes, and a dog-friendly patios with over 1,000 square feet of fenced-in space allows you to conveniently grab some fresh air with your travel companion. El Portal never charges any pet fees. El Portal is an AAA Four Diamond Hotel, has been ranked one of the top hotels in the Southwest by Conde Nast Traveler readers, and has received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award.

For more information about El Portal Sedona Hotel, visit: www.elportalsedona.com.