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Harley McGuire on Travels with Seniors

Harley McGuire, SedonaEye.com star Four Paws Up Pet Columnist salutes his pals at Canines for Independence!

Harley McGuire, SedonaEye.com star Four Paws Up Pet Columnist salutes his pals at Canines for Independence!

Sedona AZ (August 14, 2014)Hey there, pals and moms and dads, more and more people are traveling with their pets these days, and businesses are taking notice. Pet friendly business practices are popping up all over, from banks who open their doors to both pets and people, to restaurants with special doggie menus, to pet friendly hotels that offer their canine guests a specially crafted welcome basket.

When businesses consider the demographics of those who might be traveling with pets, they should take care to keep a significant group in mind – those beautiful and handsome seniors!

According to the Federal Census Bureau, in 2012 there were 43 million seniors living in the United States in 2012. That number is expected to double by 2050.

Sixty-two percent of households in the United States had at least one pet in 2012. While there aren’t specific statistics available on how many of those households are comprised of seniors, it’s safe to say that a healthy number of seniors do have one or more pets.

With no children left to care for at home, seniors often treat their pets as surrogate children, pampering them, doting on them, and bringing them along as pet travel companions. Yeah, pals!

Harley McGuire pals Mojo and Nikki

Harley McGuire pals Mojo and Nikki

Because seniors are often retired with grown children, many tend to have extra time on their hands so lots of ball throwing and tickle time . This means they can take lengthier trips and travel farther than those who are committed to work schedules or tending to the needs of growing families. With no children in the home to support and fewer living expenses, many seniors have extra money to spend on hobbies and other activities, including leisure travel and trips to our favorite dog parks.

Hey, pals! This means our moms and dads are willing to spend money indulging their favorite four-legged companions – that’s you and that’s me!

These factors together make seniors an important and often under served potential client base for pet friendly businesses. There are a number of things businesses can do to earn the patronage and loyalty of seniors, including:

Loyalty Programs

Stores, hotels and restaurants can create pet-centric loyalty programs that encourage repeat business. Pet stores can offer seniors progressive discounts, reward cards, or drawings for prizes or merchandise. Hotels can offer free nights for multiple visits with pets. And restaurants can promote offer a free appetizer and free doggie treats to seniors who bring their pets.

Harley and gal pal Nikki

Harley and gal pal Nikki


Hotel discounts (or waived hotel pet fees) for seniors, senior discounts on pet merchandise, and meal discounts for seniors who visit restaurants with their pets are all excellent ways for businesses to build loyalty among older patrons.

Pet Friendly Partnerships

Reaching out to other pet friendly or pet-centric businesses to form partnerships – a hotel partnering with a doggie spa to offer discounts and added amenities, for example — can be win-win for everyone. Seniors can have access to more products and services at better prices, while both businesses receive more exposure and the opportunity to build loyalty among senior customers.

Harley McGuire pals, Chip and Dale

Harley McGuire pals, Chip and Dale

With more Baby Boomers reaching senior status all the time, and more people in general traveling with and catering to their pets, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses to serve the valuable, and sometimes overlooked senior demographic. They just have to find creative ways to roll out the welcome wagon for me and my pals.

The Trips With Pets website features a directory of pet friendly hotels and accommodations across the United States and Canada, as well as airline and car rental pet policies. My pal, Kim Salerno, founded the pet travel site in 2003 and is an expert in the field of pet travel to keep us safe on the road while we’re out and about.

For more fun with Harley McGuire and his Super Mom, follow the SedonaEye.com! It’s monsoon season with lots of lightning here in Sedona, Arizona, and yours truly, Harley McGuire, is stylin’ around town wearing my Thundershirt, a guaranteed “keeping it brave” fashion statement! Be jealous, my four paws up pals!

For the best Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!


  1. Buster says:

    Hi Harley. How come you are soooo wise? (cute, too)
    It’s good to know you’re still on the job!

  2. Skipper says:

    Hey Harley,
    Remember when we went to Wild Flower to celebrate Mother’s Day with our Moms? We sat outside and got to eat yummy bacon and home fries. It’s so nice to go to a public place that really loves having us around?

    Pretty soon it’ll be cooler so we can go more in the car with the windows wide open, smelling the anticipation of bacon.

  3. The more pet-friendly places the better! Did the Chamber see this???

  4. Hi Harley; long time no hear from you. Though our mommy and daddy won’t be seniors for a very long time (heh heh), we can assure you that when their time comes, they most certainly will NOT be bringing us along as travel companions. Who wants to travel with cats anyway?? Geez. Nevertheless (Clyde here), we do think you had some most excellent tips and advice (par for the course) and know that those older people will benefit from taking their canine friends (don’t doggies make better travelers anyway?).

  5. Nikki & Mojo says:

    Boy, were we surprised to see our picture in your latest article about seniors and travelling with pets (our favorite subject)…flattered as all getout! Our pawsome Mom & Dad don’t stay in hotels but only visit friends & relatives who love us & allow us to stay with them. Which is why pawsome Mom & Dad make us a very well behaved pair. Luv your articles, Bro. Forever your friends.

  6. Mom’s scolding me. She says I’m way over-do in minding my manners to thank all of my pals (old and new) for taking time to comment. Ya see, it’s been pretty stormy and I still don’t like that thunder. It makes me shake a lot but my Thundershirt helps calm my nerves. Do any of you have suggestions about how I can stop the shakes when that huge beastie in the sky beats that humungus drum? Wowee, I don’t mind the drum rolls so much but the crash-bangers with the cymbals, well too much for this aging pup.

    I’m thrilled to have a couple of bunnies added to my list of Eye Pals. Thanks, gang.

    Harley McGuire

  7. Nikki & Mojo says:

    love your articles, Harley. Many have asked for our “pawgraphs” since our picture appeared in your article. Yea, we’re famous.
    Nikki & Mojo

  8. Skipper says:

    hi Harley,
    I have an idea that might help remedy your problem when those loud crash bangers start.
    Jump in your Mom’s arms and let her soothe your tender brow with her loving fingers. She’s got the right touch, so see if that works. Or maybe get your head under the covers and snuggle with your Mom and stay there till it all stops.

    Get under the bed. Hide your eyes. Meditate. Take a nap. You can’t eat chocolate, so eat cookies. Wear ear plugs. Stay away from the windows. Watch “Too Cute” on Animal Planet and fall in love with a puppy.
    That’s my advice.

  9. Hi Harley McGuire:

    Another little bird gave me this suggestion for calming your nerves during a bad storm. When a crash bam-boom thunder storm happens, get your mother to play the piano for you. If she’s really mad at city hall for sure she’ll pound that keyboard and play loud enough to drown out the really loud clappers and maybe even wake the dead. Try it, you’ll see. Good luck.

    Your friend,
    A Little Bird

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