Post originally published on August 9, 2017. Most recently updated on December 26, 2019.
One of the most common issues a traveler can have is making sure their animals are properly cared for while they are away. Kennels can get expensive, and some pets develop anxiety and will not eat at a kennel (our cat is a prime example). We are lucky enough to have friends who can stay at our house to watch our animals when we are not home. But in a perfect world, we would have our animals travel with us wherever we go!
Unfortunately, life is not always that easy – particularly if you are traveling internationally. But when you can bring your pup along for the ride, do it! You’ll both be that much happier and comforted knowing you are together. Here are some tips for traveling with your four-legged children.
1 – Make sure your pup is up-to-date on all vaccines and licensing.
You never know what you and your pup might run into while you’re traveling – ticks in the woods, a rabid raccoon, diseases from other dogs, etc. It’s best to be prepared. You should also have your dog licensed (and microchipped if possible) for proper identification. Don’t forget a dog tag with a contact phone number!
If you will be staying in one location for your trip, it’s a good idea to check for local vet recommendations before you go! That way, in case of emergency, you are prepared and know where you can take your furbaby. Bring a copy of their vet records as back-up.
When you’re traveling with a pet, there is so much more to consider. Will he/she always be leashed? What if they get car sick? What happens if we encounter another animal? Elizabeth Waddington (contributing writer for Your RV Lifestyle) gives insight to all this and more in her article about traveling with pets in an RV.
2- Check to make sure your hotel accepts dogs.
There are actually several hotels that allow furry four-legged friends. The thing to remember here is to confirm with the hotel that the dog is allowed – some places have restrictions on breeds or weight. You also need to check on any extra costs that may be incurred. Some hotels will charge only a deposit; others charge a one-time fee; and still others charge a nightly rate. Make sure you know up front how much it will cost to have your pup with you.
3 – Eat outside whenever possible.
It should be a no-brainer that restaurants will not allow dogs inside. It breaks all sorts of health codes. But, most restaurants that offer outdoor seating will allow dogs! Even if it means sitting on the perimeter of the patio – as long as the patio is accessible without walking through the restaurant.
The most dog-friendly places even offer a treat or a bowl of water for their customers’ dog. Starbucks has become known for their “puppucinos“, but they aren’t alone. Several other places offer treats for pups as well! The best thing to do is to think ahead and make sure you find restaurants where you can eat outside so that your pup can be with you – and NOT in the car!
4 – Plan activities that allow you to bring your dog with you.
Before you plan to bring your dog on your vacation, think about what activities you will be doing. Are they mostly dog-friendly? Or mostly not? Parks, gardens, and other outdoor destinations are most likely to welcome your furry friends. Breweries and wineries are often dog-friendly too! Museums, shops, and other indoor activities usually do NOT welcome the fluffy visitors. One of favorite road trips was to Vermont and New Hampshire because we spent the day at breweries and hiking, so Kit had a blast with us!
If you realize that you will be spending most of your time doing activities that do not accept your pup, you may want to reconsider bringing him. For small amounts of time, you may be able to leave your pup in a crate in the hotel room, but not for very long. And NEVER leave your dog unattended in a hot car. That is the absolute worst thing you can do. Check out BringFido.com for a search engine of dog-friendly places wherever you travel.
5 – Plan for frequent stops.
You may be able to hold it and wait for the next rest stop, but your pup might not. Long car rides can make him/her a little antsier than usual – so make sure you’re stopping enough to let your pup go to the bathroom and stretch his/her legs.
Also, it’s a good idea to test out a short car ride with your pup before committing to a long haul. It’ll be a good way to see how they react to getting in the car and if they get motion sickness.
Your pup’s favorite blanket or dog bed will give him extra comfort on your trip. Don’t forget to bring him a toy or two to play with too! You don’t want the pup to be bored in the car or at your destination. And this may be obvious, but be sure to pack your pup’s food! Estimate how much food you’ll need for the length of your trip and add a little extra to be safe. Grab a bag of treats and you’re good to go!
7 – Be prepared with the best travel gear for your pup.
A collapsible dog dish – these are fantastic! They take up very little space, and can even be clipped to your backpack or your dog’s leash. And it’s handy whenever your dog needs to eat or drink.
A dog water bottle – this bottle pushes the water up into a bowl when you squeeze it. Then when your dog is done, let go and the water goes back into the bottle – no waste!
A seat belt clip – Make sure your dog stays where he should be in the back seat, and keep him from trying to get in the front!
Pet waste bag dispenser – The most important thing to buy if you’re taking your dog anywhere for a walk, and you’ll never regret it. The dispenser easily clips on the leash and is handy for whenever you need it!