With summer vacation season here, I thought it would be a good time to talk about travelling with dogs (most people are not brave enough to travel with cats, but if your cat is one of those super outgoing kitties, go for it). So here are a few tips to help you make your trip as easy as possible for you and your pet.
- Have a plan – Know where you are planning to go, stay, eat and hang out. If you are a person who likes to get in the car with no set schedule and see where you end up, it might be better to leave your pet at home. Travelling with pets comes with some challenges. They need a place to stay and not every hotel, B&B or guest house is OK with animals. Some charge extremely high fees (which I secretly suspect are to discourage animal lovers from bring their pets) and many just don’t allow them at all. Have you checked for pet friendly restaurants or made other plans for meal time? What are you going to do when you get there? You can’t dump your best friend somewhere and then take off to see the sights. So planning your trip is essential. There are some great apps you can download that can help with all of the above. The one I use is called Bring Fido and is a great tool.
- Make reservations – After you plan out your itinerary, call and make reservations. You don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere with no place to stay because they didn’t have any room left. If you need some ideas of places to stay, check out my post from a few weeks ago.
- Pack a bag for your pet – You packed all your stuff now don’t forget your pets stuff. Taking things like their favorite toys and their bed with help them feel comfortable in a new environment. Remember to bring the essentials as well. Enough of their normal food (you don’t want tummy trouble away from home), their bowls (food and water) and plenty of bags to clean up after them is a must.
- Make sure to take lots of breaks – Nobody enjoys being cooped up in a car when they need to pee! Give your dog plenty of breaks to take care of business and get some exercise before getting back on the road. Most rest stops have grassy areas that are large enough to serve your purpose.
- Stick to a normal schedule – Dogs are creatures of habit. They eat, sleep, walk and play at pretty much the same time every day. Try to maintain their normal schedule as much as possible. It will help your dog stay relaxed and happy (not to mention help keep their digestive system happy).
- Make sure your dog is microchipped – This one is so important! Dogs are not always comfortable out of their home environment. A frightened dog may bolt before you know what is happening. If your animal is chipped, you have the best chance of getting them home. While we’re talking about it, keep your dog on a leash in an unfamiliar area. There is nothing that will ruin a fun vacation faster than the loss of your beloved pet.
- Last but not least – Be considerate of the area you are visiting. Pick up after your dog, keep barking to a minimum when in hotels, and don’t allow your dog to run up to or jump on other people enjoying the area. Be a good ambassador for bringing your pet places and more places will allow pets to be part of the scene.