How to Take a Vacation with Your Dog

Is there anything more heartbreaking than saying goodbye to your dog before leaving for vacation? Instead of leaving your pet behind on your next getaway, take the dog along. With some smart planning, you can organize a trip that’s fun for both of you.

Preparing Your Dog for Travel

Before traveling with your dog, there’s some business to attend to. Make sure your dog’s ID tags and microchip are up-to-date with current contact information. You should also visit your veterinarian to update vaccines and give your dog a parasite preventative. This is especially important if you plan to visit dog parks on your travels — you don’t want your dog to get sick or catch fleas halfway through the trip! It’s also a good idea to refresh yourself on dog park safety tips, such as how to break up a dog fight and recognize when a dog is anxious or aggressive.

Take copies of your dog’s updated veterinary records with you on vacation. If you decide to board your dog or use a doggie daycare service, you’ll need proof of vaccinations.

Packing for Your Dog

Don’t forget to pack your pup’s luggage before heading on vacation. Pack your dog’s usual food along with a bed and favorite toy. Rather than bringing his usual dishes, buy collapsible bowls to save space. Stock your trunk with a few jugs of water to keep your pup hydrated, and make sure you have a leash and harness he can’t slip out of. If you’re fussy about your car’s interior, install a seat cover before hitting the road.

Choosing a Dog-Friendly Getaway

Not every travel destination is suited for pets. Destinations with plenty of outdoor activities are best when you’re traveling with a canine companion: think beaches, mountains, and state and national parks. Not only will your dog be allowed, but you’ll also get plenty of physical activity so your dog stays calm on vacation.

However, don’t assume every outdoor activity permits dogs. Some national parks and beaches don’t allow dogs, while others restrict where dogs are permitted within the park. Remember to always check rules regarding pets before settling on a travel destination; PetFriendlyTravel.com lists the rules for various public lands around the country.

Finding Pet-Friendly Dining and Lodging

Finding a pet-friendly room is fairly easy these days. In addition to hotels that permit pets, vacation rentals are a great option when traveling with your dog. When it comes to finding a place to eat, restaurants with patios are usually a safe bet. For dining recommendations from other doting dog owners, check out the listings and reviews on BringFido.

Staying Active While Traveling

Everyone knows that a well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog. To avoid an antsy dog whining in the back seat or an anxious pooch tearing up the hotel room, make sure your getaway includes daily exercise. If you’ve planned a vacation that centers around hiking or other outdoor activities, staying active should be easy. However, if you’re spending a day in the city, harder to find opportunities for exercise. Look for local parks and dog parks, plan a walking tour of your travel destination, or start your day with a long run. If you’ve planned activities your dog can’t join in on, book a day at doggie daycare so your pet gets plenty of stimulation.

Traveling with your dog is a wonderful way to strengthen your bond, especially if an active vacation is your idea of fun. However, not all trips are appropriate for pets. If you’re traveling and can’t bring your pet along, or you won’t be able to give your dog enough attention on the road, reserve a stay at a boarding facility instead. It won’t make saying goodbye any easier, but you can enjoy your trip knowing your pet is in good hands.

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