Dog-Friendly Vacations and Traveling Tips

Vacation Ideas

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Hotels

Search the web for pet-friendly hotels, vacation rentals, campgrounds, or bed & breakfasts. Travel sites like Expedia and Priceline let you search pet-friendly. It will usually say on a hotel's website if it is pet-friendly, but you can always give them a call if it's not clear. Some hotels, like Kimpton, even provide pets with their own bed, snacks and water bowl. Most places do require a pet fee though, so be prepared.

It doesn't need to be said that dogs love the outdoors. Think endless fetch, swimming in the lake, and room to run and play. Before going to a state park, check to make sure it is pet-friendly.

Soak up the sun while your dog plays! Another often dog-friendly option is to take a beach vacation. Research dog-friendly beaches beforehand. Never leave your dog unattended. Off leash options.

Restaurants

Vineyards that allow dogs. 

Activities

Packing List:

Identification

Your dog should have at least two forms of ID, such as a collar and tags, a tattoo or a microchip. ID tags with your address and phone number should be attached to a buckled collar. Ideally, an ID tag should also have your vacation destination and a number where you can be reached.

See more information on identification for your dog.

Food, Water, and Equipment

Pack a supply of your dog's regular diet. Bring food bowls, water bowls, grooming equipment, a sturdy leash, and waste pickup materials like plastic bags. Familiar blankets, pillows, toys, and treats will make a dog more comfortable in a strange environment. Tip: In the case that your dog has an accident, white vinegar works as well as any commercial product to remove "doggy smells" from carpeting and upholstery.

Medications and First-Aid Kit

If your dog isn't already on heartworm medication, check with your vet to see whether she will need it for the region you are visiting. Bring any medications your dog normally takes, and consult with your vet about car- or airsickness and the need for tranquilizers. Pack a canine first-aid kit (available at pet-supply stores) to deal with minor emergencies.

Paperwork

Take rabies and health certificates with you—they are required for crossing international borders and at many campgrounds and parks. Take your vet's phone number as well.

Tips for Car Travel

  • Protect your pet by providing the proper restraint or carrier.
  • Refrain from feeding your dog for at least three hours, and take him or her for a long walk before starting your trip.
  • Stop frequently—every few hours—and give your dog fresh drinking water. Let your dog relieve his or herself and walk around a bit.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash when traveling. In a new place, there's a great temptation to run off and explore, so put the leash on before you and your dog get out of the car.
  • Never leave a dog alone in a car on a hot day. Even with a slightly open window, a car can get unbearably hot. If you must leave your dog in the car, family members should take turns sitting with your pet and turn on the air conditioning or roll the windows down. Even in cool weather, do not leave your dog inside the car for long periods of time.
  • Make sure there is enough fresh air for your dog. Windows should be open enough to let air circulate but not wide enough for a dog to fall out or stick his head out.
  • After you have arrived at your destination or stopped for the day, feed your dog. The closer this is to a dog's regular feeding time, the more relaxed and comfortable your dog will feel.

Tips for Airline Travel

  • Make airline, hotel, and resort reservations for your pet as early as possible. Airlines limit pet reservations, both in the cargo area and in the cabin. Always call ahead to ask about pet policies.
  • If your dog is not accustomed to riding in the car, take him or her for short practice rides to fun places, like the park, before you go on a long trip. As you gradually lengthen the rides, you will be able to predict how well your dog will adapt to an extended journey.
  • Watch the weather. If extreme heat or cold or excessive turbulence is expected, an airline will not allow your dog on the plane.
  • If at all possible, choose nonstop flights; pets, like luggage, can get lost when changing planes.
  • Every dog passenger must be in an airline-approved carrier or crate. Call your airline to make sure that your crate meets their standards. Place "Live Animal" labels on the crate to ensure that airline staff handles with care.
  • Take your dog for a walk before you leave for the airport, even if the flight is short. Travel is unpredictable and there can be unexpected layovers and delays.
  • When the plane lands, go directly to the pickup area to meet your pet. Have water and some food or treats with you and plan to spend a few minutes saying hello and exercising your pet before you hop into a car and finish the journey.

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