If you are like me you want to take your dogs with you everywhere you go, and vacations are no exception. In fact, many of the destinations I choose are a result of pain staking research to determine acceptable locations for my dogs and me. For example, we just returned from Howard Creek Ranch Inn, a rustic B&B on the Mendocino coast of California. Howard Creek Inn is pet friendly with acres of old growth forest to hike and direct access to the beach. We had a great time because we did the following:
- Plan Ahead: Find places that are pet friendly. More and more hotels and B&B’s are allowing pets for a nominal fee. Call ahead to find out if there are any restrictions they may have regarding pet size or the number of pets allowed. Most hotels and B&B’s will not allow you to leave your dog unattended in the room unless they are crated. Triple A offers the guide “Traveling with Your Pet” which is available at most book stores.
- Pre-Travel Meal: Feed your dog a light meal before you travel. Depending on how much time you have available from feeding time to your departure time, will determine how much to feed your pet. You know your pet’s digestion and evacuation schedule. Just plan accordingly. If you will be flying, it is best to skip breakfast.
- Potty Breaks: Everybody needs potty breaks and your dog is no exception. This a good time for you and your dog to stretch your legs. Make sure his collar or harness is on and you can locate his leash. Lastly, be sure to bring along an ample supply of poop bags. Be considerate and clean up after your dog. Dog waste just doesn’t magically disappear. Look to Dog Bag for their large assortment of waste bags and dispensers. All Dog Bag poop bags are made of recycled plastic.
- Bring Water: Believe or not, your dog can get dehydrated just sitting in the back seat of the car. Bring water from home or pick up some bottled water. You will need a water bowl. There are many water bowls available today designed just for travel. Doggles manufactures a wide variety of unique and creatively decorated travel bowls.
- Seat Belt: We all know about the seat belt laws. It’s not a myth, seat belts save lives. What is not talked about is that it may save your pet’s life to. Your pet’s safety should be your primary concern since she can’t buckle her own seat belt. She can ride in safety and comfort, in the back seat, with the right gear. A travel harness is a great option. A travel harness will allow your pet to be safely restrained in the case of a sudden stop or accident. Doggles offers a line of standard harnesses that come equipped with a car seat restraint loop. This is a great travel option that allows you to easily detach her from the car’s seatbelt, then attach her leash and go for a walk.
- Toys and Blankets: Dogs find a sense of comfort and security when they are surrounded by familiar possessions. Always bring their favorite toys and blankets or beds. Familiar smells and textures will ease your pet’s travel anxiety.
- Treats: Who doesn’t like a treat while traveling? Hours cooped up in the car can be improved with a nice treat. A few treats make travel more fun your pooch. But, use them sparingly. You don’t want to expedite the pooping process. It’s uncomfortable for your pet and may require additional stops.
- Travel by Air: I will tell you right now, I am not a big fan of “checking” my pet in like a piece of luggage. Yes, he is a tough dog. Yes, the airlines say they are experts at shipping pets. Just do your due diligence. Now, if your pup fits under the seat, that’s another story. Traveling by airplane you will need proper puppy paperwork. Check with the airline to determine what paperwork they require. Your vet will be able to assist you with all paper work requirements. You will also need an “airline approved” carrier. There are a host of stylish options, on the market, that are approved for airline travel and will allow you to look sophisticated about town.
Traveling with your favorite furry friends is best if you plan a head. Follow the tips above to have great vacation.